The playoffs didn’t go as expected for the Rouse and Vista Ridge softball teams.
Both teams were bounced in the first round last weekend with the Lady Raiders dropping the first two of their three-game series to Brenham and the Lady Rangers falling in back-to-back games against San Antonio MacArthur.
“It didn’t go our way,” Rouse head coach Lacey Blissit said. “They earned the wins. We’ve got some things we’re going through and some adversity as far as injuries go, but that’s not an excuse.”
Rouse dropped the first game against Brenham 10-0 in five innings on Friday night. They then fell 16-2 against the Cubettes on Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t the first time the two teams met this season, though Rouse won the first meeting 4-3 in tournament play back in February.
“Going in we knew what to expect,” Blissit said. “They pitched the same girl that we beat earlier in the year, but for whatever reason, we didn't make the adjustments we needed to on her.”
Even with the early exit, this was a historic season for the Lady Raiders, as they won a share of the district title for the first time in school history and lost just two district games along the way. Rouse had the most runs of any team in District 19-5A, scoring 250 runs overall and 175 in district play.
The team was forced to shuffle the lineup constantly due to injuries. The team still fought through that adversity and delivered the wins. The Lady Raiders also hit a record 39 home runs this year. Boo Boo Vannoy had 14 long balls with 44 RBIs and Tevanae Tate was second with 11 homers and 40 RBIs and both had batting averages above .500.
Chelsea Ham led the pitching staff, throwing 103.2 innings and finished 16-4 with 80 strikeouts and a 3.44 ERA. Lexi Shafer finished 6-2 with 43 strikeouts and a 3.46 ERA in her senior year for the Lady Raiders.
“Playoffs didn’t go the way we wanted to, but I’m really proud of them,” Blissit said. “This particular group really made a mark in the history of Rouse softball because of their performance all year. They have a lot to be proud of.”
Rouse loses a wealth of talent including Tate, Ham, and Shafer, but brings back Vannoy, Yvonne Castillo (37 runs, 12 RBIs, .360 average), and Monica Casteneda (13 runs, 14 RBIs, .328 average).
“We’re trying to make sure we keep where we finished in perspective,” Blissit said. “This team made history with the district championship and they earned it. We’re losing a big senior class but next year we’re going to fight.”
Vista Ridge also dropped two straight games in their return to the playoffs. The Lady Rangers lost 18-8 in five innings to San Antonio MacArthur on Friday night before going to San Antonio and losing 7-4.
In the first game, Vista Ridge allowed two home runs in the first inning but fought back to tie the game at four runs each. The Brahmas continued to score and the Lady Rangers just couldn’t answer.
The Lady Rangers took an early lead in San Antonio on Saturday but gave up two runs in the second and two more in the fourth. They tied the game with four runs in the fifth, but three runs by MacArthur in the final two innings ended Vista Ridge’s season.
“They’re a good hitting team,” Vista Ridge head coach Lauren Myrick said. “We didn’t play solidly on defense and we’ve got to play better on defense to help our pitchers out a little bit. You can’t give these hitters extra pitches and extra at-bats and you’ve got to take care of the ball defensively.”