March 28, 2014

  • Mariners Make Pitch to Young
    Former Highland Park standout Chris Young was signed by the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.

    Former Highland Park standout Chris Young was signed by the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.

    Chris Young is not ready to retire from baseball just yet.

    At age 34, and following several injury-plagued seasons, the former Highland Park High School standout will open the season in the starting rotation for the Seattle Mariners, who signed him yesterday.

    The right-handed pitcher, who is one of the tallest players in MLB history at 6-foot-10, made the All-Star game as a member of the San Diego Padres in 2007. But he hasn’t pitched a full season in the big leagues since 2008 thanks to a variety of injuries.

    Young has dealt with a variety of shoulder ailments in recent years, including last year, when he played in the minor leagues in the Washington Nationals organization before heading to the disabled list.

    After a fresh diagnosis and offseason surgery, he signed another minor-league deal with the Nationals. He pitched well but was released earlier this week, clearing the way for the Mariners, who have suffered some injuries to their pitching staff.

    “I feel completely different,” Young recently told the Washington Post. “I’ve battled shoulder stuff for really the last five years, and last year when they finally said this isn’t your shoulder, this is a nerve issue, thoracic outlet syndrome, my shoulder feels like it did five, six years ago. I’m really excited about it. I expect it to stay that way. It’s the best it’s felt in a long time. I want to get back to being the pitcher I can be.”

    Young has 53 victories and 755 strikeouts in his MLB career, which includes stints with the Texas Rangers, Padres and New York Mets. He was a two-sport standout in baseball and basketball both at Highland Park and Princeton University.

    By Todd Jorgenson Mar. 28, 2014 | 5:12 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS
    • March 27, 2014

    • Lady Scots Set For Next Playoff Test
      Hope Hyde scored three goals for HP in a 10-0 win over Paris on Monday. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

      Hope Hyde scored three goals for Highland Park during a 10-0 win over Paris on Monday. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

      It’s on to Round 2 in the soccer playoffs for the Highland Park girls, in the absurdly large Class 4A bracket in which lopsided matchups tend to reign supreme in the first few rounds.

      The Lady Scots (17-4-1) hope to keep their momentum against McKinney North at 6 p.m. Friday at Toyota Stadium in Frisco.

      HP easily dispatched Paris 10-0 in the bi-district round on Monday behind a hat trick from Hope Hyde, and have won nine straight games overall. Natalie Dargene added two goals in the playoff opener.

      McKinney North could provide a solid test after sharing the District 17-4A title with Prosper during the regular season. The Lady Bulldogs, who topped Frisco Liberty 1-0 in the first round, are led offensively by the combination of Belicia Mendiola (20 goals this season) and Sabrina Martineau (14 goals).

      The winner of Friday’s game will face either heavily favored Frisco or Little Elm in the sectional round next week.

      Let’s flash back to 2012, when the Lady Scots also opened the postseason with a 10-0 thrashing of Paris, then followed with a 1-0 win over McKinney North. They went on to win the 4A state title that spring. Whether that’s an omen, of course, remains to be seen.

      By the way, there will be a public send-off for the team at 3:40 p.m. Friday at Highland Park High School.

      By Todd Jorgenson Mar. 27, 2014 | 11:17 am | No Comments | Comments RSS
      • March 26, 2014

      • Looney Throws No-Hitter For Scots
        Layne Looney isn't pitching here, but he threw a no-hitter against Carrollton Creekview on Tuesday. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

        Layne Looney isn’t pitching here, but he threw a no-hitter against Carrollton Creekview. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

        It was a night for great pitching on Tuesday at Scotland Yard, and Layne Looney reached an individual milestone to which all hurlers aspire.

        Looney pitched a no-hitter for the Scots (11-10, 2-3), with two walks and 12 strikeouts, while tossing his second consecutive shutout in District 10-4A play. Looney also blanked Mesquite Poteet last week.

        Highland Park had just two hits in the game, but the Scots were able to take advantage of four Creekview errors to scratch out a run in both the fourth and fifth innings.

        By Todd Jorgenson Mar. 26, 2014 | 3:53 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS
        • March 24, 2014

        • Lady Scots Will Kick Off Postseason Tonight
          Lauren Echols and the Lady Scots will open the Class 4A Region II playoffs today against Paris in Royse City.

          Lauren Echols and the Lady Scots will open the Class 4A Region II playoffs today against Paris in Royse City.

          Forget the four nondistrict losses during an inconsistent start to the season. The Highland Park girls soccer team knows when it’s playoff time.

          The Lady Scots are carrying plenty of momentum into postseason play after another undefeated run through the District 20-4A schedule, and head coach Stewart Brown said he thinks HP is capable of another deep run.

