Two lightning delays extending over three hours never deterred Keller from cementing its place in Texas high school softball history.
Sophomore pitcher Dylann Kaderka continued to dominate despite the weather, and the Indians jumped on Austin Bowie early for a 5-1 victory Saturday night in the Class 6A state title game at McCombs Field.
Keller (35-6) won its fourth UIL state softball title, and second straight, moving the Indians into a tie for third all-time with Smithson Valley and breaking a tie with Pasadena Dobie for most in the largest UIL classification.
“I’m ecstatic and over the moon, and so proud of all these girls that we could repeat,” said senior second baseman and Utah signee Camryn Woodall, who was voted 6A title game MVP.
Not a lot of people can say that and especially as a senior, I want to be able to say that I won my last game of high school.
Senior second baseman Camryn Woodall
After Kaylee Rogers — who holds career school records for wins (77) and innings pitched (496) — graduated following a 5-0 win over Pearland in last year’s final, coach Bryan Poehler wasn’t sure if the 2017 team would be back in Austin.
“If you had asked me at the beginning of this year if we were going to win another one, honestly I wouldn’t have said yes,” Poehler said. “We had to figure out where the pieces were going to fit and how we were going to develop.”
“But once playoffs rolled around, we said we had a realistic shot at this thing and after that third round we said we’ve gone this far, now let’s go win another state championship.”
4 State softball titles for Keller — third most all-time, first for a school in the largest classification
Kaderka, who backed up Rogers last season and saw limited action, filled those big shoes and more, going 30-5 this season — passing Rogers’ 29 wins last year for third-most in program history.
Winning while watching from the dugout was special for Kaderka, but winning in the circle was sweeter.
“Last year as a bench player, it was very exciting, and I was super proud of Kaylee,” Kaderka said. “This year, being on the mound — it’s unbelievable thinking that Keller has won two straight state titles, and I was pitching in one of them — it’s amazing.”
30 Wins this season for sophomore pitcher Dylann Kaderka — third most in Keller softball history
Every challenge that Kaderka and the Indians faced, they answered.
Keller lost to Keller Timber Creek 9-5 in the first round of District 3-6A play, only to come back and win 4-3 in their second meeting to win the district title.
“For sure we saw our potential when we played Timber Creek to put us in the lead for district, and everyone’s confidence went up and we all knew we could do it in every single game,” Woodall said.
The Indians blew a 6-0 lead in Game 2 of the regional semifinals against Plano East, but Keller hung on for a 4-3 win in Game 3.
Plano West took Game 1 of the 6A Region I final only for Kaderka to shut down the Wolves 8-1 and 8-0 as the Indians clinched an eighth state softball berth.
After that Plano West series, I told them we’ve already gone this far. We put in this much work, so we might as well go all the way.
Keller coach Bryan Poehler
“Dylann has really put in the time and commitment to develop some key pitches and has worked so hard with me and her catcher Courtney Cagle to put the best game plans into action,” Poehler said. “She has done an amazing job.”
Class 6A state all-tournament team
SP Dylann Kaderka, Soph., Keller
C Courtney Cagle, Jr., Keller
SS Kasey Simpson, Jr., Keller
OF Amanda Desario, Soph., Keller
OF Caraline Woodall, Soph., Keller
UTL Camryn Woodall, Sr., Keller