As teams try and dodge the rain, it's Regional Semi week for Houston-area softball.
Katy vs Clear Springs
At Cy Ranch (Today at 6:30)
At Goose Creek Memorial (Thurs 6:30)
At Goose Creek Memorial (Friday 6:30)
Katy has been to three state tourneys and has won two state titles. Clear Springs has made school history this season getting past the second round. Emma Strood is one of the most lethal pitchers in the state of Texas right now and is headed to LSU. She had her 200th strikeout of the season in early May. Katy counters with Cam Harrison and Ashtyn Reichardt, who are freshman FREAKS. They play with swag and have no remorse.
PREDICTION: Katy Advances.
Ridge Point vs Deer Park
At Channelview (Thursday, Friday, Saturday)
Same story here. Deer Park has two state titles (2012, 2015) and four state appearances. Softball is a thing at Deer Park. Hannah Benavides (ACU), Tabatha Bailey (San Jac), Madison Applebe (Ole Miss), and Haidryn Hardcastle lead the way for the Deer. Applebe must be on this week. Allianz Bryant, Grace Janik, Alexa Semeyn, and Malyn Simmons can ball for Ridge Point. These two teams played this season and Deer Park won 14-0.
PREDICTION: The blue-bloods of softball in Deer Park advance.
CLASS 6A Region II
Bryan vs The Woodlands
At Grand Oaks (Today at 5:30)
At Navasota (Thursday 5:30)
At Grand Oaks (Friday 5:30)
Can The Woodlands get to super pitcher Jessica Adams of Bryan? Uhhh, what about her twin Jacque? They are power hitters of the first order and are headed to ULL. The Highlanders have been hitting well in the postseason and will need to keep it up to outscore the Vikings. TWHS has been to three state tourneys, winning one title. However, they struggled this season finishing third in district play. The Leach twins, Haley Fountain and Kayla Falterman (ULL) have to get the merry-go-round going to advance.
PREDICTION: Adams twins get it done to lead Vikings to Regional Finals
Rockwall vs Bridgeland
All Games at Liberty Hill (Thursday, Friday at 6. Saturday at 2)
Bridgeland has won 14 games in a row and has made school history reaching the Regional Semis. Trinity Allen is a beast for the Bears. Rockwall has been to six Regional Semis and has advanced half the time.
PREDICTION: End of the road for Bridgeland, but history was made.
CLASS 5A Region III
Lake Creek vs Crosby
At Grand Oaks (Thursday at 8)
Team Tik Tok is ridiculous at 37-0. They are young, have a true ace in Emiley Kennedy, and can hit and run like the wind. And they are crushing teams. Maddie McKeen, Madelyn Lopez, Ava Brown, and Caelee Clark are a Murderers Row in the lineup. It's state tourney or bust.
PREDICTION: Lions Roar to Regional Finals
Waller vs Barbers Hill
At Humble (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)
People are sleeping on Barbers Hill. Sophia Simpson is an ace headed to Texas and Samantha Landry is a beast at the plate. They are the only team that can beat Lake Creek in the Region. Too much pitcher and enough hitting.PREDICTION: Barbers Hill bounces Waller
The 20-6 Sharks placed second in District 23-6A and the 14-5-1 Chargers placed third in District 24-6A. The best out of three series for Bi-District was held at Baytown Lee this past weekend.
Springs came out swinging, scoring three runs in the top of the first with RBIs from Jordan Boothe and Hayden See. Despite several base hits from both teams, the next five innings remained scoreless thanks to the pitching of Jacob Wingard for the Chargers and Sebastian Soliz for the Sharks, as well as the defensive efforts of all players. The action picked up again in the top of the seventh when Parker Lee hit a two-run homer to secure Springs's lead at 5-0 before Shadow Creek's last at-bat.
Even with a triple from Dejuan Lewis and an RBI from Juan Guzman, the Sharks were unable to close the gap, and Clear Springs clinched the first victory of the series 5-1.
After the game, Coach Scalise, who is in his first season as Shadow Creek's head coach, said, "We're playing a good team. It's one of those things where they're good, we know it, Springs is always good. Playing them is always a battle—it's one where the kids come out and play. For us, we had a bad inning in the first inning. Not even a bad one, they just hit the ball a little bit and we just didn't respond offensively. When we don't respond offensively, we don't have a chance. I'm proud of them though. They hit the ball hard, they hit pretty much right at people the entire game, and they made great plays. The team that makes the plays and pitches wins."
Coach Scalise's plan to bounce back? Wash off the first one. Scalise believed his players were mentally tough enough to erase the first loss and give Springs a run for their money on Saturday.
They certainly washed off Friday night's game.
Saturday's game was another slow start, the score resting at 0-0 until the bottom of the third where Clear Springs busted out two runs. However, the Sharks stayed persistent and disciplined, scoring eight total runs in the fifth and sixth innings with the help of a home run from Aidan Griggsby. Springs refused to let them get away with their 8-2 lead, answering in the bottom of the sixth with six runs to tie the score 8-8.
With a scoreless seventh inning, Game 2 came down to extra innings. Both teams battled hard, but an unanswered 2-RBI double from Shadow Creek's Sabian Hernandez in the top of the ninth ended the game with a final score of 10-8.
In a do-or-die Game 3 thirty minutes later, Shadow Creek started with an early lead 5-0 by the end of the second. Despite the success of Clear Springs at the plate in the fifth and sixth innings as they brought the score to 5-4, another run in the bottom of the sixth for the Sharks increased the lead to 6-4. The Chargers were unable to close the gap in the seventh, ending the game and securing Shadow Creek's spot in the Area Finals.
Post-game, VYPE caught up with Coach Scalise:
VYPE: How did you adjust in the second game to pull out the win in extra innings?
Scalise: The kid's just played. They fought. We went up 8-2, gave up six runs in one inning to make it 8-8, then brought in our Game 3 starter just to try and get a win to get to Game 3, and he threw really well. I think at that point, our kids just wanted it more than them.
VYPE: What was the main difference you saw in your team's mindset and performance from the start of the series to the end?
Scalise: Experience. There's no doubt about it. I talked to the kids about the game being too big for them in the moment, and there were some times where the game was just [very] overwhelming. I talked to the guys, and I think we had about six that had playoff experience. Some of them had never even been in a playoff game, much less a 6A playoff game. I've said it since the beginning of the year, 6A baseball is completely different from 5A baseball, and that was a really big series for our kids. I think being in the moment, understanding what a playoff atmosphere is really like, knowing that they can get it done because we've done it all year, and the mindset of 'they're better than them.'
VYPE: How do you plan to take the energy from this win into Round 2?
Scalise: I told the kids, enjoy the win tonight and Sunday, start thinking about Round 2. Round 2's going to be just as tough, maybe even tougher. We're playing a really good team. Energy for us is not doing anything more than we've done all year. Our playing is the same, our practice playing is the same, our mindset is the same. The only difference at this point is if you win you advance, if you lose you go home. I'm a big believer in having our kids loose, having them relax, me being relaxed, and my coaching staff being relaxed. If we can do that, then our kids can do that.
Shadow Creek will face off against Summer Creek, who swept Deer Park in Bi-District, on Thursday, May 13, and Friday, May 14 for a spot in the Regional Quarterfinals.