HEATING UP: Previewing Class 6A Softball Regional Semis
Teams all over the Greater Houston-area battled the rain all last weekend - along with tough opponents - to advance to the Regional Semis this week.
Some teams like Pearland and Ridge Point were preseason favorites to be two-steps away from State, but how about Bellaire and Langham Creek? Kudos to the Cardinals and Lobos for shocking the Region.
Here is a look at the big match-ups this week as the field continues narrow.
Ridge Point Panthers v. Deer Park Deer
2022-23 Ridge Point Softball
Bradley C. Collier (VYPE)
Ridge Point Panthers
2022-23 Regular Season: 21-7/Co-District 20-6A Champions
Head Coach: Lindsey Gage
- Bi-District: 16-8 Win v. Tompkins
- Area Round: 5-0 Win v. Cy-Fair
- Regional Quarters: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 17-3, Game 2: 8-7)
2022-23 Regular Season: 21-8/District 22-6A Champions
Head Coach: Amy Vidal-Bush
- Bi-District: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 10-0, Game 2: W 19-1) v. C.E. King
- Area Round: 2-1 Series Win (Game 1: L 3-5, Game 2: W 5-4, Game 3: W 5-4) v. Alvin
- Regional Quarters: 2-1 Series Win (Game 1: W 13-9, Game 2: L 7-11, Game 3: W 10-3) v. Atascocita
Ridge Point is coming a statement win against a surging Heights club, not to mention in stylish fashion.
It all starts with the pitching from senior Bailey Gray who allowed just three runs with 12 Ks on the mound, in addition to her consistent success at the plate (5-8, RBI).
The offensive push made by the Panthers was anchored by their reliable SS Jade Uresti (Sr.) who batted for over .400 in the matchup, knocking in six runs, and scoring two in the process. Braelyn Daniels (So. C/OF) was also among the Ridge Point lineup who provided the additional firepower (3-8, 3 RBI, 2 R) to send the Panthers back to the Regional Tournament after missing out a year ago.
They will be tasked with facing an emboldened Deer Park team who's coming off a statement win against Atascocita.
Not even weather delays can keep this roster comprised of next-level athletes from cooking.
This is THE series to watch.
2022-23 Deer Park Softball
Jamie Wright (VYPE)
Bellaire Cardinals v. Pearland Oilers
Some of the stars of 2022-23 Bellaire Softball
Juan De Leon (VYPE)
2022-23 Regular Season: 21-12/Finished 2nd in District 18-6A
Head Coach: Brien Tuffly
- Bi-District: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 4-2, Game 2: W 6-5) v. Houston Memorial
- Area Round: 1-0 Win v. Katy
- Regional Quarters: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 11-1, Game 2: W 6-1) v. Jersey Village
2022-23 Regular Season: 28-3/District 23-6A Champions
Head Coach: Laneigh Clark
- Bi-District: 13-0 Win v. Clear Brook
- Area Round: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 1-0, Game 2: W 8-4) v. Summer Creek
- Regional Quarters: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 9-6, Game 2: W 1-0) v. Kingwood
This Regional Semis matchup is intriguing to say the least.
Bellaire is a team that ceases to surprise their opposition, which was put on full display in their definitive sweep over Jersey Village, just one week after upsetting the Katy Tigers.
The Cardinals were anchored by a tremendous offensive effort made by sophomore 3B Bella Rivera, who remained consistent at-bat throughout the series, while Ainsley Pinkerton (Jr. C) was among the many Bellaire players to rack up the runs.
In addition, reigning district 18-6A MVP Claire Shelley was as effective as ever on the mound in Game No. 1, limiting the Falcons to just one run. Sophomore P/1B Sophie Donalson would follow suit in the second game, allowing a single unearned run, with four strikeouts.
Donalson would also play a key role at-bat, as she drove in three runs with two hits in the 6-1 series clincher. This will be the first time since 2018 that Bellaire has advanced to the fourth round of the playoffs.
However, Pearland is sure to provide a challenge for the Cardinals.
With their series sweep against Kingwood, the Lady Oilers reminded Houston of their capability to perform under pressure.
