Both teams entered the series ranked in the top ten statewide in 2A softball. The KA Pride were as high as No. 3 in some polls while the RHS girls were No. 9 in the state. The clash of the two Region IV titans was held in Sinton and Friday’s first game was tighter than the score might indicate.
“Game one was a great defensive game. Both teams pitched well,” said Refugio head coach David Cruhm.
“We threatened a few times but couldn’t capitalize on scoring opportunities. Ultimately, the team that takes advantage of its opportunities, while keeping mistakes to a minimum, will come out victorious.”
Game two also hinged on the mistakes. Both teams committed five errors and the Refugio miscues proved to be the more costly.
Refugio got an early lead with one run in the top of the first with Chelsea Bauer tagging a one-out single, followed an out later by a RBI double from Michele Rosas.
Neither pitcher had dominating stuff and the strikeouts were few and far between. Defense was at a premium. Several hard shots off the bats of the Lady Cats were line drives to center and the Pride outfielder made the catches.
The KA girls tied it up with a single run in the bottom of the second and then took their first lead with another run in the home half of the fourth. It was a 2-1 ball game heading into the fifth.
Refugio took advantage of one KA error and two base hits to push across two runs in the top of the inning. Bauer reached on an error and was moved into scoring position on another single by Rosas. A fielder’s choice that was misplayed by the Pride loaded the bases for Chelsea Lara. Lara came through with a two-run double to put the Lady Cats back on top, 3-2.
A couple of hits in the bottom of the fifth along with one throwing error led to two more KA runs as they recaptured the lead at 4-3. Both teams failed to score in the sixth to set up the climatic final inning.
A one-out single by Bauer got the Lady Cats going. Shelby Bellows then hit into a fielder’s choice for the second out. The Pride’s first baseman threw to second, hoping to get Bauer overrunning the base. The throw went wide left and rolled all the way to the fence. Bauer just kept on running and scored easily from second on the play to tie the game at 4-4. The rally ended but the Lady Cats still had a chance.
Kingsville Academy need just one run to win or the contest would go extra innings. The leadoff hitter popped to short but the ball escaped the glove of the Lady Cat fielder. The next hitter bunted and the hurried throw to first went wide and that put Pride runners at first and third with no outs. A deep hard grounder to short was fielded cleanly but the throw home was not in time as the KA runner at third left on contact and slid in under the throw safely for the winning run.
Lara, Rosas and Bauer each had two hits for the Lady Cats in game two.
“The girls battled well. They played with a tenacious spirit and would not give up,” Cruhm said.
“We had a few mistakes that ended up costing us, but we played with class and heart. It’s difficult to perform at a high level every week and sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way.”
The Refugio girls ended their season at 30-5 and reached the Region IV quarterfinals before bowing out to one of the best teams in the state. The Lady Cats will lose five seniors from this year’s team but will have a strong group of returnees for their coach to work with next year.
“We have some great returning lettermen that are anxious to prove they are the team of the future. We will miss the girls that are graduating this year but there are some good players ready to fill their positions,” Cruhm said.
“I was very proud of the way the young ladies played and how they showed their true character. Refugio should be very proud of how they represented their community.