On Friday in the state semifinals, Keller scored three runs in the first inning before Humble Atascocita came back to force extra innings.
Saturday had the same start but a far different outcome.
Shelby Henderson slugged a two-run home run in a three-run first inning and Kaylee Rogers threw a four-hit shutout as Keller (32-7) dominated Pearland 5-0 to win the Class 6A state softball title at McCombs Field at the University of Texas.
“It’s a great way to end your last high school game ever,” said Henderson, who hit her fourth home run of the season. “Definitely ending my last game with a home run — it felt amazing.”
It’s the program’s third state title, first since 2005. Keller ties Pasadena Dobie for the most UIL softball titles in the largest classification.
“I was hoping Shelby would time one up and sure enough she did, and she’s been a clutch hitter all year long,” Keller coach Bryan Poehler said. “Kaylee did a fantastic job all the way through playoffs, maintaining composure and out there executing pitches. I couldn’t be more proud of that girl.”
Rogers (29-5) closed out her career with five strikeouts in the complete game and was named title game MVP.
Pearland (32-7) left five runners on base and three in scoring position, including one in the final inning.
“Makes me feel better,” Rogers said about the early runs. “Getting the runs early and keeping on them was nice.”
“Kaylee said before the game, ‘If you guys can go get me a bunch of runs up front, that’d be great’ and as visitors the thing we wanted to do was jump on them early, put the pressure on them and just hang on,” Poehler added.
Camryn Woodall started the scoring with an RBI triple that was just out of the reach of Pearland’s center fielder. Kourtney Williams scored from first to go up 1-0. Henderson’s home run was followed by a 39-minute lightning delay before resuming.
In the second inning, Amanda Desario gave Keller its fourth run with an RBI single to score Kennedy Legg from second base.
The Indians went up 5-0 in the fourth inning when Hanna Jones scored on an RBI single to left field from Mikayla McClasky.