Indians fall in extra innings to defending champ Choudrant, 5-4

By DANIEL GREEN

BWS Sports

SULPHUR – Don’t tell the No. 11 Anacoco Indians they are too young to make the state baseball tournament.

Don’t tell them they don’t belong. Don’t tell them they don’t know what they are getting into.

The Indians, which started a quintet of junior high school players in their lineup, had the Class B defending champion and second-seeded Choudrant Aggies on the ropes only to fall in the bottom of the eighth inning of the state semifinals at McMurry Park in Sulphur on Wednesday, 5-4.

The Indians worked their way out to an early 3-1 lead, scoring all three of the runs in the second inning. After falling behind after one inning of play, Kaleb Goodwin was hit by a pitch with one out and advanced to second on a single by Trey Lewing. Xzavier Matthews loaded the bases when he was hit by a pitch.

Goodwin scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Landon Goodwin and Caleb Taylor singled to load the bases again.

Anacoco took the lead when Chase Taylor singled to center, allowing both Kaleb Goodwin and Matthews to score, pushing the Indian advantage to 3-1.

Photo courtesy of SAMANTHA GOODWIN
Anacoco first baseman Chase Taylor had three hits, including two doubles, and two RBIs as he led the 11th-seeded Indians in a 5-4 extra-inning loss to the second-ranked Choudrant Aggies in the Class B semifinals on Wednesday in Sulphur, 5-4.

Choudrant managed to battle back in the bottom of the third with a pair of runs off of a 2-run double by Jackson Case, knotting the game at 3-3.

The game remained tied until the top of the seventh inning when Anacoco pushed a run across. Chase Taylor doubled with two outs and scored on a single by Reid Rodriguez, giving Anacoco a 4-3 lead.

But once again, Choudrant responded with a run in the bottom of the frame. Kaden Bradshaw tripled and later scored to tie things up at 4-4.

After Anacoco was retired in the top of the eighth, the Aggies managed to score off of a couple of Indian errors to escape with the win.

Chase Taylor took the loss despite not giving up a hit in two-thirds of an inning. Rodriguez worked the first seven innings, giving up four runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts.

Taylor was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs, while Rodriguez was 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Bryce McQuire worked five innings to get the win, giving up one run on five hits with four strikeouts. Gavin Murphy had two hits and an RBI, while Bradshaw had two hits, including a triple with a run scored. Case added a double and two RBIs for the Aggies.

Eagles cap historic season with second straight Class 2A crown

By DANIEL GREEN

BWS Sports

SULPHUR – A dominating season ended in dominating fashion.

Senior Ethan Frey struck out eight batters and drove in four runs in leading the top-ranked Rosepine Eagles to an 11-0 triumph over the Cinderella No. 11 Doyle Tigers in the Class 2A finals Friday at McMurry Park in Sulphur.

With the victory, the Eagles end the season with a record of 34-2, winning their last 30 games consecutively.

The Eagles wasted little time getting on the board, scoring twice in the bottom of the first. Jake Smith led off with a walk, took second base and then reached third on a bunt single by Logan Calcote.

Grant Ducote loaded the bases by drawing a walk, bringing Frey to the plate. Frey smacked a hard shot up the middle of the infield, which was mishandled by Jace Ware, allowing Calcote to round third and score following Smith crossing the plate, giving the Eagles a 2-0 lead.

The Tigers responded with a triple off the bat of Braden McLin to the deepest part of the park. However, McLin was stranded at third as Frey struck out two batters and induced a groundout to end the frame.

The Eagles scored four more times in the bottom of the third as Frey had a 3-run double, while Braden Trull doubled in courtesy runner Lane Willis, giving Rosepine a 6-0 cushion.

After working a quick fourth, the Eagles were able to tag five more runs to the total in the bottom of the fourth, which was started with an inside-the-park home run by Smith for a 7-0 lead.

Cole Donahue added a 2-run single in the frame, while Aden Cline drove in a run as Rosepine moved out to an 11-0 lead.

Frey and the Eagle defense did the rest in the top of the fifth as Frey forced a flyout, strikeout and a groundout to give Rosepine its second state championship in a row.

Frey, the title game Most Outstanding Player for a second year in a row, tossed a 1-hitter in his final game as an Eagle, while also driving in four runs.  Trull was the only Eagle with multiple hits as he was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Smith and Calcote each scored three runs in the win.

