Haslet Eaton is headed for the regional quarterfinals and the softball community is taking note.
Eaton, in just its first year of varsity competition, won the district and is now preparing for the third round of the playoffs.
While first-year programs have made the playoffs before, going into the regional quarters — without any seniors — is definitely the exception to the rule.
The Lady Eagles didn’t back down when they had their backs against the wall after Colleyville Heritage had taken the first game, 3-1, in their area round series.
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“When you’re a newbie on the block, everything you do is a surprise to everyone that doesn’t know you,” said Eaton assistant coach Kim Reed. “You’ve got another edge to show everyone what you have.”
Eaton promptly posted 6-2 and 15-2 wins to seal its invitation to the next round.
The Lady Eagles will now face Aledo, another area district champion.
“Everybody wants to go and win state,” Reed added. “If you don’t work hard and put in the extra time, it doesn’t matter. The goal is to play their best ball every night. If so, it gives you the best opportunity. You’re not assured of anything. These girls play as hard as they work, which gives us an opportunity to win.”
Details for the series were not yet set with Aledo, but when finalized can be found at dfwvarsity.com.
After Eaton, there aren’t many surprises as to the teams still in the playoffs.
Keller Timber Creek recovered after getting in a hole in its series with Midland and will also advance.
The Lady Falcons dropped the first game to Midland, 3-2, but came back with 11-5 and 5-1 wins.
Timber Creek will face El Paso Coronado in the 6A Region I quarterfinals. The series will be a best-of-three format, but details were still being negotiated on Monday. Possible sites include Lubbock and Odessa.
The ability to come back after the first-game loss was a testament to the team’s confidence, head coach Laura Moore said.
“When we lost on Friday, we made uncharacteristic mistakes and didn’t play well. The next day I told them to ‘just be us’ and relax and we’ll be fine,” Moore said. “We showed up a totally different team the next day. The kids have a lot of confidence in themselves.”
El Paso Coronado, which knocked out Mansfield in three games, was a bit of an unknown, but Moore said she and her staff will look for tendencies and then make decisions on how to throw to their hitters and what to expect. Past that, Moore said it’s all about the Lady Falcons’ execution.
While Timber Creek will have to become road warriors, Keller will be focused on a different kind of Warriors.
Keller, after shellacking Wolfforth Frenship in a two-game sweep, will now face the Arlington Martin Lady Warriors. That best-of-three series’ details were also yet to be worked out until early in the week.
Keller beat Frenship 15-4 and 13-2 with aggressive hitting.
“The great thing about the way we played is the way we’re hitting the ball right now,” said Keller head coach Bryan Poehler. “We’re hitting better than we have all season and it’s very promising. Our defense is very tight, and (pitcher Dylann) Kederka is getting better by the day.”
Martin, the District 6-4A champion, will present plenty of challenges for Keller.
“They have a good pitcher (Lacey Mann), a good righty and two fast slappers and two power hitters who can put the ball over the fence easily,” Poehler said. “We’ve got to play our best game to compete.”