By Wayland D. Clark
With only two seniors, Katie Young and Haley Kanetzky, it wasn’t the 80-1 odds long shot Rich Strike had at Churchill Downs in the 2022 Kentucky Derby, but the Lady Tigers softball team wasn’t a likely pick to win 5A District 26.
Some were surprised when they did, but not the Lady Tigers.
The team’s goal was to travel the 28-mile trip to the State Softball Tournament in Austin, but the road getting there came to a dead end in San Marcos with a 3-1 loss on Friday the 13th against a pesky San Antonio McCollom team in the Region IV quarterfinals.
It just wasn’t the Lady Tigers’ day. McCollum will face Flour Bluff in the Region IV semifinals.
Dripping Springs swept its way through bi-district and area in best of three game series wins over Georgetown Eastview 8-2, 4-0 and Southwest Legacy 4-1, 1-0 before the 3-1 loss to McCollum in a single game playoff.
“The glue that got us here is our dugout, and the camaraderie and love we have for each other as a team, that’s why we’re where we are tonight,” Young said after the game. “We’re a family and we pick each other up.”
Junior pitcher Jordan Cox did her job in the circle, giving up 4 hits, and 3 runs with only one run being an earned run, walking two and striking out 5 McCollum batters.
Cox and Dripping Springs’ defense held McCollom scoreless for four innings, after the Cowboys scored a run in the second inning and two in the third.
Dripping Springs had 3 hits and got runners on base with 3 walks and 3 batters hit by pitch, but a seemingly slippery turf hurt the Lady Tigers on the base pads, resulting in at least two outs.
Other runners totaling 11 were stranded on base, including two in the bottom of the fifth inning when the Lady Tigers may have been able to tie the game but just couldn’t seem to get a break.
The inning ended with a runner from third base being put out at home plate on a squeeze play.
Haley Kanetzky beat out a throw to first base and reached base on an error. Erika Kanetzky and Haiden Anderson each had a hit and senior Katie Young scored the lone run for the Tigers in the bottom of the fourth inning with Ashtyn Owens credited with a hit and the RBI.
They’re going to know what it takes,” senior Haley Kanetzky said about the underclassmen on the team.
“The younger girls on our team who experienced this are now really going to know what it feels like to go far in the playoffs and hopefully, even though we lost tonight, they’ll learn something that will take them even farther next year.”
Dripping Springs won District with a 14-2 record in 5A Region IV District 26 and finished the season with an impressive 27-11 overall record.