The Brock Lady Eagles battled the Rains Lady Wildcats to the end, but were ultimately undone, 4-2 in the Class 3A state semifinals Wednesday evening at McCombs Field in Austin.
Brock has advanced to the state semifinals in each of the last four seasons, with Wednesday’s loss standing as the latest heartbreaker.
"It’s tough, Lady Eagles’ Head Coach Ryan Starnes said.
"I know it’s on their minds, it’s on my mind. It’s hard to get here. We had chances, we left runners on, we didn’t have timely hits, the game can be cruel like that sometimes. I don’t think they’re the better team, but they won.”
At the same time, Starnes stressed that his players accomplished no shortage of feats this season.
"We had seven goals coming into this year, and we reached six of them,” Starnes said.
"The only goal this team didn’t reach was to win our tournament, and we lost to Azle in the championship.
"One of those goals was to get back and play here [in Austin] when no one thought we could. We’ve got a lot of things to be proud of."
Brock’s offense came out firing on all cylinders at the start of the game, with Kelsi Tonips and Jessica Leek earning back-to-back doubles with two outs, the first of which drove in teammate Payton Gasca for the game’s first run.
Rains fired back in the bottom of the first, with Leo Terry getting home on a fielder’s choice after walking two at bats earlier.
The Lady Eagles were held in check at the plate in the second inning, being retired in the team’s first four at bats.
The Lady Wildcats took their first lead in the bottom of the same frame, capitalizing on a fielding error which sent one runner home for a 2-1 advantage.
Rains had a chance to pad its lead later in the inning, putting runners on first, second and third.
However, a diving catch by Lady Eagles’ left fielder Tonips one at bat later closed out the inning.
Gasca singled to center field to open the top of the third, however, the Lady Eagles struggled to get much else going at the plate in the frame, as the the Lady Wildcats earned three outs during Brock’s next four at bats.
Once again, Rains tacked on a run in the bottom of the frame, this time on an RBI single to right field by Sarah Coffman to put the Lady Cats up, 3-1.
The fourth inning followed the same pattern, with Brock unable to close the gap while Rains put up another run.
Brock finally narrowed Rains’ lead in the top of the fifth, with Jessica Leek hitting a sacrifice ground ball to short, giving teammate Landry Felts time to get home.
The run brought the Lady Eagles within, 4-2.
That score would stand for the remainder of the game, with neither team able to get on the board in the sixth or seventh innings.
Brock’s last gasp came in the top of the sixth, with Lauren Kizer walking to open the frame.
After back-to-back outs, fellow Lady Eagle Hailey Blankenship singled to center field, advancing Kizer to second base.
However, a subsequent strikeout left both runners stranded as Rains returned to the plate.
The Lady Wildcats edged-out the Lady Eagles at the plate, putting up six hits compared to four by the latter.
Blankenship, Gasca, Tonips and Leek each collected one hit for Brock.
Kizer got the start on the mound, earning three strikeouts while walking six in four innings pitched.
Tonips relieved Kizer in the bottom of the fifth inning, collecting two strikeouts of her own.
Brock finishes the 2019 season as Class 3A state semifinalists, with a record of 33-7.