Dean Rojas took back the first place spot he earned Thursday in day 3 of the Bassmaster Elite Series “Sabine River Challenge” with an 11-14 bag for a three day total of 38-6.
Jasper’s Todd Faircloth slipped to second place from a super successful day two but his 7-14 catch was enough to keep him within four pounds of Rojas.
“I’m getting lots of bites and I have had five fish every day but I just didn’t catch the big ones today,” Faircloth said.
“I’ve been fishing the same areas the whole time and I think the bigger ones are still out there.”
Rojas was understandably tight-lipped about his game plan but said his run into Louisiana has had him also fishing the same area he started in.
“The big south wind has pushed the water up a little bit but the fishing there has held up.”
Alton Jones sits in seventh place and has an opportunity to score if he catches the big ones on the final day of competition.
“We cut to twelve anglers Sunday and that always makes it exciting,” Jones said.
“I’ve found there are a lot more fish where I have been than I initially thought so there is a chance some big changes could happen on the leaderboard at the final weigh-in.”
The heroic story of the tournament has been Roanoke, La.’s Dennis Tietje who knocked off a motor in practice, had another blow on the first day of competition but currently sits at ninth place with 27-11.
“It’s taken a lot of focus, positive thinking, perseverance and prayer. Today was a special day out there and I look forward to a strong finish,” he said.
Interestingly, Tietje has yet to fish the spots he initially planned to and if they pan out, it could turn his fortunes.
Four-time Bassmaster Classic champion Kevin VanDam did not make the final 12, finishing at 15th but said he was blown away by the attendance at the event and hospitality of the people.
“I cannot think of another event that had more positive feedback from the public and any other area with more love shown to the anglers. It has truly been something special,” he said.
Sunday’s weigh-in begins at 3:15 with the festival and expo open at 11 a.m.
The Final 12 (Saturday Weights)
1. Dean Rojas (38-6)
2. Todd Faircloth (34-13)
3. Ishama Monroe (31-11)
4. Terry Scroggins: (31-6)
5. Jeff Kriet (30-6)
6. Mark Davis: (30-3)
7. Alton Jones: (29-3)
8. Mike McClelland: (27-15)
9. Dennis Tietje: (27-11)
10. Bill Lowen: (27-5)
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BEAUMONT — It may be just the second year of the program’s revival, but the Lamar softball team has already established a tradition: Winning the home opener on a walk-off home run.
Casey Cromwell’s three-run blast in the bottom of the seventh inning gave the Lady Cardinals a 6-4 win over Southeastern Louisiana at Ford Park in the first home game of 2014 for Lamar and the Southland Conference opener for both squads.
Lamar, which won its first game last year over UTSA on a walk-off home run by Ashley McDowell, cruised to an 8-1 win over Southeastern Louisiana in Saturday’s nightcap.
“This is why I love playing at home,” Lamar coach Holly Bruder said. “The fans really get us pumped up, and we respond.”
Cromwell hit two home runs in the opener for Lamar (5-9 overall, 2-0 Southland). Beverly Corry also homered for Lamar. Shannon Millman (3-5) was the winning pitcher for the Lady Cardinals in both games, working 1 1-3 innings of scoreless relief in the first game before firing a three-hit gem in the nightcap.
“We got tremendous pitching for both Shannon and Tina (Schulz) today,” Bruder said. “We also got some great defense, and that really helped us.”
Candyce Carter and Jenna Holland homered for Lamar in the second game. Carter had three RBIs in the game, while Holland and Julianne Viator added two RBIs apiece.
Carter closed out the game in spectacular fashion, making a diving grab in center field to turn what looked to be a sure double off the bat of Brittney Tschoepe into the final out of the game.
The two teams wrap up their three-game series with a single contest at 1 p.m. Sunday at Ford Park. All senior citizens 55 and older receive free admission.
“It’s always tough to sweep a team,” Bruder said. “We know Sunday’s game will be tough.”
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