Emily Powell, Birdville’s No. 9 hitter, entered the state tournament with eight RBIs this season.
In a tie game on Saturday, the junior delivered the biggest hit of her career.
Tied 7-7 in the top of the seventh, Powell drilled a shot off the left-field wall for the go-ahead RBI, sending Birdville past Gregory-Portland 8-7 in the Class 5A state softball final at McCombs Field at the University of Texas.
“It felt great and felt solid,” Powell said. “We have fought long and hard. We’re a family and it feels great to experience this with your family.”
“It’s the most unbelievable feeling I’ve ever had,” Birdville coach John Love added. “Just happy for our kids — they worked their butts off and did a great job.”
Trailing 4-0 in the third, Birdville (30-10) cut the deficit in half when Calie Burris drove in McKenna Moore with a groundout to second base and Grace Green followed with an RBI single to center that brought in Elena Garcia.
“It’s absolutely insane,” Moore, a senior, said. “It’s the cherry on top, and we deserved it as a team.”
The rally continued in the fourth after the Hawks scored four times on four hits. Moore tied it 4-4 with a groundout RBI and Garcia gave Birdville the lead with a double to right center. Burris made it 6-4 with a single past the pitcher.
But Birdville hit trouble in the bottom of the fifth. The Wildcats (32-4) scored three times without a hit. With the bases loaded, a wild pitch made it 6-5 and an error tied it at 6-6. A second error gave Gregory-Portland a 7-6 lead.
That didn’t last long as Garcia tied it 7-7 with a solo shot to deep left in the top of the sixth.
It’s Birdville’s first state softball title in its first state appearance.
“We kept pushing because this is for us, just stayed with our tempo and it worked,” said Garcia, who finished 3 of 3 with a home run, two doubles and two RBIs, and was named title game MVP.
Cassandra Roche led off the bottom of the first with a single up the middle for Gregory-Portland. With two outs and two runners on, the Wildcats went up 3-0 with a three-run shot to left from Skylar Ouellette.