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Bridgeland's Lilli Piersons
The Area Round of the Class 6A Softball postseason was simply astonishing.
All the unexpected developments that took place in the Area Round -- Bellaire upsetting Katy, Heights defeating Cinco Ranch, Kingwood shutting out Brazoswood – are exactly what makes this game so interesting to watch. You never know what might happen!
With the Regional Quarters set to take place this week, one can only hope for similar excitement on the diamond.
Given the superfluous number of powerhouse teams primed to face off, here are VYPE’s picks for the best series matchups to watch in the third round.
Jamie Wright (VYPE)
2022-23 Deer Park Softball
Deer Park Deer
2022-23 Regular Season: 21-8/District 22-6A Champions
Head Coach: Amy Vidal-Bush
2022-23 Regular Season: 25-6/District 21-6A Champions
Head Coach: Ashley Boyd
Leave it Deer Park to recollect themselves after a tough 3-5 loss on Alvin's home field.
The Deer showed their mettle by winning out the remainder of the Area Round series against the Yellowjackets, in two nail-biters no less.
Coach Vidal-Bush's group is surging at the perfect time, with their key senior play-makers--Bryanna Fuentes (IF), Erin Perez (C), Angelina Morales (1B), Lorelei Graham (OF), pitcher Aubrey Graham, proving exactly why they advanced to the State Semifinals a year ago.
However, Atascocita will be sure to put up a fight to advance.
Oklahoma-bound Kasidi Pickering was one of the primary driving forces behind the team's sweep over Dawson. The senior center-fielder went 4-for-6, with a double and two RBIs, while senior SS Raegan Jennings (2-5, 2 R, RBI), and freshman OF Marigny Thomas (2-5, 3 R, RBI, HR) provided the finishing touches to what was a decisive series for the Eagles.
This matchup may determine more than just who punches their ticket to the Regional Tournament. The winner of this series could potentially be the projected front-runner for the 6A Title.
2022-23 Atascocita Eagles Softball
Juan De Leon (VYPE)
2022-23 Kingwood Mustangs Softball
2022-23 Regular Season: 26-6/Finished 2nd in District 21-6A
Head Coach: DeWayne Singletary
2022-23 Regular Season: 28-3/District 23-6A Champions
Head Coach: Laneigh Clark
Kingwood has showcased their remarkable consistency through the first two rounds of the UIL Class 6A Playoffs.
Through two series (4 games), the Mustangs' bullpen, headlined by UTSA-signee Meredith Schmitt (Sr. RHP), has only allowed two runs. What more needs to be said?
Despite facing an equally stingy pitching corps at Brazoswood, the Kingwood bats were opportunistic and showed up when needed. Expect their seniors--Lanie Macicek (OF), Hailey Harvey (UTL), and catcher Tara Wolocko--to keep up this trend as they move on the face Pearland.
Speaking of, the Lady Oilers are fresh off the heels of defeating a red-hot Summer Creek team in another series sweep.
A stacked roster full of college-commits in Hailey Golden (Texas-A&M), Kristyn Whitlock (SHSU) and Abigail Gutierrez (UT-Arlington), with an experienced coach like Laneigh Clark at the helm, sure sounds like a recipe for success.
Believe us when we say this was a difficult series to put as the No. 2 series to watch.
2022-23 Pearland Softball
Justin Hartojo (VYPE)
2022-23 Heights Softball
2022-23 Regular Season: 25-2-1/District 18-6A Champions
Head Coach: Lamont Robins
Ridge Point Panthers
2022-23 Regular Season: 21-7/Co-District 20-6A Champions
Head Coach: Lindsey Gage
On the other hand, Ridge Point is a powerhouse in their own right.
Senior RHP Bailey Gray was incredibly efficient in the Panthers' single-game series against Cy-Fair. Not only did she throw a shutout against an imposing Bobcats lineup, but she also knocked in two runs to give Ridge Point the advantage they needed to finish off their 5-0 victory.
Look for Gray, paired with fellow stars Jade Uresti (Sr. IF), Braelyn Daniels (So. C/OF) and senior IF Reagan Green to make some noise in the three-game series.
This is one of the more unpredictable series of the Regional Quarters, which makes it that much more interesting.