          “We’ve learned a lot over the early part of the season, and we’re peaking at the right time,” Brown said. “We’ve been working on a lot of stuff all year. Some of that is coming together very nicely. Our confidence is high now, and the energy level is higher as well.”

          The Lady Scots (16-4-1) will face Paris in the bi-district round of the Class 4A Region II playoffs at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Royse City. It will be the third time in the last four seasons that HP has opened postseason play against the Lady Cats, with the Lady Scots winning 8-0 in 2011 and 10-0 in 2012.

          HP outscored its opponents in eight league games by a combined 43-3, and has not allowed more than one goal in any game since a 4-0 loss to Wylie East on Jan. 21.

          If it reaches the state tournament, scheduled for April 17-19 in Georgetown, HP will get its opportunity to avenge last season’s heartbreaking loss in the Class 4A state title game that spoiled an undefeated season. That came one year after the Lady Scots took home the crown in 2012.

          Brown said the current roster has the talent and experience to make another run in the program’s final season at the 4A level.

          “We’re very deep talent-wise, and the girls are very hungry,” he said. “This team is certainly as good as those teams, and maybe better in some aspects. We have the experience of the last couple of years to help us when things get tough.”

          By Todd Jorgenson Mar. 24, 2014 | 1:17 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS
          • March 21, 2014

          • Kershaw Dealing Down Under
            Clayton Kershaw will start the season opener for the Dodgers tonight in Australia.

            Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw will start the season opener for the Dodgers tonight in Australia.

            For all but two of the teams in Major League Baseball, the season opener is more than a week away.

            However, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks will start the regular season tonight when they open a two-game series at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia.

            As expected, former Highland Park standout Clayton Kershaw will start the opener for the Dodgers. Kershaw, of course, won his second National League Cy Young Award over the winter and signed a record contract extension.

            In the other dugout, former HP pitcher Bo Schultz is on the active roster for the Diamondbacks and could make his MLB debut during the series.

            Most of us will have to adjust our sleep patterns to see the game, however. It will air live on MLB Network at 3 a.m.

            By Todd Jorgenson Mar. 21, 2014 | 3:04 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS
            • March 19, 2014

            • Matlock Leaving HP For New Frisco School
              Amy Matlock is leaving Highland Park after six seasons to become the head coach at Frisco Independence. (Photo: Rob Graham)

              Amy Matlock is leaving Highland Park after six seasons to become the head coach at Frisco Independence. (Photo: Rob Graham)

              Highland Park girls basketball coach Amy Matlock said she is leaving the school to become the head coach and girls athletic coordinator at the new Independence High School in Frisco.

              Matlock just wrapped up her sixth season with the Lady Scots, who finished with a 17-10 record and fell to The Colony in the bi-district round of the Class 4A Region II playoffs. HP will move up to the new Class 6A next season.

              After coming to HP from Wylie, Matlock led the Lady Scots to the playoffs in five of her six seasons at the helm, including a trip to the regional semifinals in 2012 to cap a 25-8 season that was one of the most successful campaigns in program history.

              Independence will open in the fall as the seventh high school in Frisco ISD, and will be part of a nine-team alignment in District 9-5A.

              By Todd Jorgenson Mar. 19, 2014 | 2:21 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS
              • March 17, 2014

              • Lady Scots Have More Goals After 20-4A Title
                Sara Summers and the HP girls soccer team will start the playoffs on March 24 against Paris.

                Sara Summers and the Highland Park girls soccer team will start the playoffs on March 24 against Paris.

                Having already clinched another District 20-4A title, the Highland Park girls soccer team won’t bring much drama to Tuesday’s regular-season finale.

                After a week off for spring break, the Lady Scots (15-4-1, 7-0) will look to stay sharp and keep their momentum from a seven-game winning streak that dates back more than a month.

                HP has outscored its opponents in seven league games by a combined 33-3, and has not allowed more than one goal in any game since a 4-0 loss to Wylie East on Jan. 21. The team has developed a balanced offensive attack led by Lauren Echols, Sara Summers, Hope Hyde, and Savanna Jones.

                Tuesday’s contest against Carrollton Newman Smith — which is battling for one of the district’s final playoff spots — should provide a nice tuneup for the Lady Scots before the start of postseason play. In the bi-district round, HP will meet Paris at 5:30 p.m. March 24 at Royse City.

                That’s where HP will begin its effort to avenge last season’s heartbreaking loss in the Class 4A state title game that spoiled an undefeated season.

                The season finale also will feature a pregame ceremony to recognize a handful of seniors who will be playing their final game at Highlander Stadium.

