Rouse and Vista Ridge kick off the playoffs this weekend. The Lady Raiders were co-district champions in District 19-5A while the Lady Rangers finished in third place in District 25-6A.
“It’s been a rollercoaster of a season,” Vista Ridge senior Nicole Nickdow said. “The way we started the season the where we are now, it’s been a crazy year. The way we battle gives us a lot of momentum going into playoffs.”
Vista Ridge will begin its playoff run at home on Thursday at 7 p.m. against San Antonio MacArthur. Game 2 will be Saturday at 7 p.m at the NEISD softball complex in San Antonio. If necessary, Game 3 will take place Saturday at 2 p.m. at Cibolo Steele High School.
Rouse’s playoff scenario is a bit more complicated. There was a three-way tie for first place in District 20-5A and Brenham, Magnolia West, and Willis have to play a three-team tournament to determine the seeds. The Lady Raiders will play the No. 2 seed with the time and place yet to be determined as of Monday night.
Vista Ridge had to fight back in the latter innings a few times this season, including in the regular season finale Friday night at home against Westlake. Christian Chapa hit a three-run home run in the fifth to tie the game and Maya Benaloga blasted a three-run bomb to cap off an eight-run sixth inning.
“Trying to rally can be a detriment at any time,” Vista Ridge head coach Lauren Myrick said. “We’ll work on that this week and try to come out hard instead of trying to catch up. They’ve felt the pressure and using that, we’ll take it as just another game.”
Rouse used its high-powered offense to run through district play with just two losses. The Lady Raiders scored 254 total runs in the regular season, 66 more than the next closest district competitor.
“Confidence going into the playoffs is good,” Rouse head coach Lacey Blissit said. “The girls have had a good season and we’ve faced some good competition and proven ourselves. We kind of see the playoffs as a clean slate.”
They’ve played two of their three possible opponents earlier in the season. Rouse dominated Magnolia West 10-0 and beat Willis 4-3 during tournament play in late February.
The Lady Raiders have a whopping 39 home runs on the season led by Boo Boo Vannoy with 14 and Tevanne Tate with 11. In 96.1 innings of work from the pitching circle, Chelsea Ham is 15-3 with a 2.39 ERA.
Rouse’s first loss came away to co-district champs Elgin. The Lady Raiders ended the regular season on a sour note as they fell 4-3 on the road against Bastrop on Friday to fall into a tie for the district championship.
“It was definitely a tough pill to swallow,” Blissit said. “It’s important for the girls to keep it in perspective. It’s a new season now. It was tough, but I know the kids learn from things like that and it’ll make us stronger for playoffs.”