If the Keller Indians didn’t prove they were one of the best teams in Texas high school softball history last season with a third UIL state title – a second-straight should do it.
Keller started fast and made good use of three early Austin Bowie errors – despite two lightning delays – to win the Class 6A state title, 5-1 on Saturday at McCombs Field.
“We wanted to come out and score early and put all the pressure on them,” Keller coach Bryan Poehler said.
The Indians (35-6) win their fourth title, moving them into a tie for third all-time with Smithson Valley – and breaking a tie with Pasadena Dobie for most in the largest classification.
“Wow, what a deal,” Poehler said. “We wanted to be visitors and we wanted to be in the first-base dugout. Keller has won four state titles and all of them have been from the first-base dugout.”
Amanda Desario led off the Indians the first inning with a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a throw that got into right center.
Caraline Woodall followed with another walk and got into a rundown at second to allow Desario to score. Brooke Davis stole second and another errant throw sent Kasey Simpson home for a 2-0 lead.
The Indians got the bases loaded in the second with a one-out single from Courtney Cagle, hit by pitch from Desario and Caraline Woodall got on with a catcher’s interference.
Senior Camryn Woodall, who will play at Utah in the fall, turned a 3-1 pitch into a two-run double to center to extend the Keller lead to 4-0.
“I knew I wanted to help my team win in any way, whether it be a sacrifice bunt or a hit up the middle, anything I could do to help them,” Woodall said.
Woodall went 2 of 4 with a double and RBIs, and was voted MVP.
“It feels amazing,” Woodall said. “I won’t get this smile off my face until two weeks, probably.”
“Great thing for her, being her senior year and having a big game – huge double there at the beginning of the game to score two runs and she’s been a really clutch player for us in the playoffs every year,” Poehler added. “It’s been great having her around and I’m definitely going to miss her.”
Keller made it 5-0 in the third inning when Davis sent one to right field, but Bowie couldn’t field it cleanly which allowed Davis to come around and score.
Bowie (31-5) started the bottom of the third with back-to-back singles, and three batters later, starting pitcher Alexandra McLennan made it 5-1 with an RBI single to right center.
Before one pitch was thrown in the bottom of the fifth, the umpires got together with the coaches and Susan Elza – UIL Director of Athletics – and went into a lightning delay. It started from 8:05 p.m. to 9:40 p.m. The teams got through the bottom of the fifth and top of the sixth before another delay at 9:55 p.m. Play resumed again at 11:27 p.m.
It was déjà vu for the Indians, who had a 39-minute delay in last year’s final.
“After the second delay, I knew I had to just shut them down and that’s what we did,” Keller sophomore pitcher Dylann Kaderka said. “Our strategy is to win each inning.”
McLennan (22-4) gave up five hits with three earned runs and four strikeouts for Bowie.
Kaderka (30-5) allowed six hits and struck out five for Keller.
“It’s unbelievable thinking that Keller High School has won two-straight state titles, and I was pitching in one of them,” Kaderka said.