                At any rate, the Lady Scots seem to be peaking at the right time and playing their best soccer of the season.

                By Todd Jorgenson Mar. 17, 2014 | 3:19 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS
                • March 6, 2014

                • HP Baseball Set For Home Opener in Classic
                  Highland Park will open the Scotland Yard Classic against Colleyville Heritage at 1:30 p.m. today. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

                  HP will open the Scotland Yard Classic against Colleyville Heritage at 1:30 p.m. today. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

                  With spring around the corner, baseball season is getting into full swing. Accordingly, Highland Park will host its annual Scotland Yard Classic this weekend.

                  The Scots will play five games over three days as part of the round-robin event, facing Colleyville Heritage (1:30 p.m. today), Fort Smith (Ark.) Southside (6:30 p.m. today), Sachse (11 a.m. Friday), and Richland (4 p.m. Friday). HP also will meet Keller at 11 a.m. Saturday at Globe Life Park in Arlington.

                  Tournament games also will be held at Rockwall, Coppell, Plano East, and Trinity Christian Academy in Addison. Other participating teams include Grapevine, Belton, Rowlett, and The Woodlands.

                  For the Scots, the tournament will be the final tuneup prior to the start of District 10-4A play on Tuesday at Forney.

                  A full tournament schedule follows after the jump.


                  SCOTLAND YARD CLASSIC
                  Thursday’s games
                  (at Highland Park)
                  Highland Park vs. Colleyville Heritage, 1:30 p.m.
                  Fort Smith Southside vs. Colleyville Heritage, 4 p.m.
                  Highland Park vs. Fort Smith Southside, 6:30 p.m.
                  (at Rockwall)
                  Rockwall vs. Plano East, 11 a.m.
                  Sachse vs. Plano East, 1:30 p.m.
                  Rockwall vs. Sachse, 4 p.m.
                  Grapevine vs. Keller, 6:30 p.m.
                  (at Coppell)
                  Coppell vs. Rowlett, 11 a.m.
                  Rowlett vs. Richland, 1:30 p.m.
                  Coppell vs. The Woodlands, 4 p.m.
                  Belton vs. The Woodlands, 6:30 p.m.
                  (at TCA-Addison)
                  TCA-Addison vs. Keller, 11 a.m.
                  TCA-Addison vs. Grapevine, 1:30 p.m.

                  Friday’s games
                  (at Highland Park)
                  Highland Park vs. Sachse, 11 a.m.
                  Colleyville Heritage vs. The Woodlands, 1:30 p.m.
                  Highland Park vs. Richland, 4 p.m.
                  The Woodlands vs. Sachse, 6:30 p.m.
                  (at Plano East)
                  Plano East vs. Richland, 11 a.m.
                  Grapevine vs. Rowlett, 1:30 p.m.
                  Plano East vs. Rowlett, 4 p.m.
                  Fort Smith Southside vs. Belton, 6:30 p.m.
                  (at Coppell)
                  Fort Smith Southside vs. Keller, 1:30 p.m.
                  Coppell vs. Keller, 4 p.m.
                  Coppell vs. Rockwall, 6:30 p.m.
                  (at TCA-Addison)
                  TCA-Addison vs. Rockwall, 11 a.m.
                  TCA-Addison vs. Belton, 1:30 p.m.

                  Saturday’s games
                  (at Highland Park)
                  Fort Smith Southside vs. The Woodlands, 10 a.m.
                  The Woodlands vs. Grapevine, 12:30 p.m.
                  Richland vs. Sachse, 3 p.m.
                  Richland vs. Rockwall, 5:30 p.m.
                  (at Plano East)
                  Rowlett vs. TCA-Addison, 10 a.m.
                  Colleyville Heritage vs. Rowlett, 12:30 p.m.
                  Plano East vs. Colleyville Heritage, 3 p.m.
                  (at Coppell)
                  Belton vs. Rockwall, 10 a.m.
                  Coppell vs. Belton, 12:30 p.m.
                  Coppell vs. Grapevine, 3 p.m.
                  (at Globe Life Park, Arlington)
                  Highland Park vs. Keller, 11 a.m.

                  By Todd Jorgenson Mar. 6, 2014 | 10:35 am | No Comments | Comments RSS
                  • March 5, 2014

                  • Lady Scots Score Goals For Special Olympians
                    The Highland Park girls soccer team presented a check to benefit HPISD Special Olympians on Tuesday.

                    The Highland Park girls soccer team presented a check to benefit HPISD Special Olympians on Tuesday.

                    It wasn’t enough for the Highland Park girls soccer team to continue its on-field dominance on Tuesday night. The Lady Scots scored goals off the field as well.

