High School Sports

Fourth time a charm? Brock hopes this trip to Austin will finally result in state title

If you know anything about Brock High School, you know they have a rich tradition in athletics.

The Eagles have won state titles in nearly every sport including football, baseball, boys and girls basketball, volleyball and even girls tennis when Kylee Laverty and Katy Redder won the 3A girls doubles championship on May 18.

This also includes multiple Lone Star Cups.

But how many athletes from Brock can say they’ve gone to the state tournament four times in one sport?

There are at least three.

Seniors Landry Felts, Jessica Leek and Payton Gasca will make their fourth trip to the state tournament on Wednesday when the Eagles (33-6) play Emory Rains (32-1) at the University of Texas.

Brock seniors Payton Gasca, Landry Felts and Jessica Leek have been to the UIL state tournament four times.

Hallettsville (36-1) and Danbury (29-5) play in the first semifinal at 3 p.m. The 3A final is 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Felts, Leek and Gasca are the first softball players to go to state four times. The girls basketball program went six straight from 2009 to 2014, winning five titles in a row.

“It’s honestly a blessing that we’ve been to state four times in a row because not many teams can say that,” said Leek, Brock’s starting first baseman.

However, the Eagles are looking for a different outcome this time. They’re looking to win a state title.

Brock has lost in the semifinals each of the last three seasons (5-2, 8-2 and 5-0).

It’s also the 10-year anniversary of the softball program winning its only state title in 2009.

“Having Jess and Landry by my side as we’ve made it to state every year of high school just makes it that much better. The intensity and love for the game we all have is amazing,” said Gasca, Brock’s starting shortstop. “Although in the past, we haven’t finished where we wanted, it was still a blessing to get to experience the atmosphere. To get another chance our senior year to break the curse is exactly what we wanted since the very first day of practice.”

The Eagles are coming off a 2-1 series win over Bushland in the 3A Region I final at Iowa Park. After dropping Game 1, 7-4, Brock won a doubleheader on Saturday, 8-1 and 9-3, to advance.

Leek went 2 for 4 with an RBI and two runs in Game 2. Felts and Gasca each had a hit and run in Game 3.

Brock has won 128 games in the past four years.

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Brock softball during its state send off, Tuesday May 28, 2019 Kris Kizer Courtesy

“It’s a pretty amazing accomplishment. I know that we’re happy to say that we’ve been to four straight state tournaments, but we want nothing more than to win the first game and advance to the final,” said Felts, the starting center fielder. “I love the team we play with because we’re close and have that forever team bond that no one could possibly break.

“We know that no matter how each other does in the game that we will always pick each other up when we’re down. I know that this team wants nothing more than a state title.”

Jenna Lindberg and Brianna Correa are also seniors while the Eagles are getting contributions across the lineup.

Juniors Lauren Kizer and Kelsi Tonips held Bushland to four runs on Saturday. The Falcons were averaging 16.2 runs per game throughout the playoffs. Hailey Blankenship, Maddie Bramblett, Claire Duvall and Maddie Murley also make up the starting lineup.

“Going three times and not making it to the state final is something we’ve worked to get past every day this year,” Leek said. “The goal each year is to win your last game and win it all, and that’s our plan.”

“The team works so incredibly hard to get to where we are and we aren’t done yet,” Gasca added. “We’re coming for the gold.”

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