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Katy softball returns to state tournament

May 24, 2019

A combined 11 runs in two innings lifted the Katy softball team to victory in the Region III-6A championship series Thursday at Cougar Softball Stadium.

Katy defeated Deer Park 12-3, earning a trip to the state championship tournament for the first time since 2015. With the win, Katy head coach Kalum Haack praised his seniors for overcoming adversity.

“Our seniors have been in this situation for four straight years and have gotten beat in the regional finals, and it’s not only frustrating, it’s disheartening,” Haack said. “So for them to overcome finally and put all together, I’m just really, really proud of them.”

Thursday’s matchup marked game two of the series. Game one saw the Tigers run-rule the Deer 11-1 in five innings.

Both teams jumped on the board early, knotting the game at 1-1 in the first inning.

A home run from Deer Park’s Kaurie Winters gave the Deer the upper hand for the next few innings as the Tigers were held scoreless through the fourth.

Through those few innings, Katy’s batters were making contact, but their hits were fly balls to the outfielders.

Haack said he told his team to stop chasing pitches and establish more focus and intensity at the plate.

“Our focus and our concentration wasn’t where it needed to be,” Haack said. “Our senior leadership kind of took over and said, ‘You know what, this has had enough. We’ve got to get to work.’”

Sparked by a leadoff home run from Amy Hitt and a two-run shot from Alyssa Leblanc, Katy put up six runs in the fifth to take a 7-2 lead.

A solo home run from Sara Vanderford brought Deer Park within four, but Katy’s pitcher, Chloe Cobb, struck out the next three batters to end the comeback.

Katy’s Sydney Blakeman launched the fifth and final home run of the night in the sixth inning where the Tigers tallied on another five runs. And with a 12-3 advantage heading into the final frame, Katy shut down Deer Park to secure the win.

With her first season as head coach at a close, Deer Park’s Errica Cantu said she was proud of her team for fighting through the regional finals.

“They came up against a really hard-hitting Katy team that got the better of us two games in a row,” Cantu said. “They were counted out a lot of times, could’ve folded up a lot of times and they didn’t.”

The state championship tournament will kick off May 29, with the Class 6A state semifinals slated for May 31.

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