Saginaw Chisholm Trail coach Frank Griffin has snooped around a little trying to figure out if his team has accomplished a first.
No one seems to recall another area high school softball team qualifying for the UIL playoffs in its first year of existence, save for when softball became a varsity sport 20 years ago.
Teams to watch
Mansfield Legacy (24-7): With ace pitcher Jordan Potts sidelined, the Broncos will have to dig deep to go further this year.
Aledo (30-3): District champs trying to fly under the radar, but winning keeps Bearcats in focus.
Richland (27-5): Despite a season-ending loss to Keller, the Rebels were champions in a district chock full of great teams.
Mansfield Timberview (21-4): Undefeated run in District 7-5A has this team No. 18 in the latest Texas Girls Coaches Association poll.
Saginaw (21-9): After finishing sixth the last two years in a difficult 5A district, the Rough Riders are poised for a lengthy run in the 4A playoffs.
Burleson Centennial (23-8): The Spartans, who shared the District 8-4A title with Burleson, are driven by a first-round loss in 2012.
Burleson (26-3): The Elks’ four-year starters, OF Mallory Foster, 1B Erika Menchaca, C Logan Friend and pitcher Samantha Montes, have all signed to play in college.
Players to watch
Lauren Mankel, Hurst L.D. Bell: The junior third baseman has game-changing power at the plate and a .528 average.
April Ryan, Keller: The Texas A&M signee has 25 extra-base hits this season and hitting .537 with 39 RBIs.
Bailey Kennedy, Joshua: The sophomore catcher/infielder is batting .571 with 17 doubles and a slugging percentage of .798.
Madison Montgomery, Burleson Centennial: Crushing the ball with five homers this year, 12 doubles and three triples while hitting .577. Committed to Oklahoma State.
Susan Welborn, Birdville: The 2012 Star-Telegram Player of the Year and Texas Tech signee has posted a 19-9 record in 2013.
And yet thats exactly what a group of freshmen and sophomores have done as the Rangers (19-8) open a best-of-three Class 4A bi-district series Friday against Trophy Club Nelson (24-10).
The opening round begins Friday and must finish by Tuesday. The state tournament is May 29-June 1 in Austin.
Were just excited to be here and taking it all in, Griffin said. I noticed early on that we were losing close games to good teams and when we got that win over Boswell in the first half of district play, I figured we had a shot at it.
Chisholm Trail wont graduate a senior class for two more years, which means the Rangers can grow from the experience of playing against proven teams such as Nelson.
Chisholms Sierra Hanes will face off against 2012 Star-Telegram Super Team selection Ashley Dumoulin.
Hanes, a sophomore, has been strong in her first full season of varsity pitching. She threw some late varsity innings for Boswell last season, but pitched mainly for the junior varsity.
Shes worked hard to improve her location and get stronger, Griffin said. Shes the kind of pitcher that gets a lot of ground balls and that says a lot about our defense.
Hanes is 10-6 this season with 97 strikeouts and a 3.42 ERA. Opposite that, Dumoulin has had another strong season, going 23-7 with a 1.49 ERA and 122 strikeouts for Nelson.
At the plate, Victoria Quinn and Alexandra Potts have dominated, hitting .570 and .569 respectively to fuel Chisholms offense.
Quinn and Potts have combined to generate 42 extra-base hits and 84 RBIs.
The top of our lineup has been solid and if we can find a way to get some batters on base, I think well be able to generate some runs and build on top of that, Griffin said.
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