During the bus ride back to Kerrville, Tivy senior Braden Jaeger made an usual request to sophomore Travis White.
He asked his teammate to feel the perspiration on his forehead.
“He was probably more sweaty on the bus than he was on the game,” said White, laughing.
“I really was,” Jaeger added.
Jaeger couldn’t stop moving around after Tivy’s 4-1 victory over Alamo Heights in Game 2 that clinched the three-game, area-round series; he was too elated about the win. And for good reason. Jaeger delivered the game of his life against the Mules, going a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate, driving in the go-ahead run in the eighth and producing the defensive play of the game when he threw Billy Conn out at home to rob the Mules’ of a walk-off victory.
Afterwards, Tivy coach Chris Russ wasn’t too surprised with Jaeger’s performance on Saturday, acknowledging that Jaeger has played at a high level throughout the season.
After only hitting .256 last year, Jaeger has raised his batting average his senior year to .388. Jaeger gave a simple reason for his improvement as a hitter: More so than any other year, he believes he is going to get a hit every time he steps to the plate.
“I am just more confident this year,” Jaeger said. “And when I’m confident, I play better.”
The Antlers hope that confidence continues this weekend when they play a three-game series with Dripping Springs in the regional quarterfinals (Game 1 is slated for 7 p.m. Thursday in Dripping Springs. Game 2 will be Friday at the same time. If necessary, the Antlers will also host Game 3. A tip of the cap to Russ for being the first Tivy coach to win a flip in what feels like 100 years).
“(Jaeger’s) really filled in nicely in the No. 4 hole,” Russ said. “He’s really had a good playoff run so far for us and has been ... consistent at the plate, a tough out. He’s hit some balls really hard.
“I am looking forward to our series with Dripping Springs,” Russ said.
Travis White — Tivy — Baseball
Ever since his freshman year, White has been an elite catcher. There’s a reason why he’s already attracting interest from college teams.
But recently, he’s been raking at the plate. White is diligent about lifting weights throughout the year, and his strength gains are beginning to pay dividends. In five postseason games, he’s slashed .500/.611/.714 with three extra-base hits. In the eighth inning on Saturday, he launched a 1-0 fastball to the right-field wall for a two-run double that gave the Antlers much-needed insurance runs.
“He’s gotten a lot stronger,” Russ said. “He’s swinging the bat well right now. He feels good at the plate. It’s kind of what I’ve been waiting on all year. I knew it was there.”
Alyssa Hickman — Tivy — Softball
Hickman played her high school game during Tivy’s 15-9 loss to Dripping Springs during the regional quarterfinals on Friday in Fredericksburg. The bad news for Hickman? The final outcome was obviously disappointing. The good news? She gave everything she had in her final game in a Tivy uniform. She belted a three-run home run in the first and doubled in the sixth to give the Lady Antlers an opportunity to upset one of the best teams in Texas.
This won’t be Hickman’s final softball game. She will continue her softball career at Cisco College. She will enter college with the comforting knowledge that she gave everything she had to give during her career at Tivy.
Kylie Chapa — Ingram — Baseball
The Ingram is the only athlete in the area who’s competing at the state golf tournament and Grey Rock Golf Club in Austin. That alone is an impressive way to conclude a high-school career.
During an interview with the Kerrville Daily Times, Chapa admitted that her two main goals at state were simply to have fun in her final high school tournament, and to give her best performance. On Monday, she accomplished both. After struggling during the first nine holes, Chapa finished strong to post an 89 on the first day of the state tournament, a 10-stroke improvement from her first-day score during last year’s tournament (99).
“I had a bit of a rough start,” Chapa said. “But after reminding myself to just play my own game and have fun, I was able to end on a good note.”
She will try to register a similar score in tomorrow’s tournament.
Colson Schiek and Sam Snelgrove — Tivy — Tennis
Schiek and Snelgrove received the final game ball because on Thursday they will be the first Tivy boys doubles team since 1999 to compete in the state tournament.
They also have a golden opportunity to win Tivy’s first tennis state title since 2000. They have posted a 48-1 record this season and have won 30 straight matches.
If they improve that streak to 33 matches, they will be state
champions. Now, wouldn’t that be something?