By Kelly Nicol
LATEXO – The Latexo Junior High softball season came to end this past Tuesday night in Lufkin. The Lady Tigers have played in the Lufkin Parks and Recreation Junior High Softball League for the past three years and this year was special, to say the least.
The Messenger has been following these girls for a while now and they seem to just get better and better. Many who follow softball might know these girls through their affiliations with their Crockett Merchant Softball League teams – the Fireballs and the Outlawz. These diamond damsels (along with some great additions) are now playing for the Latexo Tigers’ Junior High.
Building on the success of a State Championship win by the Fireballs, as well as a deep playoff run by the Outlawz, Head Coach Lloyd Cain was able to take these girls and compete with some of the best softball programs in East Texas.
The Lady Tigers shut down opponents one after the other all year long. Starting off the season, they handed the Lufkin JH Lady Panthers (one of the largest junior highs in the state of Texas) a loss. This was a huge boost to go in and beat a class 6A school.
The momentum built as the girls stayed red hot. The Lady Tigers beat Class 4A Hudson which has captured two state championships in the past five years on their own turf field as well as in the park in Lufkin. Class 3A Central fell to the Lady Tigers as well. Not many knew who, or even where, Latexo was. By the end of the season, however, they all knew for sure they were tired of getting beat by the junior high Lady Tigers.
The final game, fittingly, was played by the only two undefeated teams in the league – Latexo and Woden. It was unlike other trips to Lufkin as the weather was less than ideal causing the girls to seem a little off.
As the final seconds ticked off the clock, the Lady Tigers were down 4-3. With two outs and a runner in scoring position, the nine-hole hitter, #25 Cammy Parrish stepped into the box. With a perfect season on the line Cammy belted a ball deep into the night, over the right-fielder’s head.
The runner on second scored to tie the game and Cammy rounded third as the throw came in seemingly on time. The catcher was unable to control the ball as Parrish jumped over the catcher and landed on home plate for the walk-off inside the park home run to win the game 5-4, putting a cherry on top of a perfect season.
All the girls played great throughout the season. Katy Allen, Lauren Woodard, and Charlee Biano were dominant on the mound and were – for the most part – unhittable with Baylee Omelina commanding the field as catcher.
The infield was almost flawless with great play by Malley Moore, Marissa Allison and Taylor Dise. The outfield of Sydney Furrh, Cammy Parrish, Natalie Nicol and Harli Hoch played lock down defense in the field as everyone contributed at the plate.
These girls have a lot of softball ahead of them and it will fun to watch. The Messenger will definitely be following the whole way and looks forward to reporting on these fine young ladies as they compete at the highest level over the next several years.