Caiden Barcia suffered the loss for the Tigers, although the lefty struck out five batters. McLin had the lone hit for the Tigers, as they only had two baserunners in the game, the other being Barcia, who was thrown out attempting to steal by Trull in the fourth.

Hornbeck returning to state finals, tops Simpson

By DANIEL GREEN

BWS Sports

SULPHUR – All the Hornbeck Hornets needed was one.

But Devyn Sharp got them two.

Sharp was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs and the Hornbeck defense did the rest as they knocked off No. 9 Simpson on Wednesday morning at McMurry Park in the Class C state semifinals, 2-0.

With the victory, the Hornets now await the winner between Hicks and Calvin.

After a couple of scoreless innings where both teams stranded a pair of runners, the fourth-seeded Hornets got things going in the bottom of the third. With one out, Parker Alexander doubled to left field and later scored on a Sharp RBI-single, scoring Alexander for a 1-0 lead.

Photo courtesy of SHARON FONTENOT/Roma Pics
Hornbeck senior Devyn Sharp drove in the only two runs of the game as he went 2-for-3 in leading the fourth-seeded Hornets past district rival and No. 9 Simpson on Wednesday in the Class C semifinals, 2-0.

The score remained that way until the bottom of the fifth when Jaren Mitcham singled, moved to second on a sacrifice and easily scored on an RBI-double off of Sharp’s bat for a 2-0 lead.

Simpson had one last opportunity in the seventh as the Broncos loaded the bases, but Addison retired Chase Taylor on a strikeout to complete his two-hitter.

Addison struck out 10 batters and gave up no runs on two hits. Sharp was the lone Hornet with multiple hits and drove in both runs. Alexander and Sharp each had doubles, while Mitcham had a hit and a run scored,

Ethan Nash suffered the loss, giving up two runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts. Tristin Williams doubled for the Broncos, while Justus Crooks had the other hit.

Pirates dominate Calvin to advance to Class C title game

By DANIEL GREEN

BWS Sports

SULPHUR – Baseball games can’t be won in the first inning. 

But the Hicks Pirates weren’t about to lose it either.

The third-seeded Pirates scored five runs in the top of the first inning and never looked back in blasting the second-ranked Calvin Cougars in the Class C semifinals at McMurry Park in Sulphur on Wednesday, 11-1.

Calvin starter Dylan Kyle was shelled in the top of the first by the aggressive bats of the Pirates. Bryson Rachal reached on a 1-out error and took second on a stolen base. He managed to score off a single from Zach Haymon to open the scoring.

Brad Pelt followed with a single to put runners at the corners and Dakota Edwards would reach on an error to score two runs for a 3-0 lead.

Hayden Doyle was hit by a pitch and both he and Edwards scored on a 2-run single off the bat of Cayden Cowgill for a 5-0 lead.

After a scoreless inning, the Pirates pushed a run across in the third when Edwards walked and later scored on a single from Kane Hagan for a 6-0 lead.

Hicks’ lead continued to grow with three more runs in the fourth. Rachal doubled to open the inning and scored on a single from Pelt. After a single from Edwards gave Hicks two runners, Doyle smacked a 2-run double to give Hicks a 9-0 advantage.

Photo courtesy of SHELIA STEPHENS
Hicks centerfielder Bryson Rachal (1) slides in safely on the steal during the Pirates’ 11-1 win over the Calvin Cougars on Wednesday in the Class C semifinals in Sulphur

Calvin pushed a run across in the fourth, but Hicks answered with two more in the fifth thanks to RBIs from Rachal and Haymon for an 11-1 lead.

The Cougars had a chance to extend the game in the bottom of the frame, but stranded a runner at third to give Hicks the mercy-rule victory.

Doyle earned the win on the mound for the Pirates, throwing only 42 pitches through four innings of work. He gave up one run on seven hits with four strikeouts. Haymon worked the last inning, allowing no runs on two hits.

Kyle suffered the loss for the Cougars on the mound, working just over two innings, giving up six runs. Cooper Spangler, John Bradley Griffin and Wayne Curtis Huckaby each had two hits for Calvin.

Now Is The Time: Get Prepped Before Hurricane Season

By Kimberly Wallis

So NOAA’S National Hurricane Center just predicted your family’s new home is right smack dab in the middle of a hurricane path? First things first, don’t panic. I know this sounds crazy but here in Louisiana we have plenty of experience with this! Being prepared and able to mobilize quickly without a lot of undue stress comes second nature, so just follow our lead.

