Buda Hays jumped on Aledo early and cruised to an 8-1 victory Friday afternoon in the UIL Class 4A state semifinals at McCombs Field.
The loss snapped Aledo’s 24-game winning streak and ended the Bearcats’ run at a second state softball title. The Aledo girls’ teams also went to state in volleyball, basketball and golf this school year.
The Rebels (31-10) meet Lucas Lovejoy (35-8) at 1 p.m. Saturday in the championship.
“I guarantee at the beginning of the year nobody ever thought we’d be here. Halfway through the year and all the way through the playoffs nobody thought we’d be here, but we were here,” Aledo coach Jeff Lemons said. “We’re so incredibly young, we don’t have a senior on the roster, and sometimes it takes a little bit of that learning experience to figure out how to win. I feel really confident we’ll be back.”
Hays scored runs in each of the first four innings. The Rebels led 4-0 before Aledo (40-4) put a runner on base in the bottom of the third inning.
Hays shortstop Maddy Shannon led off the game with a single and took third as an error let the ball bounce to the wall. She was driven in two batters later by center fielder Hannah Ramsey with a sacrifice fly to center for a 1-0 lead.
The Rebels tacked on two more runs in the second inning on a two-out, two-run single to right field by Karina Rocha, scoring Haleigh Madden and Brayden Pinckard.
Hays added another on a solo homer by Clarissa Gonzalez in the third before scoring three more in the fourth to take a commanding 7-0 lead.
Hays pitcher Sarah Leal, who struck out eight batters in a complete-game performance, cruised through the first three innings, retiring the first seven batters she faced.
“Coming out alive, routine plays, getting some strikeouts in there; I felt on and that’s what’s most important,” Leal (25-4) said.
Aledo scored in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by sophomore first baseman Chickie Cook, scoring Rhylie Makawe, who led off the inning with a single.
Hays added one more run in the top of the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Madden that scored Ramsey.
Bearcats sophomore pitcher Lauren Craine (30-3) gave up seven earned runs on 10 hits and two walks, with four strikeouts in seven innings.