Softball Fires Up Fans to the Finals

Softball entered the SPC tournament as the number two seed of the South Zone.  Their season motto "our offense if going to win a championship," took the Mavericks to the brink of a title, losing by one run to EHS. The road to get there was something to behold by the numbers, and most importantly the Mavericks were a hit with their fans.  
St. John’s faced St. Andrew’s School of Austin in the second round of the SPC Championships.  The Mavericks (S2) drew the Crusaders (S6), who defeated All Saints 6-5 in the first round.  On April 18th St. John’s defeated St. Andrew’s 8-1 at home, but through three and a half innings in the SPC playoff counter at Trinity Valley both teams could not muster a run.  It looked like the eight run output from the earlier regular season game was a distant Maverick memory of offensive prowess until Alex Jones ’17 led off the bottom of the fourth with a triple, one of three that would fill the score book by the end of the game.   Jones’ hit ignited an eight run, seven hit barrage as the Mavericks batted around with 12 appearances at the plate.  After Jones Julia Waller ’18 walked on the next at bat and stole second.  While Waller was in the run-down between first and second, Jones scored the first run for the Mavericks.   Waller crossed the plate on Elysa Tulek’s ’17 double to make it 3-0 St. John’s.   Alyssa Barrett ’17, who went the distance from the circle with no runs, three hits, five K’s, and one walked batter, popped out to score Tulek.  Brooke Upchurch ’15 followed with a triple and Rebecca Reza ’15 batted her in with a single.   Jessica Vlasek ’16 ripped a home run for two more rbi’s. followed by a Laurel McKelvey’18 single, a Jones’ walk/steal, and a Waller triple ended the inning with eight runs.  St. John’s put up two doubles and a single in the fifth to put two more on the board and seal the victory by the 10 run rule. 

By the numbers in the 4th inning alone of the first game St. John's Softball advanced to the semi-finals with a barrage of bats and gem of a game by their starting pitcher: 8 runs, 7 hits, 1 home run, 3 triples, 1 double, 2 singes, 2 walks, 12 Mavericks went to the plate.  Final score 10-0.  

"I think it really showed how well we play and come together as a team," said Rebecca Reza '15.

"We were mad and we said 'this is it, this is our inning' and it was our time," said Brooke Upchurch '15.

"It was a team effort in the fourth inning," said Head Coach Isis Barron-Hutchinson.  "That is the team we saw when we played in Disney over spring break. I knew we had it and when we busted it open with those triples.  Moving forward our momentum needs to roll into the next game to take advantage of our offensive strengths.

Roll it did an inning earlier against Kinkaid as the Mavericks put up four runs on four hits in the top of the third, and added three more in the fifth for a 7-0 win.  The defense and pitching matched the bats just like in game one. Game 2 against Kinkaid was almost a rerun as the Mavericks erupted for runs in two innings and kept their opponent away from home plate with outstanding pitching and defense. Final score: 7-0. 

Against Kinkaid AB Pacha '16 found herself in a quandary with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the first.  Three outs later, Kinkaid could not get a runner home.  Brooks went on to retire 21 out of the 23 next batters including 15 in a row.  She had 15 K's, gave up 1 hit, and added to the Maverick offensive bursts with key at bats.

"The team unity is our secret ingredient and our motto is 'our offense is going to win a championship,' said Isis.

Like clockwork the Mavericks busted out the bats in two innings (3rd, 5th) in the final.  Alyssa Barrett led off both of those innings with singles.  She scored in the 5th and Rebecca Reza added the other two runs in each of those innings.  Jessica Valsek accounted for a double as the Mavericks ended up with six total hits on the day.  AB Pacha recorded 8 K's in 6 innings from the circle.  
Midway through the fifth inning the Girls' Lacrosse team rolled into FWCD to match the cowbells and cheers from the rest of the Maverick fan base including the baseball team.  As the Mavericks put up their third run by a hit from Tanvi Varadhachary '15 the crowd went wild. 

"Look at the way that team carries themselves," said baseball coach Alan Paul.  "They have the swagger.  You can see it the way they hold themselves."

Win or lose the Maverick Softball team gave their fans something to talk about this weekend.  Their inspirational innings of offense, terrific defense and pitching, and team unity will be remembed along with the sound of ringing cowbells echoing their season to the championship.

Sam Chambers - Athletic News