A night time image of 2021’s Hurricane Ida shows the rain bands stretching out. Photo by NASA

Hurricane season is June through November, with most activity occurring mid-August through mid-October. With that being said, please keep in mind that Mother Nature doesn’t always actually abide by the official hurricane season dates, so it’s possible they may be a little earlier or later in the season.

This cannot be stressed enough: do not wait until a hurricane is coming to get stocked up. By then, it’s much too late because store shelves will already be wiped smooth out of anything you might find even remotely useful! 

In fact, Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to get prepped. The state of Louisiana has had an annual “Disaster Preparedness” sales tax holiday since 2008. This tax holiday is meant to encourage people to purchase disaster preparedness supplies in preparation for potential emergencies.

Many online retailers carry prepackaged emergency preparedness kits, which is basically a starter kit because everyone has different needs that have to be accommodated once the basics have been met. There are differences between the checklists of an evacuation kit and a stay at home kit. There are checklists for elderly family members, the disabled, children, even pets. Researching your family’s specific needs can better help you when it comes to personalizing your kit. 

Some things are not on the checklist that you will find you need in these emergency situations. If you have children, what do they like to do if television and gaming is out? Maybe investing in an alternative charging method (such as solar powered) sounds like a better option now that you know this is something you even need to consider! When the kids have been bored and cranky all day, how will you unwind? I like to read so a good book or two would be a prep kit essential for me!  

Often, our anxieties are picked up on by our children. So, if you are a parent, I highly recommend searching out age appropriate activities for kids beforehand! It will keep them occupied and help with everyone’s stress levels if they are included in your family’s disaster preparation.

There are so many excellent resources available. The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness developed the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide. You can find some great information on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane at the American Red Cross, which is also helpful for those who will be seeking shelter. You can apply for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) here

Hurricanes can be unpredictable with their devastation, no doubt. It may be that your home gets out unscathed and your neighbor loses theirs, or vice versa. Just try to remember that when disaster strikes down here, Louisiana pulls together to get through it and you’re one of us now!

Indians fall in extra innings to defending champ Choudrant, 5-4

By DANIEL GREEN

BWS Sports

SULPHUR – Don’t tell the No. 11 Anacoco Indians they are too young to make the state baseball tournament.

Don’t tell them they don’t belong. Don’t tell them they don’t know what they are getting into.

Photo courtesy of SAMANTHA GOODWIN
Anacoco first baseman Chase Taylor had three hits, including two doubles, and two RBIs as he led the 11th-seeded Indians in a 5-4 extra-inning loss to the second-ranked Choudrant Aggies in the Class B semifinals on Wednesday in Sulphur, 5-4.

The Indians, which started a quintet of junior high school players in their lineup, had the Class B defending champion and second-seeded Choudrant Aggies on the ropes only to fall in the bottom of the eighth inning of the state semifinals at McMurry Park in Sulphur on Wednesday, 5-4.

The Indians worked their way out to an early 3-1 lead, scoring all three of the runs in the second inning. After falling behind after one inning of play, Kaleb Goodwin was hit by a pitch with one out and advanced to second on a single by Trey Lewing. Xzavier Matthews loaded the bases when he was hit by a pitch.

Goodwin scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Landon Goodwin and Caleb Taylor singled to load the bases again.

Anacoco took the lead when Chase Taylor singled to center, allowing both Kaleb Goodwin and Matthews to score, pushing the Indian advantage to 3-1.

Choudrant managed to battle back in the bottom of the third with a pair of runs off of a 2-run double by Jackson Case, knotting the game at 3-3.

The game remained tied until the top of the seventh inning when Anacoco pushed a run across. Chase Taylor doubled with two outs and scored on a single by Reid Rodriguez, giving Anacoco a 4-3 lead.

But once again, Choudrant responded with a run in the bottom of the frame. Kaden Bradshaw tripled and later scored to tie things up at 4-4.

After Anacoco was retired in the top of the eighth, the Aggies managed to score off of a couple of Indian errors to escape with the win.

Chase Taylor took the loss despite not giving up a hit in two-thirds of an inning. Rodriguez worked the first seven innings, giving up four runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts.

Taylor was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs, while Rodriguez was 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Bryce McQuire worked five innings to get the win, giving up one run on five hits with four strikeouts. Gavin Murphy had two hits and an RBI, while Bradshaw had two hits, including a triplek with a run scored. Case added a double and two RBIs for the Aggies.

