Alumni report: Tolar grad highlights HPU success

May 31, 2014

Good sports do come out ahead.

Ask former Tolar Rattler John Elmore.

Elmore was one of the top baseball players in the America Southwest Conference this season. Also, he and his Howard Payne teammates were recognized as the top sports in the league by their peers.

Elmore, a sophomore third baseman, was named honorable mention all-conference recently. Also, the Yellow Jackets were co-recipients of the ASC’s Team Sportsmanship Award (along with College of the Ozarks).

Elmore started and played in 40 games, batted .267, scored 22 runs, had 35 hits, drove in 22 runs, had 43 total bases, and was hit by a pitch five times.

In addition, Elmore led all third basemen in the conference defensively with just six errors.

“John was a big part of what we accomplished this season,” said head coach Stephen Lynn.

“John played really well for us at third base. John had a lot of key at-bats for us and really hit well.”

As a freshman, Elmore saw action in 17 games and started three. He batted .143 and drove in four runs.

This season Elmore played a key role in helping the Yellow Jackets (20-23 overall, 16-17 in the ASC) to their first postseason appearance since 2002. He had nine multiple-hit games, including three-hit performances against Ozarks, East Texas Baptist and Mary Hardin-Baylor. His hit total included five doubles and a triple.

“The team this year really came together to take care of business as a whole,” said Elmore. “It’s a real honor for the team to get the sportsmanship award this year.”

The Yellow Jackets have won the Team Sportsmanship Award twice, the first in 2011. It is voted on by a dozen student athlete advisory committees around the league.

The award honors teams in each sport that best display positive qualities of sportsmanship and fair play from players, coaches and fans.

“We had a great group of young men this year. It was a real pleasure for our coaching staff to be around them all year,” said Lynn.

“Our team had a business-like approach to their performances all year but did so with a respectful attitude toward the game and their opponents.”

BASEBALL

FORMER PIRATE HELPS TEAM

TO NAIA WORLD SERIES

Former Granbury Pirate Ryan Rodriguez was instrumental in helping the Georgetown College Tigers reach the National Intercollegiate Athletic Association World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. It was their first appearance at the event since 1988 and the second in school history.

The Tigers finished 46-11, dropping a pair of thrilling 5-4 contests to Faulkner and Southern Poly State in the double-elimination tournament.

Rodriguez, a junior middle infielder, posted a .311 batting average playing in 41 games and starting 32. He drove in 15 runs, had a pair of doubles, walked seven times and was 6-for-6 stealing bases.

The Tigers climbed to as high as fifth in the nation. They won the regular-season championship of the Mid-South Conference with a 23-3 record.

The Tigers rallied out of the losers bracket to finish second in the conference tournament. They also came back through the losers bracket to win their region and qualify for the World Series.

Rodriguez is in his first season at Georgetown College after transferring from Wharton Community College, where he was honored with an award as the smartest student-athlete at the school.

JACK MABE

LUBBOCK CHRISTian UNIVERSITY

The former Granbury Pirate helped the Chaparrals to a bit of school history as they captured the championship of the Heartland Conference in their first year in the league.

Mabe, a senior pitcher, finished with a 4-1 record, appearing in eight games and starting seven. His two complete games were tied for second on the team, his 2.94 earned run average was second, as were his 37 strikeouts.

The Chaparrals finished 39-10 overall, including a 26-4 mark in the Heartland Conference.

As a junior, Mabe helped the Chaparrals reach the NAIA World Series, where they advanced four rounds and went 2-2.

SOFTBALL

BAILEY SPENCER

WESTERN OKLAHOMA STATE

Spencer, a former Granbury Lady Pirates standout, missed all but 10 games of her sophomore season with a shoulder injury. Still she batted .324 with a pair of doubles, four runs batted in, eight runs scored, and a .361 on-base percentage for the Pioneers (22-24).

Spencer has committed to play for Rogers State University next season.

As a freshman, Spencer was a first-team all-region selection after batting .332 with 10 home runs, 43 RBIs and 42 runs scored.

TRACK AND FIELD

MADISON NORTHCUTT

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS

The three-time state qualifier (and bronze medalist) in pole vaulting for Granbury High had her best vault of the season for the Mean Green in the Conference USA Meet. The sophomore cleared 3.38 meters (11 feet, 1 inch) to place 10th.

Her top finish of the season was second in the North Texas Classic, clearing 3.20 meters.

GOLF

TRAVIS BENSON

NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY

Benson, who won a bronze medal for Granbury at the 4A State Tournament as a junior and led the Pirates to state as a senior, played in two spring tournaments. The freshman shot 9-over-par 222 (75-75-72) at the Arizona Intercollegiate for 28th place.

JUSTIN LARGENT

EAST CENTRAL OKLAHOMA

The freshman played in one fall tournament, posting a 159 (80-79) in the Arkansas-Fort Smith Lions Classic. He tied for 38th.

In his only season playing for Granbury High, Largent helped the Pirates reach the state tournament in 2013. He had previously qualified for regionals playing for Rusk.

[email protected] | 817-573-7066, ext. 256

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Category: Sports