Some of the stars of 2022-23 Ridge Point Softball
Bradley C. Collier (VYPE)
2022-23 Bridgeland Bears Softball
2022-23 Regular Season: 27-5-1/Co-District 16-6A Champions
Head Coach: Candi Weige
2022-23 Regular Season: 21-8/District 14-6A Champions
Head Coach: Julie Wyrick
Bridgeland solidified themselves as Title contenders with their series sweep against a red-hot Conroe team.
The Bears delivered a statement win in the series opener, smacking the ball over the fence four times, while denying the Tigers of a rebuttal in Game No. 2 to secure their playoff advancement.
Senior SS/C Lilli Piersons highlighted the gun-show, hitting for a .625 batting average through the series, while batting two runs in, scoring two herself, with a home run tacked on.
Other performances of note include that of senior LHP/OF Haylie Stum (3-7, 2 RBI, 2 R, HR), senior UTL Trinity Allen (3-7, 2 R, RBI, HR), not to mention Sydney Jackson (Jr. RHP) throwing for an 0.00 ERA, with 11 K's, while hitting a homer for herself.
The Spring Lions are a difficult team to pin down, given how any one of their players have the potential to go off.
Spring's thrilling matchup against Cy Woods showcased how effective their bullpen 's one-two punch of Isabella De Los Santos (Sr.) and sophomore London Park can be. Each threw 11 strikeouts during the series, while De Los Santos and Park threw for an ERA of 2.33 and just over 1.00, respectively.
The Lions' batting proved to be imposing as well, particularly with freshman 3B/C Hailey Jones-Calais going 4-for-8, with two RBIs, three runs scored, and a home run. In addition, Mariah DeBose (Sr. CF) could be a game-changer at the plate, considering the impressive stats she put up in Game No. 3 (1-3, 3 RBI, R, 3B).
2022-23 Spring Lions Softball
2022-23 Langham Creek Softball
Langham Creek Lobos
2022-23 Regular Season: 25-7/Co-District 16-6A Champions
Head Coach: Michele Biffle
Klein Collins Tigers
2022-23 Regular Season: 26-7/District 15-6A Champions
Head Coach: Meghan Fisher
Langham Creek is picking up steam heading into this week's matchup against Klein Collins.
The Lobos took care of business in their three-game series against a staggering New Caney team. Although she hit a few snags on the mound through games one and two, senior RHP Emily Simmons showed her mettle in the shutout series clincher, capping her strikeout totals at 13.
Simmons was even more impressive at bat, going 4-for-7, with three RBIs, a pair of runs, plus a homer. Furthermore, junior OF/1B Lindsay Durham hit for .500, while tacking on two RBIs and two runs scored.
Klein Collins has already outshined their 2022 performance (Bi-District Finalist) which was punctuated by their exhilarating series win against the The Woodlands, but they don't plan on stopping now.
The Tigers have talent to spare. From junior right-hander Savannah Carter and Arianays Garcia (Jr. C), who each played key factors in their team's victory over TWHS, to Za'Riya Bell-Morris (So. OF) and senior IF Daniela Gutierrez who are sure to play major roles in the decisive series against Langham Creek.
2022-23 Klein Collins Softball
2022-23 Jersey Village Softball
Jersey Village Falcons (16-14-1/Finished 2nd in District 17-6A) v. Bellaire Cardinals (14-12/Finished 2nd in District 18-6A)
2022-23 Deer Park High School Softball
2022: 40-5 (State Semifinalists)
HC: Amy Vidal
Deer Park has been one of the strongest softball programs in the Greater Houston Area for the past few years. In 2021, the Deer won the program’s third State title and returned to Austin again in 2022.
The Deer finished 40-5 overall a year ago and fell in the State Semifinals. Can Deer Park make it a third-straight trip?
Five starters return for third-year coach Amy Vidal, who has won 80 games as a coach at Deer Park and is in her 23rd year overall as a head coach.
The Deer bring back eight collegiate-bound players led by first-team, all-district picks Erin Perez (Incarnate Word), Bryanna Fuentes (Incarnate Word), and Angelina Morales (San Jac). Second-team picks were Lorelei Graham (Angelina College) and Lindsey McKnight (Angelina College).
Other names to remember include Aubrey Graham (Dallas Christian College), Hanna York (Houston Christian), and Kylie Wilson (Prairie View A&M).
This team has the pieces to make another run.