CCS Warriors Ride Emotional Roller Coaster to State Softball Title
The Warriors softball team, after a divine twist of fortune, are TAPPS State Champions for the first time in school history!
CCS defeated Corpus Christi Incarnate Word 8-6 in the semifinals Friday to advance to the Division III title game against Bullard Brook Hill. The Warriors knocked off the Guard 5-1 in the championship game at Allan Saxe Field on the UT-Arlington campus on Saturday. The softball team’s first TAPPS championship would never have happened without divine intervention.
On Tuesday, the Warriors season, by all accounts, was dead and buried after their loss to Holy Cross-San Antonio, the two-time defending state champs, in the TAPPS Regionals. But their hopes were resurrected when Holy Cross was disqualified for using an ineligible player this season.
CCS Head Coach Jessi Harvey received the call on Thursday morning, the day before the state tournament was going to begin. “Things like this just don’t happen,” said Coach Harvey. “Going from being heartbroken Tuesday night, arranging uniform turn-in times on Wednesday, and then telling the girls they had at least one more day of softball on Thursday...it was an indescribable emotion of joy.”
Given new life, the Warriors rolled into Arlington relaxed and ready to capitalize on their second chance. “Since no one expected us to be there,” the Warriors first-year head coach added, “we told the girls that they were playing with ‘house money.’ And after explaining what that meant, I think it took the pressure off of them to just go out and play their best games ever....which they did!”
The girls jumped out of the gate with a three-run first inning against Corpus Christi Incarnate Word, sparked by Chloe Roberson’s two-run double. The senior catcher knocked in two more runs in the fourth inning to give CCS a 6-0 lead.
The Warriors backed starting pitcher Audrey Petrowski with outstanding plays in the field, including a rare 1-2-3-2 double play with two runners thrown out at the plate on the same play. Junior Sarah Olenick also played outstanding defense with several highlight reel plays to back her friend and teammate’s clutch pitching.
Incarnate Word wouldn’t give up easily though. The Lady Angels rallied with three runs in the sixth inning and two more in the bottom of the seventh to cut the lead to two runs. But junior Macie Dammeyer retired the last three batters in order to clinch CCS’ first ever appearance in the TAPPS softball championship game. Their opponent was Bullard Brook Hill, 22-3 coming into the title game.
The Lady Guard drew first blood with a solo homerun in the top of the first by star pitcher Karmen Miller. CCS answered right back in their first at-bat thanks to a two-run blast by senior third baseman Lucy Davis, her 10th homerun of the season.
The Columbia blue-clad Warriors padded their lead on a line drive by Olenick in the third inning that shot past the Brook Hill left fielder to the fence, allowing Olenick to race around the bases to make it 3-1. Two more runs would cross the plate in the fourth as a throwing error allowed freshman Corinne Keim and sophomore Kennedy Schwartz to scamper across home plate and give the Warriors a 5-1 lead.
From there, starting pitcher Audrey Petrowski took over, holding Brook Hill to just one hit over the final three frames. Outstanding plays by Davis, Olenick and Dammeyer backed Petrowski’s gritty effort in the pitching circle. And Petrowski struck out the final batter to close out the complete game pitching performance as her teammates swarmed to the middle of the field to celebrate the championship.
“I was in tears calling the pitches for that last batter. It all just kind of hit me in that moment that these girls had done it,” said Harvey after the emotional celebration. “They didn't back down, they didn't let the naysayers get in their heads. They went out and gave everything they had just like they'd done day in and day out this season.”
Chloe Roberson, Lucy Davis, Sarah Olenick and Audrey Petrowski were named to the TAPPS All-Tournament team for their outstanding play in the two games. Overall, CCS finished the historic season with a 20-3 record and the school’s first ever state championship in softball.
“God's favor was definitely upon us as our girls got the timely hits and made outstanding defensive plays that stopped the other teams' momentum,” said Coach Harvey, “This team is so special. They are so deserving of this, and I couldn't have asked for a better group of girls to work with.”
Houston Chronicle Article - TAPPS state roundup: Cypress Christian wins baseball, softball titles (houstonchronicle.com)