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Lake Highlands High School Class of 2016 alum Brandon Landis and his family have been on a difficult journey.

In the summer of 2008, a mysterious illness attacked Brandon's body and began to wreak havoc. Less than 48 hours after attending a football camp, Brandon experienced stiffness, impaired speech, difficulty walking, and a severe loss of balance. Along with his parents, Drew and Melissa Landis, and sister Cassidy, Brandon started a long and difficult journey of medical tests, as doctors tried and failed to diagnose and treat his ailments. Now, after dozens of CT scans, MRIs, MRAs, spinal taps, experimental drugs, blood tests, genetic mapping, physical and speech therapies, and even a brain stimulator, Brandon has finally been diagnosed conclusively. He has Sydenham Chorea, a rare movement disorder that occurs after a group A streptococcus bacterial infection. This is the same bacteria that causes rheumatic fever and strep throat.

Now that he has finally been diagnosed properly, Brandon is undergoing expensive but promising treatments to halt -- and hopefully undo -- some of the damage to his brain and body. 

The Wildcat baseball team is dedicating its Tuesday, April 11 home game against Jesuit in Brandon's honor and invites the Lake Highlands community to join in rallying around Brandon and his family. The Wildcats want to help the family defray some of the costs associated with Brandon's $4,000/month treatments that are not covered by insurance.

Come to The Cat at 7:30 p.m. to watch a good game and help a great cause. Guests are encouraged to make at least a $5 donation, enjoy dinner and refreshments, and participate in a raffle for several great donated items, including a limited edition Ian Kinsler baseball bat created by Warstic. Raffle tickets will be sold for $5 each or five for $20. Or donate online to the Landis family's medical fund at

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The Lake Highlands High School (LHHS) baseball team is hosting 20 other teams from Dallas, Richardson, Mesquite and across the region for the 2017 Jay Higgins Classic this weekend. The annual baseball tournament will be played at all four Richardson ISD high school baseball fields March 9-11.

Action begins Thursday at 1:15 p.m. at the LHHS baseball field (“The Cat”), with the Wildcats hosting Sunset at 5:45 p.m. and Mesquite Horn at 8:00 p.m.

Friday's games begin at 11:00 a.m., as LHHS takes on Royse City at 3:30 p.m. and Bryan Adams at 8:00 p.m.

On Saturday, the action begins at 10:00 a.m., with the Wildcats playing North Mesquite at 4:45 p.m. and closing out the tournament with a scheduled 7:00 p.m. start against Woodrow Wilson.

Daily admission for is $5 for adults and $3 for students with a valid ID. Children under the age of 5 are free.

With only five seniors on the roster, the Wildcats have struggled to find their footing early in the season. However, LHHS Head Coach Cory Tucker is optimistic about the Wildcats' chances, going into this weekend's tournament.

“We’ve got a young team, and we used the first part of our schedule to see who is ready to step up," said Tucker. "I feel good about how our guys are responding.”

The tournament is named in honor of Jay Higgins, who coached the Wildcats from 1968 to 2011.

A full tournament schedule can be found in the baseball section of the Lake Highlands Wildcat Club website (

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Saturday marked the unofficial start of the Lake Highlands High School baseball season, as varsity and junior varsity Wildcats took to the field for their annual intrasquad scrimmage and start-of-season celebration.

The Wildcats’ official season opener will take place Monday, February 6 against South Garland High School. First pitch is at 5:00 p.m. at the Lake Highlands High School baseball field, affectionately known as "The Cat."

Baseball Coach Cory Tucker said he was pleased with how the players performed at Saturday’s scrimmage and is looking forward to a competitive season.

“Our guys have been working hard to get ready for the season,” said Tucker. “I am happy to see that we have a roster full of young men who are willing to work hard and make sacrifices to help the team be successful.”

The Lake Highlands High School Wildcats will play more than two dozen games between now and the end of the season in late April, including several tournaments.

“Though our new district will be tough and we are still pretty young, we have a good, strong group of returners with varsity experience,” said Tucker. “I am confident the Wildcats will be very competitive and in the chase for a playoff spot this season.”

Tucker, a former bullpen catcher and assistant hitting coach with the Frisco Roughriders, has been a part of the Lake Highlands coaching staff for 12 years. He is joined by Assistant Coach Cliff Cain, now in his fourth year of coaching the Wildcats, and Assistant Coach Gene Gonzales, who is in his first season with the baseball program and will coach the junior varsity team.

“Coach Gonzales has been at Lake Highlands for several years and has been interested in coaching baseball,” said Tucker. “He has jumped right into the new role, and I’m looking forward to watching him coach our future varsity players.”

Keep up with the Wildcats by following the team on Facebook @lhhsbaseball