STARBASE Polk Launching August 2022

By: Charli Stanley

FORT POLK, LA.–Moving to a new area shouldn’t mean you have to deprive your child of learning about the fundamentals of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). That’s why Fort Polk pushed to become one of the many DoD STARBASE program locations. STARBASE Polk is scheduled to launch in August of 2022, debuting with a fifth grade program designed to provide curriculum, materials, and equipment otherwise not offered in the average school. It will become one of many locations under the STARBASE Louisiana sector of DoD STARBASE.

Science, technology, engineering and math have always provided a foundation for innovation. The importance of STEM enrichment can be seen all around you, from the machine you use to brew your coffee every morning, to the jets you see flying high in the sky. 

Students show off the results of their latest group experiment.
Photo courtesy of Laurie Ilgenfritz

STARBASE is a Department of Defense youth program designed to serve students without access to STEM learning opportunities. There are many locations stationed at National Guard, Marine, Air Force, and Army bases throughout the U.S. Their goal is to educate by using “hands-on, minds-on” activities designed to pique interest in fields such as engineering and robotics. Students are encouraged to perform in a team-centered environment and work together to learn how to solve real-world scenarios, such as extinguishing a chemical fire or launching a rocket.

The curriculum covers many topics such as physics and chemistry, energy, technology, engineering, and mathematics applications. The program, taught by accredited military personnel, offers 25 hours of rigorous learning that promote enthusiasm in students. 

“The collaborative project-based, hands-on investigations foster curiosity and ignite a passion for learning that spills over into the regular classroom. We strive to provide a place where all students can feel welcome, valued, and capable of doing great things,” said Laurie Ilgenfritz, executive director of STARBASE Louisiana. Many testimonials state that the students were surprised to find they had a fun experience while learning important principles, and teachers loved the hands-on learning opportunities their schools were not equipped to offer.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on February 1, 2022, announcing the Child Development Center as the new home to STARBASE Polk. 

Once established, the program is expected to expand from fifth grade to also being offered to sixth through eighth grade in an after-school program. During the off season, summer camp is to be offered for kindergarten through fourth grade students as well. 

Fort Polk continues to push for progress in education, ensuring your children are provided with the tools they need to build a successful future. With improvements such as this, your children’s time at Fort Polk is promised to be a fun and educational experience. To learn more about what STARBASE has to offer, you can visit their website.

Fort Polk Progress Seeks Membership Development Services

LEESVILLE, LA–In a move to improve services to its members, the Fort Polk Progress Board recently voted to seek membership development services and has published a request for proposals.

“Fort Polk Progress is seeking an individual or firm who can direct and oversee membership activities; functions as a liaison between the Fort Polk Progress Board, its members and its various audiences; collaborates with the Chairman, the Board, and other employees; and provides oversight of membership data,” according to the request for proposals.

To access the request, click here.

Additionally, Fort Polk Progress seeks Blog Contributors, who can provide articles, photos or videos to its blog.

Anyone interested in either of these positions should contact Tammy Sharp at tammy@fortpolkprogress.com.

City of Leesville Renews IGSA with Fort Polk

By Tammy Sharp

The following is the second in a series concerning Intergovermental Support Agreements between Fort Polk and the surrounding communities. View the first article here.

FORT POLK, LA.–The City of Leesville renewed the first intergovernmental support agreement (IGSA) of its size in the world on March 1.

City of Leesville employees help maintain approximately 5,000 acres at Fort Polk through an Intergovernmental Support Agreement.

IGSA’s are provided for under the Public-Public Partnership Program in the 2013 Defense Authorization Bill and allows installations to both solicit partnership proposals from the field and benchmark existing partnerships. 

The contract, which saves the federal government both money and human resources, was worth about $2.9 million dollars in 2018. 

“We worked on it for eight months,”  said Allen, of the process of hammering out the details of the largest IGSA in the world. The contract has grown from the $2.9 million in 2018 to $3.2 million in the current contract, he added, with $1.7 million in savings per year for the federal government. 

The City of Leesville is also able to provide spousal employment to Fort Polk families through the IGSA, with Chris Ausbun, retired command sergeant major, as the director of the contract.

On the flipside, the city has been able to buy a new city hall and now has access to more equipment and resources that can be cross-utilized in the off-season to handle properties it had struggled to maintain before, such as its airport. In addition some of the revenue goes toward playground equipment in city parks. 

