The Huffman Lady Falcons did what no other team in the history of Texas softball has ever done at the state tournament. Not only did they defeat Needville 6-4 for their first state softball title but they did it in come from behind fashion. No team had ever come back from allowing the first run to win in the title game. Coming from behind is something the Lady Falcons have excelled at and Saturday morning they did it one more time in 2015.
The Lady Falcons (30-5) spotted the Lady Jays a four run lead before exploding offensively in a five run fifth. Huffman starter Savanna Cates had a rough go from the circle to start the game. Two walks and an infield single loaded the bases for Needville in the first. One out later, Cates hit Kaeda Fiebrich to push across the game’s first run. A throwing error by Cates and a bases loaded walk made it 3-0 in favor of the Lady Jays.
The Lady Jays touched up Cates for another run in the second and a 4-0 lead before Huffman turned to Megan Unroe in the second with Needville threatening for more.
“Our pitchers all have different strengths and anyone of them could have stepped in the circle today,” said a jubilant Huffman head coach Latonya Dorsey. “I had no concerns about putting her (Unroe) in. We made the moves that were best for our team.”
Devyn Yanello’s sacrifice fly in the home half of the second put Huffman on the comeback trail.
And come back they did. After managing just one run off of Needville starter Victoria Moreno, through the first four innings, the Lady Falcons exploded for five in the fifth. Madi O’Neal and Demi Janak drew back to back one out walks in the bottom half of the fifth. Senior Loren Dempsey’s followed with a line drive two run double to left field cutting the deficit to one. Out went Moreno and in came reliever Micayla Orsak but nothing could stop Huffman’s date with destiny.
Maggie McCloskey put the Lady Falcons ahead 5-4 ripping a 1-2 pitch into centerfield bringing home courtesy Cameron Taylor and Kylie George. McCloskey would score an insurance run on a fielder’s choice off Yanello’s bat to make it 6-4. It was also McCloskey who scored Huffman’s first run in the bottom of the second.
“Our girls have been relentless all season,” continued Dorsey. “We just find ways to come back. We were dubbed by some as the “Cardiac Kids.” This team believes in each other and they knew they could get it done and they did.”
Meanwhile Unroe was shutting down the Lady Jays. The right-hander scattered five hits over the final six innings striking out eight along the way.
Huffman’s 3-4-5 hitters (Dempsey, George, McCloskey) went 4 of 9 in the title game with four rbi’s and three runs scored.
Athletic Director Mike McEachern said last year’s team gained a huge amount of experience when they made their first run to the state tournament before bowing out in the semifinals.
“Last year we gained a so much experience getting here,” said McEachern. “And this year’s team used that experience to bring home the title.”
Huffman needed every bit of that experience along to the way to the school’s first ever state title. The Lady Falcons came from behind winning the final two of the best of three against Carthage to earn a berth opposite last year’s state champion LaGrange in the regional finals. A year earlier, LaGrange had knocked Huffman out in the state semifinals. Cates and the Lady Falcons returned the favor this season handing La Grange its only losses of the season including a gritty 11 inning affair just a week ago. The senior then pitched Huffman to the title game on Thursday with a seven inning shutout performance against Snyder.
“These girls have been through a lot of trials this season,” concluded Dorsey reflecting on a season that ended with a state title. “Their heart is so big and they are so selfless. They want to win for themselves but they want to win even more for their teammates.”
And that is how history is made.
Written By: Lou Roesch