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By Brennan Riker
Special to The Post Dispatch
AUSTIN, TX – The Borden County Lady Coyotes (14-4) saw their season end as they lost to the D’Hanis Cowgirls (18-7-1) in the State Semifinal round of the UIL Class 1A State Softball Tournament, 4-1 on Tuesday. June 1.
D’Hanis advanced to their second straight State Championship appearance, as they looked to duplicate the results from two years ago where the Cowgirls had won the 2019 1A State Championship. This was both teams’ third straight appearance in the State Tournament dating back to 2018 (The 2020 State Tournament was canceled due to the pandemic). Entering Tuesday, Borden County was 0-2 overall in the State Tournament.
The Lady Coyotes struck first in the top of the first inning as D’Hanis catcher Kayla Looper tried to pick off Callie Edwards who was trying to steal third. Looper threw the ball over the head of the third baseman and out of the playing field, advancing Edwards home.
Borden County freshman pitcher Rexie Sanders found herself in a pickle in the top of the second inning as the bases were loaded with only one out. Sanders retired back-to-back hitters to get out of the inning courtesy of a strikeout and a flyout. The D’Hanis offense again put Sanders in a bind in the third inning, this time capitalizing with three straight hits to start the frame. Overall, in the third inning, the Cowgirls scored three runs, two from RBI hits and one from a RBI sac-fly to left field.
After the first inning, the Lady Coyotes offense failed to produce runs as their offense struggled throughout the game. The Lady Coyotes only had three hits and in total left five runners stranded. D’Hanis tacked on another run in the 6th inning off of an error to cushion their lead.
D’Hanis pitcher Marissa Santos earned the win as she did not allow a hit until the fourth inning. Santos allowed a total of three hits and struck out seven batters in seven innings of work. Sanders overall struck out ten batters and only walked three batters, with two of those walks being intentional. Sanders finishes the year with an impressive 9-3 record as a pitcher.
“We didn’t have a great week of practice and I truly believe that plays a part into how things turn out,” Borden County Head Softball Coach Rusty Rainbolt said. “D’Hanis has a very good team and is very well coached. I’d like to see how we compete against them on a day when they actually saw our best, but that’s part of competition.”
Rainbolt said even though the game was not the Lady Coyotes’ best performance, he is still proud of his team and how the season went.
“I was proud of the girls all season long,” he said. “They were a fun group to coach. It will be very difficult to replace the two special seniors from this year’s team. Haddie [Flanigan] and Maggie [Miller] are as high-quality young women as are out there right now. I know they have bright futures ahead.”
D’Hanis lost to Dodd City in the State Championship Wednesday afternoon 8-4 to end their bid for back-to-back titles.