It's a sweet Saturday for the Lindale Lady Eagles. After returning to Austin for the state softball tournament for the third straight year, Lindale shut out Wharton 5-0 for their first ever state championship.
Right out of the gates, it didn't look good. Wharton put two runners on with nobody out. But, this battle tested team laughs at pressure. Randi Warren disposed of the threat with two straight strikeouts to end the inning. She helped her cause at the plate in the bottom of the inning. An RBI double to center field brought in Hali Boyette to score to give Lindale the early lead. Another threat in the second, but this time Warren got some help. A spectacular play by Kayla Parker to track down the fly ball behind second base saved at least one run and ended the inning. No hi-five for Parker. Warren gave her a hug for that catch.
"That was an awesome catch," said Warren. "That's the team. That's what the team is for and everybody just play as a team."
"I just knew I had to get there," said Parker. "Oh, it felt so good to catch that ball. I needed that. We needed that."
Parker followed her great play in the field with a nice one at the plate. She put down a bunt. The first baseman couldn't handle the throw from third for an error. Pinch runner Morgan Harpole scored for the two-run lead. Meanwhile, Warren settled in to record strikeout after strikeout; 10 of them to be exact. The Lady Eagles added a run in the fifth on a Boyette RBI single, but Misty Cosby did the real damage in the 6th, blasting a 2-run homer over the right field fence.
"As soon as I hit it I knew it was basically gone, just the swing of the back," said Cosby. "It was a meatball pitch and I just went with it and took it.
"[The] home run was amazing," said Warren. "I couldn't ask for anything better from a freshman."
All that was left was to finish the game, which Warren fittingly did with a strikeout. And just like that, the Lady Eagles were finally state champs.
"Finally," said a relieved Parker. "We've been here three times in a row and it feels so good to finally get the gold."
"I'm so excited," said Warren, who was named MVP in her final high school game. "It's awesome, especially being a senior, going out this way is amazing. It's my last game ever to play with these girls and to play high school ball, but what better to finish this last game as a win."
"Just amazing feeling," added head coach Michelle Smith. "They've just worked so hard all year and just put a lot of effort and energy in it, and I'm just grateful to them that they've worked hard for me. Third time is a charm."
Kevin berns reporting.