(Corpus Christi, Texas)-The 32-6A District Champions, San Benito Greyhounds are headed back to the University Interscholastic Leagues State 6A Girls Softball Tournament after sweeping 27-6A runner-up San Antonio East Central (25-17) in the Best-of-Three series on Friday night at Cabaniss Field in Corpus Christi, Texas. The Lady Hounds defeated the Lady Hornets 11-1, 2-0 in the UIL State 6A Softball Quarterfinals. “We did it,” said San Benito HS head softball coach, Elias Martinez. “We are headed back to the the UIL State Softball Tournament.”
The No.2 State 6A ranked Lady Hounds (40-5) will play No.3 Pearland (39-3) on Friday at 4:00 p.m. at Red and Charline McCombs Field and the winning team will advance to the finals on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. against No.1 ranked Denton Guyer (37-1) or No.8 Bridgeland (36-7-1).
The Lady Greyhounds are led by two pitchers who have made their names on the mounds in 2023. Sophomore Amira Rodriguez (17-3) picked up her win in Game One against SA East Central 11-1, including a blast-homerun to left field to lead her team. In Game Two, senior pitcher Emily Delgado (23-2) held the Lady Hornets to close out their series in the UIL State 6A Quarterfinals.
Now, the Lady Greyhounds will have the task to win its first-ever UIL State 6A title beginning on Friday. “We have been there two times (2013, 2015) and we have some unfinished business,” says Martinez. “I believe we can go all the way. ” In both state tournament appearances, the Lady Greyhounds lost to Lewisville in the UIL State 6A Semifinals, with the Lady Farmers winning one title.
In the playoffs, the Lady Hounds has knocked out Mission (18-0, 19-2), SA Brennan (3-5, 3-2, 3-1), SA Harlan (4-0), New Braunfels (9-7. 9-12, 11-1), and SA East Central (11-1, 2-0). Now, the Lady Hounds will have to find another way to knock out the two-time state champions, Pearland Lady Oilers. The Lady Oilers were also state runner-ups in 2009 and 2016 (defeated Weslaco in semifinals).
The Lady Oilers and Lady Greyhounds do have five things in common in 2023. Both have defeated San Antonio Harlan, SA Brennan, CC Tuloso-Midway, CC Veterans, and CC Flour Bluff during the regular season and playoffs. In the regular season, the Lady Oilers stopped Harlan 2-1, SA Brennan 11-2, CC Tuloso- Midway 5-0, Flour Bluff 4-0, and CC Veterans 2-1, during the regular season while the Lady Hounds knocked off CC Veterans (6-3, 3-2), Flour Bluff (8-1, 12-2), before falling to Tulso-Midway 3-0. In the State 6A playoffs, the Lady Hounds eliminated Harlan (4-0) from the regional quarterfinals and ended SA Brennan state title hopes in the area playoffs.
For the Lady Oilers, head coach Laneigh Clark has gone with senior pitcher, Abigail Gutierrez (24-1) throughout this season. In the playoffs, the senior pitcher has led her team to five shutouts to post a 9-0 record. The 23-6A Lady Oilers will bring a 25-woman roster with a team that has outscored its opponents 363-90 while the Lady Hounds is much better by outscoring their opponents 415-82 runs. “I am so proud of this team,’ said Martinez as he watched his seven seniors get their diplomas after their win over SA East Central at Cabaniss Field.