Last year five of the seven Mission, Sharyland and La Joya schools’ softball teams, the Big 7, extended their seasons into the post season. With only three of the seven qualifying for the state playoffs this year, the Big 7 may not have the quantity of teams in the playoffs, but it certainly has the quality. That’s because unlike last year, when only one of the five playoff teams was a district champion, this year all three teams representing the Big 7 in the playoffs are district champions; one outright and two co-champions. And with one of those three teams having gone undefeated, there’s no telling how deep into the playoffs one or more of those teams may go.
With the bi-district round of the UIL state playoffs being played this weekend, let’s take a look at the three Big 7 teams that earned the right to play-on when so many other teams are already looking forward to next year.
La Joya Lady Coyotes
Having won the District 30-6A title by four games, the 12-0 Lady Coyotes made quick work of all their district rivals. So much so that they had the championship all locked up while the three McAllen teams were left battling it out for second, third and fourth place.
Just how dominant were the Lady Coyotes this season? The fact that Coach Charlie Rodriguez’s squad outscored their district opponents by an almost unbelievable combined score of 136-24 should give you a pretty good idea. The fact that the majority of their games only went five innings, due to the fact that the Lady Coyotes had a 10-run or greater lead after five and the so-called mercy rule was invoked, makes the fact that they averaged over 11 runs a game all that more impressive.
As the top seed in the district, the Lady Coyotes will be going up against District 29-6A’s fourth seed, the 9-5 Laredo Alexander Lady Bulldogs in a bi-district round best-of-three series. Game one of this series is scheduled to be played tonight at 7 at the La Joya softball complex. Game two is scheduled to be played tomorrow afternoon at 5 at Laredo Alexander. Should a game three be necessary, it is scheduled to be played 30 minutes after the completion of game two, also at Alexander. The winner of this series will face the winner of the Weslaco High vs Edinburg Vela best-of-three series in the Area round of the state playoffs next weekend.
What a difference a year makes. Last year the 10-6 Mission Veterans Lady Patriots struggled just to qualify for the playoffs. They beat out the Roma Lady Gladiators by one game to claim the fourth and final playoff spot in the district. And of their six losses, two came at the hands of the Pioneer Lady Diamondbacks by a combined score of 26-5.
This year the 13-3 Lady Patriots are District 31-5A co-champions. While they are sharing the title with the Lady Diamondbacks, they took both games against last year’s undefeated district champs making the Lady Patriots the district’s top seed in the playoffs. As a result, they will be facing off against District 32-5A’s fourth seed, the 8-6 Brownsville Lopez Lady Lobos in the bi-district round of the state playoffs this weekend. Lopez is the team that defeated Pioneer in the bi-district round of the playoffs last year.
Game one of the best-of-three series between the Lady Patriots and the Lady Lobos was played last night at Lopez High School. Game two is scheduled to be played tonight at 7 at Mission Veterans. If necessary, game three is scheduled to be played tomorrow afternoon at 5 at Brownsville Lopez. The winner of this series will be going up against the winner of the Corpus Christi Carroll vs Eagle Pass Winn best-of-three series in the Area round of the state playoffs next weekend.
Pioneer Lady Diamondbacks
For the fourth year in a row, the Pioneer Lady Diamondbacks are in the state playoffs. And for the third year in a row, they are entering post-season play as champions. However, as a result of their two losses to the Mission Veterans Lady Patriots, the team Pioneer is sharing the District 31-5A championship with, the 13-3 Lady Diamondbacks are not the top seed in the playoffs this year. Instead, they are the second seed.
Having won five games in a row and seven of their last eight, the Lady Diamondbacks are definitely entering post-season play on a roll. Even more impressive is the fact that the Lady Diamondbacks defeated their final two district opponents, Laredo Martin and Roma, by a combined score of 41-0.
Whether or not the Lady Diamondbacks’ momentum will continue into the playoffs remains to be seen, however they will have to get past the 9-5 Edcouch-Elsa Lady Yellowjackets if they hope to claim their second bi-district championship in their still relatively short school history.
Game one of this best-of-three series was played last night at PSJA North High School. Game two is scheduled to be played tonight at 7 also at PSJA North High. Game three, if necessary, will be played tomorrow afternoon at 5 at, you guessed it, PSJA North High School.
The winner of this series will be going up against the winner of the Corpus Christi Calallen vs Floresville best-of-three series in the Area round of the state playoffs next weekend.