Nolan Catholic hits its way to state
The phrase “third times a charm” fits well for Nolan Catholic softball.
The Vikings are at the TAPPS state tournament for a third-straight season, but have been eliminated in the semifinals in their past two attempts.
Nolan Catholic hopes to bring home its first softball state title since 1985 and it can accomplish that with sisters Avery and Delaney Boley.
Senior catcher Avery and younger sister, sophomore infielder Delaney first played on the same team in 2009. They played travel ball together a few times, but have helped the Vikings in back-to-back seasons.
“It’s something special to see your daughters play and work together on a team,” father Lee said. “The love and passion for the game has created an incredible bond between them.”
“My sister and I are extremely close,” Avery added. “We know everything about each other. I was super excited we could play together for two full years. She’s my best friend.”
Nolan Catholic (28-4-1) plays Katy Saint John, 4 p.m. Friday in the Division I semifinals at Crosby High School.
“For the seniors, this is the third time to the state semifinals,” Avery said. “We have something to prove and we’re ready to bring a state championship back to Nolan.”
“We’re excited,” Delaney added. “This is what we’ve been working for this whole year.”
Last season as a freshman, Delaney had two home runs and 27 RBIs. Avery added five home runs and 45 RBIs.
But for Delaney, who always looked up to her sister, says Avery is a role model.
“She loves the game more than any person I know and she shows it,” Delaney said. “It’s meant so much to me to be able to play with her these past two years. When I made varsity last season, I think she was happier than I was.”
The sisters have upped their game for 2018 – hitting a combined 15 home runs and 109 RBIs. Avery is one of the top players in the area with 11 homers and 65 RBIs.
“It’s been an awesome experience,” head coach Demi McNulty said. “Getting to work with sisters is a very special thing because you get to see that unique bond that spreads out to the whole team.”
Assistant coach Jessica McClasky is in her first year with the program, but she knows first-hand what it’s like to have a sister that shares the same passion for softball.
She has an older sister Courtney and younger sister Mikayla. All three played for Keller. Mikayla won a state title in 2016.
“Having a sister on the field with you can bring a sense of calmness,” McClasky said. “It’s a cool thing to see the passion and excitement they have for one another.”
Other key members on the roster include Kortlyn Brown, Elena Larsen, Peyton Fisher, Colleen Mcavoy, Katie Hornick, Payton Reeves and Miranda Rivera,
Drive up 10 miles north on Interstate 20 and you’ll find the Cardinals, who are also in Crosby for the TAPPS Division II state tournament.
The Cardinals (16-9) face Bullard Brook Hill, 1:30 p.m. Friday.
“We have been blessed with a strong freshman class and sophomore transfer,” head coach Michelle Yarbrough Morgan said.
Freshmen Missy Wise and Liv Shahan, and seniors Moriah Ortiz and Dara Brown have helped the Cardinals reach this point – along with the rest of the roster like Bayleigh Hall, Meg Goff, Macy Waddell and Annika Heredia.
Yarbrough Morgan knew the freshman class would be strong, but even said they’ve impacted the team beyond what they hoped.
Ortiz and Brown both went 3 for 5 in their last game vs. Dallas Christian. Ortiz added a home run in a 12-8 victory. Heredia had four hits and Goff drove in two runs.
“The heart of our seniors has spread throughout the entire roster. It’s a joy to watch them play,” Yarbrough Morgan said.
She’s been with the program for 11 years – nine as head coach.
This is her sixth trip to state with FWC. The Cardinals have been to the state title game four of the past five years and won a title in 2011.
If both Nolan Catholic and FWC win semifinal games, the Division II title game is 11 a.m. Saturday. The Division I game is 2 p.m.