As long as recently-selected district MVP Abigail Gutierrez (Sr. P) is on the mound, Pearland will continue to be a legitimate contender for a State Title.
Furthermore, count on senior 2B Kennedy Drafton, as well as outfielders Kaylee Schweitzer (So.) and Hailey Golden (Sr.) to be among the various play-makers for the Pearland squad.
2022-23 Pearland Softball
Justin Hartojo (VYPE)
Langham Creek Lobos v. Midway Panthers
2022-23 Langham Creek Softball
Bradley C. Collier (VYPE)
2022-23 Regular Season: 25-7/Co-District 16-6A Champions
Head Coach: Michele Biffle
- Bi-District: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 11-1, Game 2: W 8-0) v. Klein Oak
- Area Round: 2-1 Series Win (Game 1: W 7-6, Game 2: L 7-10, Game 3: 2-0) v. New Caney
- Regional Quarters: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 1-0, Game 2: W 3-2) v. Klein Collins
2022-23 Regular Season: 25-3-2/District 12-6A Champions
Head Coach: Jordan Williams
- Bi-District: 2-1 Series Win (Game 1: L 2-3, Game 2: W 23-10, Game 3: W 11-1) v. Mansfield
- Area Round: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 5-3, Game 2: W 10-0) v. Wylie East
- Regional Quarters: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 4-3, Game 2: W 9-2) v. Royse City
Langham Creek is nothing if not resilient.
Their willingness to win was palpable as they faced an intimidating team like Klein Collins.
The game-changer for the Lobos has to be their ace Emily Simmons (Sr. RHP), who allowed only a single run in the two-game sweep, all while stifling the KC offense with 28 total strikeouts through the series.
Despite the skillful pitching they faced with the Tigers' Savannah Carter on the opposing mound, Langham Creek's Lindsay Durham (Jr. OF/1B) remained a constant threat, hitting 4-for-5, with a double and two runs scored to propel the Lobos offense.
Senior OF Sydney McReynolds played a significant role as well, considering the two RBIs she had in Game No. 2 was the ultimate difference-maker in their 3-2 victory.
The Cy-Fair ISD ball club will have their work cut out for them as they face a formidable Midway team, but if this past week was any indication, Langham Creek is not to be taken lightly.
Bridgeland Bears v. Wylie Pirates
2022-23 Bridgeland Softball
Justin Hartojo (VYPE)
2022-23 Regular Season: 27-5-1/Co-District 16-6A Champions
Head Coach: Candi Weige
- Bi-District: 4-1 win v. Klein
- Area Round: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 6-0, Game 2: W 5-4) v. Conroe
- Regional Quarters: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 18-1, Game 2: W 4-1) v. Spring
2022-23 Regular Season: 25-10/District 9-6A Champions
Head Coach: Heather Damron
- Bi-District: Series Sweep (Game 1: W 4-0, Game 2: W 10-0) v. Horn
- Area Round: Series Sweep (Game1: W 10-0, Game 2: W 10-0) v. Mansfield Legacy
- Regional Quarters: 2-1 Series Win (Game 1: L 0-1, Game 2: W 12-4, Game 3: W 2-1) v. Rockwall
Bridgeland seems to have only gotten better as this postseason has transpired.
The Bears made no effort to take it easy on the Spring Lions, handing them a 17-run marginal defeat in game one, before closing it out in somewhat more modest fashion (4-1) in the series-deciding victory.
Hats off to Trinity Allen (Sr. IF), who had a field day in the opener, going 3-for-4 while driving in five runs, scoring three herself, and knocking one out of the park.
Junior infielder Daniella Lopez also played phenomenally in the two-game sweep, batting for .600, with four RBIs, three runs scored, and a homer of her own, while Chesley Swisher (Jr. UTL) remained consistent throughout the series (.333 BA, 2 RBI, 4 R).
And let's not forget about junior RHP Sydney Jackson allowing just one earned run while racking up 15 strikeouts in her two starts for the Bears.
With an opportunity to play in the Regional Finals on the line, Bridgeland is traveling to Lake Belton High School this week, where they'll face Wylie.
If you don't mind a little road trip, this will be a fun series to witness.