LEANDER – With the weather forcing a change of location from Austin to Leander, Judson softball didn’t miss a beat.
In the program’s first appearance in the UIL State tournament, the Rockets jumped out to a 3-run lead in the bottom of the first inning, and senior Lauryn Ramos added a two-run home run in the sixth en route to a 6-2 victory over Rockwall in the Class 6A semifinals on Friday.
“We were ready to go,” junior pitcher Emily Ayala said. “We knew the rain could delay us, we knew we could have been playing at [the University of Texas]. We just had the mindset that we were ready to play anywhere.”
After a 1-2-3 top of the first, the Rockets got to work at the plate in the bottom half of the inning. With two on, Mimi Thornton laid down a bunt and an errant throw to first base allowed Keely Williams to score the game’s first run. Ramos drove in Destiny Rodriguez with a sac fly in the very next at bat, and Queenandra Dunn plated Thornton on an RBI single up the middle, as the Rockets roared out to a 3-0 lead.
“We were all so excited to get going,” junior Mimi Thornton said. “We know we can do it, so let’s go do it. Just bust it open.”
Rockwall cut into that lead with an RBI single in the top of the third, but both teams settled in defensively over the next four innings. Leading 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth, Judson finally added some insurance with an RBI single from Thornton. Then, Ramos stepped to the plate and unloaded on the third pitch she saw. As her 2-run bomb dropped over the fence in left center, the Rockets knew the win was theirs.
All smiles after @rocketball_JHS punched their tickets to the #UILState Class 6A championship game! @Laurynr4 delivered a two-run homer in the bottom of the 6th, @mimithornton16 added a pair of RBIs and @emily_ayala13 dominated in the circle #KSATsports @JudsonAthletics pic.twitter.com/TuQQ0tPupW— Andrew Cely (@ACelySports) June 5, 2021
“We had been waiting for it, and it just happened all of a sudden,” Ramos said. “That’s what we do. We got it done.”
“We just don’t want it to end,” head coach Theresa Urbanovsky said. “I told them to play, have fun and leave everything on the field. They’ve been doing that the entire season. You can see the heart and pulse of our team every time they go out there, and that’s what we do.”
Judson will now face either Flower Mound or Deer Park in the UIL Class 6A state championship game on Saturday. First pitch at Red & Charline McCombs Field is set for 5 p.m.