After months of intense competition, the high school sports season has officially concluded with the completion of the UIL State baseball tournament. Five teams from the greater San Antonio area made the journey up to Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin and Dell Diamond in Round Rock with the hopes of claiming state titles.
Three accomplished that goal, while two came up just short.
CLASS 6A SOFTBALL - O’CONNOR PANTHERS
For the first time in program history, O’Connor is home to a UIL State softball champion.
The Panthers completed two furious rallies to claim the Class 6A title. In the state semifinals, O’Connor trailed El Paso Americas 3-0 in the first inning, but outscored the Trailblazers 7-2 over the final six frames. Senior Jada Munoz hit the go-ahead two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth and senior pitcher Sammie Portillo struck out nine batters in a 7-5 victory.
After that dramatic comeback, O’Connor did it again in the Class 6A championship game against Mansfield Lake Ridge. The Panthers once again surrendered three runs in the top of the first, but answered quickly with four straight runs to take a 4-3 lead on senior Leighann Goode’s RBI single in the bottom of the second. After the Eagles retook a 6-4 lead in the top of the fifth, O’Connor needed to piece together three runs to rally. Sophomore Haley Carder cut the deficit in half with a solo shot to left in the bottom of the sixth, then Munoz homered in the same direction to tie the game at six in the bottom of the seventh. Two walks and a single loaded the bases, setting the stage for senior AJ Sanchez to draw the game-winning walk and score fellow senior Ella Gonzales as O’Connor won the game and the championship 7-6. For her late-game heroics, Munoz was named the most valuable player.
CLASS 1A SOFTBALL - D’HANIS COWGIRLS
Three years removed from securing their first UIL State title, the D’Hanis softball team drove to Austin with their sights set on returning to the championship game. The seniors on the roster had been to each of the previous two title games in 2019 and 2021 -- the 2020 tournament was canceled due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic -- and the Cowgirls had come up short of the ultimate prize the prior season in an 8-4 loss to Dodd City.
It was fitting then that D’Hanis faced the Lady Hornets in the Class 1A State semifinals. They would not be denied this time. Senior pitcher Marissa Santos absolutely dominated in the circle, striking out 10 batters and pitching a 3-hit shutout in a 2-0 victory over the defending state champs. Afterwards, the Cowgirls cruised past Hermleigh in the Class 1A championship game 6-2. Santos and junior Jolie Frosch each drove in runs in the bottom of the first to erase a 1-0 deficit, then sophomore Kayla Looper and junior Mabry Herrmann each tallied RBIs in the bottom of the second to provide additional breathing room. Herrmann was named most valuable player, posting three hits, two runs, an RBI and a stolen base.
CLASS 1A BASEBALL - D’HANIS COWBOYS
After the Cowgirls won their first state title since 2019, the Cowboys knew the pressure was on them to do the same exact thing.
D’Hanis returned to the UIL State baseball tournament for the first time since they took home the title at the end of the ‘19 season. That year, they clobbered Dodd City 10-0 in five innings in the semifinals and shut out New Home 4-0 in the championship.
In an eerily similar encore performance, D’Hanis demolished Abbott 16-0 in five innings in the Class 1A State semifinals. The Cowboys poured it on offensively, tallying 16 runs on 15 hits, while junior Daelyn Gonzales pitched a two-hit shutout with sevens strikeouts. Then, D’Hanis squared off against Nazareth in the Class 1A title game.
The Swifts threatened to score first in the bottom of the first inning, but junior outfielder Layton Herrmann completed a remarkable unassisted double play to keep Nazareth off the board and shift momentum in the Cowboys’ favor. Herrmann drove in the first run of the game by drawing a bases-loaded walk in the top of the fourth, then D’Hanis found some much-needed breathing room with a three-run inning in the top of the fifth. Gonzales and sophomore Raine Redden each posted RBI singles in the frame. Meanwhile, senior Ryan Hendry earned most valuable player honors with his stellar performance on the mound, striking out six batters in a three-hit shutout effort. He struck out the final batter of the game, fulfilling a personal dream, as D’Hanis won 4-0.
And now, with both the softball and baseball state champions coming home, D’Hanis is truly celebrating like it’s 2019 all over again.
CLASS 2A BASEBALL - SHINER COMANCHES
Following an undefeated regular season and a perfect run through the playoffs, Shiner entered the Class 2A State championship game with a chance to make history. The Comanches knocked off Garrison 3-0 in the state semifinals and looked primed to finish the job against Valley Mills.
The game certainly started according to plan. Freshman Carson Schuette opened the scoring in the bottom of the second with an RBI groundout to give Shiner a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, the Eagles countered with a three-run inning in the top of the third that proved to be the difference. Shiner’s offense stalled in key situations, as Valley Mills ended their bid for a perfect season with a 4-2 victory. Six seniors bid farewell to the Comanches after leading the program to two straight UIL State tournament appearances.
CLASS 6A BASEBALL - REAGAN RATTLERS
For the fourth time in program history, the Reagan baseball team arrived at the UIL State tournament and promptly cruised through the state semifinals. This year, the Rattlers upended the defending state champions Rockwall Heath 6-0 in their first game thanks to a dominant pitching performance from Pittsburgh commit Aidan Coleman, who struck out five Hawks. Junior Luke Sasser and seniors Teagan Peeples and Cole Tabor all drove in runs with hits in key situations.
Reagan then advanced to face Southlake Carroll in the Class 6A State championship. This marked a rematch of the 2018 title game, which the Rattlers lost 7-2. Senior Britton Moore’s RBI single to left in the top of the second inning powered Reagan to an early 3-0 lead, but the Dragons chipped away and took control, outscoring the Rattlers 7-2 over the final five innings in an eventual 8-5 victory.
Over the next few weeks, the Big Game Coverage Newsletter will spend some time recapping several of the most memorable moments from the Winter and Spring seasons. We’ll also preview the matchups in the upcoming KSAT Pigskin Classic, a showcase of six local high school football teams over three games at the Alamodome on August 27! KSAT 12′s Greg Simmons recently released a preview of the first game featuring Smithson Valley vs. Reagan. Keep your eyes peeled for previews of the other two matchups as we build towards a brand new season.