                    The team presented a check to the HP Special Olympics program for $11,275 as part of its “Going for the Same Goal” fundraising campaign. The money will go toward soccer uniforms, equipment, and a banquet for the Special Olympians, who took the field at halftime of HP’s 2-0 win over The Colony at Highlander Stadium.

                    The victory, by the way, clinched another District 20-4A title for the Lady Scots (14-4-1, 6-0), who have won their six district games by a combined margin of 27-2.

                    By Todd Jorgenson Mar. 5, 2014 | 12:34 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS
                    • March 4, 2014

                    • Miller’s Career Arc Looking Up
                      Mount St. Mary's, with former HP standout Will Miller, will be in the Northeast Conference tournament this week.

                      Mount St. Mary’s, with former HP standout Will Miller, will play in the Northeast Conference tournament this week.

                      As his high school basketball career ended last February, Will Miller had never heard of Mount St. Mary’s University. And the anonymity was mutual.

                      A year later, the former Highland Park standout is a starting guard for an NCAA Division I program, sharing a court with national powerhouses from Michigan State, Villanova, and BYU.

                      Miller emerged from recruiting obscurity though a connection in the coaching world that eventually led to him getting a scholarship offer from the small liberal-arts school in Emmitsburg, Md., a rural town of modest size near the Pennsylvania border.

                      “They contacted me really late,” Miller said. “I always wanted to play Division I ball if I could, so this opportunity was really huge.”

                      The opportunity came through a chance phone call between Mount St. Mary’s head coach Jamion Christian and Eric Cunningham, a former Highland Park assistant coach. The two coaches became acquainted when Christian was an assistant coach at William & Mary and was responsible for recruiting in Texas.

                      Christian was trying to recruit some other players in Dallas when Cunningham suggested he look at Miller, a 6-foot-6 sharpshooter who played just one season at the varsity level for the Scots.

                      The second-year coach saw potential for Miller — who averaged about 11 points per game at HP during the 2012-13 season — to be an ideal fit for his up-tempo offensive scheme that emphasizes outside shooting.

                      “Obviously because we shoot a ton of threes at the Mount, his ability fits us perfectly,” Christian said. “But his coachability has allowed him to make an impact so immediately.”

                      Through Feb. 13, Miller averaged 5.9 points per game and was second on the team in three-point shooting despite only being on the floor for 17.3 minutes per game. Of his 114 field-goal attempts this season, all but nine have come from beyond the three-point arc.

                      “Coach has told me that my role is a three-point shooter,” Miller said. “Having this role for my freshman year has been good. In the next three years, Coach may increase my role to other things.”

                      Miller was inserted into the starting lineup in late January, which coincided with a three-game winning streak for the Mountaineers in Northeast Conference play.

                      “He has a hunger and passion for the game to improve each day,” Christian said. “He came to us with only one year of true varsity basketball experience, but through the recruiting process I knew from day one that he was a special person with a work ethic that any coach would love to have.”

                      Miller said the transition to college basketball has been challenging, and not just because the players are stronger and the pace is faster than high school.

                      “I think it’s going well. It was probably the hardest transition I’ve had to deal with in my life,” Miller said. “Basketball takes almost double the time that school does. It’s been a big adjustment to that.”

                      He made quite an impact during a nationally televised Nov. 29 game at Michigan State, when Miller knocked down five 3-pointers in the first half and was featured in highlights later that night on ESPN.

                      His 15 points against the nationally-ranked Spartans marked a season best that he tied on Jan. 3 against Norfolk State.

                      “I just lit up. I watched it probably five times. I had to call somebody and tell them,” Miller said of the ESPN snippet. “My parents had the same reaction I had.”

                      At Highland Park, Miller was on the freshman “B” team four years ago but improved steadily, earning all-district honors as a senior.

                      “The strides that he made in his four years here were amazing,” said HP head coach David Piehler. “He’s a great shooter. That’s his strength and he perfected that. He put the time and effort into it.”

                      Christian said Miller should continue to improve thanks to a combination of solid work ethic and mental toughness.

                      “We’re looking for versatility on our roster. I think his role is definitely going to be able to expand here as he continues to improve,” Christian said. “He said he would do anything I asked him to do. Finding those who have the right personality and mental makeup is hard. He has enough talent, but his makeup is what is going to allow him to be a good player for a long time.”

                      Last season, the Mountaineers gained momentum by finishing 18-14 and reaching the finals of the Northeast Conference tournament. This year’s tournament begins Tuesday, with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

                      “I’m really excited about our chances this year,” Miller said. “I think we have a good chance to build this program to something that everyone will know about.”

                      By Todd Jorgenson Mar. 4, 2014 | 1:35 am | No Comments | Comments RSS