The Drive for Five is rolling right along for the Shamrocks of Incarnate Word High School. The softball team is closing in on its fifth straight TAPPS Division 1 state championship and 10th state title in program history.
Incarnate Word faces Houston St. Agnes in the state semifinals at 6:30 p.m. today at Crosby High School, near Houston.
"St. Agnes is probably the favorite going into this weekend," Shamrocks head coach Paul Greco said. "Their pitching staff hasn't given up a run so far in the playoffs, so that's going to be a heavy load for us to go in there and try to get a win."
The four-time defending state champion Shamrocks are not used to being the underdogs, but this group of young ladies is loose and confident and feels it can overcome anything on the field.
"We have the best team and no matter what we do, as long as we work as a team, I know we can do whatever is possible," sophomore Morgan Gutierrez said.
The Shamrocks advanced to the state tournament for the eighth straight season and are looking to give some 12th graders an awesome graduation gift.
"We have two seniors who have the opportunity to get their fourth ring and that's going to be really special," Greco said. "Last year's class was able to get four rings and I know those two really want it bad."
Incarnate Word softball is one of the best in Texas, regardless of classification, and for good reason. Each season, they schedule tough teams to prepare for state competition. They've posted wins in game against private schools and many top-ranked teams in the city and state. Their wonderful season is about to come to an end, which is always bittersweet for the outgoing class.
"It's definitely emotional because we've been practicing for a long time," senior outfielder Sofia Herrera said. "Closer and closer, the hours are going down, and I'm realizing it's going to be my final hours on that field. Whether we end on Friday or Saturday, it's a good rush feeling."
The winner of Incarnate Word-St. Agnes will play Dallas Bishop Lynch or Fort Worth Nolan in the state final at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
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