Fort Worth Arlington Heights’ magical season came to an abrupt end in an 8-1 loss to Richmond Foster in a Class 5A state semifinal on Friday at McCombs Field.
The Yellow Jackets were playing in their first state tourney in program history. Paschal was the only other Fort Worth ISD team to make it to the state softball tournament back in 2004.
“It’s kind of the icing on the cake when you get to this point,” coach Mike Townsend said. “They battled out here, but today just wasn’t our day.
“Extremely proud of them and the way we represented Fort Worth ISD. We have nothing to hang our heads about.”
After a scoreless first inning, Foster (36-8-1) tacked on three runs in the second highlighted by Leea Dempsey, who hit a two-run double down the third base line.
Arlington Heights committed seven errors on the day – three coming in the second, third and fourth innings to give Foster a 6-0 lead. Alyssa Muceus added an RBI double.
Sophomore Emily Andress recorded the program’s first hit in state tournament history in the first inning. Senior Ashleigh Sgambelluri added the second hit in the fourth, stole a base and scored. Freshman Jourdan Jacobs hit a ball up the middle that resulted in the first RBI at state.
“Jourdan is going to be pretty good for us,” Townsend said. “It’s been a season of firsts. I’m going to tell the girls it didn’t end the way we wanted to, but they should be proud. They’re the best softball team to come through Arlington Heights and always be in the record books. They’ll always be remembered as the first team to come to the state tournament.”
Kaitlyn Reinecke’s two-run double in the top of the seventh gave the Falcons an 8-1 lead. Starting pitcher Kacie Pryor (29-6) allowed one run on six hits and struck out 15 batters.
Sgambelluri is set to play at Texas A&M Corpus Christi next season. Outfielder Melinda Martinez and catcher Alyssa Martinez are also seniors. Six starters will return in 2019.
“We’ll miss our seniors and have some holes to fill, but I’m excited for the future,” Townsend said.
Despite the large number of errors, the Yellow Jackets did make a few good defensive plays. Sgambelluri threw two runners out at home and Arlington Heights also recorded two double plays.
“It would be easy to get down and throw your hands up, but they don’t and that’s one of the things I love about this group,” Townsend said.
Sgambelluri had a team-high two hits. Sophomore Jalee McDonald (33-4), who’s committed to Texas Woman’s, allowed five earned runs on eight hits and struck out three.
“We’re young, and lose three great seniors,” Townsend said. “We’re going to get ready and get our way back here next year.”