The softball playoffs start this week as teams gear up for the 6-week journey, in hopes to reach the state tournament in Austin and be crowned state champs.
Games begin on Wednesday with the bi-district round.
Will Forney repeat in 5A?
The Jackrabbits own a 27-2 record and enter the postseason on a 16-game winning streak after they beat Lake Ridge 12-2 on Monday. Junior Texas A&M commit Trinity Cannon hit her 13th home run of the season while increasing her RBI total to 56. Missouri commit Vanessa Hollingsworth also homered and Kansas commit Savanna DesRochers is 18-1 on the mound while recording 11 home runs and 55 RBI at the plate.
Forney, which opens with Waco University, won its first softball state title last season, a season dedicated to Emily Galiano, a freshman who died in 2017 during the regional quarterfinals.
The first six batters in Forney’s lineup are either signed to committed to play college softball: Caleigh Cross, Hannah Holdbrook, Cannon, DesRochers, Hollingsworth and Sadie Hewitt.
Will Keller and Eaton meet in the regional final?
The Keller Indians and Eaton Eagles finish the season as the top two ranked 6A teams in the Metroplex, according to DFW Fast Pitch. Keller finished undefeated in district for the first time since 2010, taking the 5-6A title while the Eaton clinched second.
Keller and Eaton met twice this season, both ending 4-3. Junior Hailey Jones hit the walk-off homer in the 8th in their first meeting and then hit the game-winning home run in the 6th in the second meeting.
The two squads have a combined 51-5-1 record and 10 starters either signed or committed to play in college with a number of others playing on select teams.
Keller, which opens with Coppell, could meet district champs Mansfield or Flower Mound in the third round. Eaton, which opens with Hebron, could see Marcus, Guyer or district champ Lake Ridge in the third round.
Will Arlington Heights go back to state?
The Yellow Jackets made history last season when they reached the softball state tournament for the first time, and first for a Fort Worth ISD team since 2004.
Ashleigh Sgambelluri, who is now with A&M Corpus-Christi, graduated last year, taking along her 10 home runs, 50 RBI and 60 runs.
But Heights still has one of the top hitting pitchers in DFW in junior North Texas commit Jalee McDonald. Last year’s district newcomer Jourdan Jacobs along with other all-district selections Stephanie Chico, Ally Arellano and Emily Andress have also made an impact.
The Yellow Jackets (24-7) have won 13-straight games and haven’t lost since March 2. They open with Burleson Centennial.
Last ride for area’s best pitchers
The 2019 class is loaded for softball pitchers especially in the DFW area.
Keller’s Dylann Kaderka is a 2-time state champ and 2-time all-area player of the year. She’s been the everyday starter since she was a sophomore and is 6 wins away from breaking the program’s all-time record.
Eaton has really known only one pitcher in its existence, Abilene Christian signee Maddy Wright. Birdville’s Grace Green, who is signed with Texas, started as a freshman when she pitched the Hawks to the 5A state title. Boswell’s Julie Kennedy, who is signed with A&M Commerce, owns the program record for career homers, wins and strikeouts.
Jaycee Cook (Legacy, Alabama-Birmingham), Karlie Charles (The Colony, Iowa State), Kallie Erwin (LD Bell, Tarleton State), Annie Gunter (Wylie, Incarnate Word), Tatum Boyd (Plano West, Stanford) and Mattison Boyd (Sachse, Oklahoma State) are just six of the many others that will begin one final playoff run.
Will McKinney Boyd’s Kinsey Kackley reach 500 strikeouts?
It comes against district champ Wylie, which is the No. 3 ranked team in the area, but Boyd’s sophomore pitcher needs 43 strikeouts to hit 500 for the season. She’s at 457 in 34 games (13.5 per game).
Kackley struck out 16 during a 1-hit shutout as the Broncos beat Plano East, 6-1 on Monday to clinch the final spot in 9-6A.
Kackley set a program record when she struck out 31 batters in Boyd’s 1-0, 14-inning win over Plano on March 22.
Will Brock make another state run?
The Eagles have been one of the premier 3A teams in the state, having gone to Austin three-straight seasons.
After allowing two unearned runs in the first inning, Lauren Kizer shut out Peaster in the final four innings on April 19 as the Eagles won 13-2 to clinch the district title in 7-3A.
Landry Felts, Jessica Leek, Payton Gasca and Kelsi Tonips were also starters from a year ago.
The Eagles, who open with Bowie, have a 119-17 record over the past four seasons.
Top bi-district games
Marcus vs. Guyer
Duncanville vs. Waxahachie
Sachse vs. Plano
Boswell vs. Ryan
Azle vs. Denton
Lovejoy vs. Reedy
North Forney vs. Red Oak
McKinney North vs. Lone Star