The city is also able to provide spousal employment to Fort Polk families and currently employs a retired command sergeant major as the director of the contract.

The agreement with Fort Polk was implemented under the leadership of Allen and Leesville City Administrator Patti Larney. 

The contract was originally signed by Col. Jarrett Thomas II, Fort Polk’s then garrison commander, and Allen. Allen signed the renewal with Col. Samuel Smith, current garrison commander of Fort Polk. 

In an article published at the time of the original signing, Thomas noted that the contract was a testament to the support Leesville offers to the Fort Polk community and that he’d never met more supportive community members. 

The city employees maintain about 5,000 acres, said Allen. 

Many see IGSA’s as a way to secure the missions of the JRTC and Fort Polk by allowing the installation to operate more efficiently and by keeping soldiers focused on training. 

Ausbun: False Narrative about Fort Polk based on the Box

By Tammy Sharp

LEEVILLE, LA.–Chris Ausbun, former garrison command sergeant major at Fort Polk and originally from Colorado, just recently retired after serving 23 years in the Army. 

Faced with the decision of where to spend his retirement, he and his family didn’t hesitate to choose Leesville, despite the reputation that being stationed at Fort Polk has among soldiers and their families. 

“Fort Polk is not looked on as a good assignment,” he said. “It’s a false narrative based on soldiers’ experiences in the Box.” 

The Box, short for “sandbox,” at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk tests battle strategies and the readiness of Army soldiers before deployment. Basically, it’s the best training in the world for a soldier on the cusp of being sent to battle. But there’s nothing pleasant about it. 

“Soldiers don’t like the Box,” said Ausbun, “because it’s designed to be difficult.” 

For most months of the year, soldiers from other installations across the nation travel to Fort Polk to receive training at the JRTC. Brig. Gen. David S. Doyle, commanding general of JRTC and Fort Polk, in a recent trip to Fort Hood, explained that the United States has an Army to fight and win its wars. 

The Ausbuns are shown here, from top left: Chris Ausbun and his wife Jennifer Ausbun along with their two school-aged children Ariana Ausbun (lower left) and Anthony Ausbun. Not shown are the Ausbun’s two adult children, Alyssa Gooden and Jordan Ramirez.

“That’s why we exist, and in order to do that we have to be prepared for any type of operation in any type of environment,” he said. “At the Joint Readiness Training Center, we predominantly train infantry brigade combat teams in large-scale combat operations so that, if they are called upon to go forward and deploy, they can use combined arms tools … to fight and win.”

But not all soldiers who come to Fort Polk will work in the Box, said Ausbun. Instead, some soldiers stationed at Fort Polk will typically support the rotations at the JRTC and, because of the leadership at Fort Polk, will also receive the best training possible. 

Who wouldn’t want their soldier to receive the best training possible? 

“They’re going to be the highest trained in the military,” said Ausbun, of soldiers stationed at Fort Polk. And their families will benefit as well. “The families will be taken care of very well because of the phenomenal garrison team.” 

Ausbun said he and his wife weren’t thrilled when they received their orders for Fort Polk. 

“We did have misgivings,” he said. But the reality is so much better, he said, speaking of an incident that helped his wife: a community crawfish boil at Anderson Farms where everyone was breaking bread together and smiling.  

“It’s not too often you get to see that, local, hometown professionalism,” he said of the experience.  

As the garrison command sergeant major, Ausbun had a lot of opportunity to interact with mayors, chambers of commerce and the school systems, he said. “We’re just surrounded by good people who want to make a difference.” 

“My kids love it,” he added. 

The Ausbuns have four children, a daughter, 22, who lives in Virginia with her Navy wife; a son, 21, who is a combat medic in the Army and stationed in Georgia; another son, 18, who attends Leesville High School, graduating May of 2022; and another daughter, 13, who attends Leesville Junior HIgh School.

Both of his school-aged children are doing well in school, Ausbun said. “The teachers truly care about students and will sit down one on one. 

“In fact, the principal at LHS, Scott Mawae, personally walked my son around,” he added. 

In addition, the support that the community offers veterans in the area is stellar, he said.

“For a lot of places, it’s a slogan, but here, it’s true. You feel it [veteran support] every day.

“We’ve been all over the United States,” Ausbun said. “The people here, the way people are treated is the reason my wife and I chose to stay here.”