The Brock Lady Eagles have made something of a second home in Austin over the last four years, advancing to the UIL state softball tournament in each 2016, 17, 18 and 19.
Brock’s latest trek to the state capital came after another dominant regular and postseason run.
Compiling a District 7-3A record of 13-1, the Lady Eagles swept Paradise, Millsap, Breckenridge, Tolar, Jacksboro and Boyd.
Even the team’s lone district blemish, a 2-1 loss to rival Peaster in late March, helped spur a 14-game win-streak immediately after which did not end until the team’s regional final series with the Bushland Lady Falcons.
Brock rallied from a 7-4 game one loss to Bushland, winning back-to-back games (8-1 and 9-3) to stamp the team’s ticket to state.
Before that, the Lady Eagles defeated previous postseason opponents Bowie, Early, Henrietta and Slaton by a combined score (an eight-game span) of 118-20.
Their 4-2 loss to Emory Rains in the state semifinals ultimately cut the journey for another state championship short by one game, although, that should not diminish everything the Lady Eagles accomplished in 2019, Brock Head Softball Coach Ryan Starnes said.
“It’s tough to lose four straight, but it’s also hard to get here,” Starnes said.
“One of our goals was to get back here when no one else thought we could. We have a lot of things to proud of for sure.”
The loss to Rains also signified the end of an era for at least three Brock players.
Seniors Landry Felts, Payton Gasca and Jessica Leek were each members of the previous four state-contending teams.
Starnes said the trio’s contributions to each of those squads should be a point of pride for years to come.
“It’s a group that kept working,” Starnes said.
“It’s a group that’s got a lot to be proud of. To come to four straight, it hadn’t been done at Brock, it’s something that when they look back on [it], they should be proud of.”
The trio, along with fellow seniors Brianna Correa and Jenna Lindberg recently graduated.
However, Brock will get back a number of 2019 starters including juniors Kelsi Tonips, Lauren Kizer, Claire Duvall, Hailey Blankenship and Maddie Murley, as well as sophomore Maddie Bramblett to pair with a number of young players.
With ample continuity on the roster and coaching staff, the Lady Eagles can now begin preparation for next year, and another chance at hoisting the state championship trophy.