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Lady Deer fall short in quest for third state title

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Sports

The Lady Deer softball team’s quest for a third state crown was cut short Friday with a 5-2 loss to defending state champion Keller. Deer Park the season with a 38-7 record and its third Region III championship in the last six years.

TeamPicThe Lady Deer softball team fell just short of a chance to play for state title, losing to Keller 5-2 Friday in Austin. Photos by Travis Young.Hopes for another Lady Deer softball state championship were dashed Friday afternoon after 5-2 loss to Keller in the state championship semifinals in Austin.

While the Indians got off to a quick 2-0 lead off senior Maddie Nelson, the Deer Park bats struggled to find and sustain momentum.

Deer Park cut the Keller lead in half when Maleah Olvera drove in Erin Edmoundson with a sacrifice fly to center. However, Indians starting pitcher Dylann Kaderka retired the next two batters to squash a potential Lady Deer rally.

Like two heavyweight prize fighters, Keller and Deer Park circled each other and took some swings. The score stayed 2-1 until the fourth when the Indians added a two-run home run. They added an insurance run in the sixth.

Meanwhile, Deer Park put runners in scoring position in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but could only manage a second run, scored by Sara Vanderford touching homeplate on a passed ball in the sixth.

“We hit some shots, but they were right at them. You tip your hat to them. They hit the ball where we weren’t and we hit the ball where we were,” said Deer Park Head Coach Carrie Austgen.

Austgen said she was impressed with how quickly her young team matured throughout the season to put themselves on the cusp of a state title. Deer Park only had three seniors on its roster – Edmoundson, Nelson and Alyssa Hernandez.

“Our seniors kept our young kids fighting and believing that they could do things that no one else thought they could do,” she said. “These kids love to play, to be coached and to execute. Today was one of those days where we executed at (Keller) instead of around them.”

Keller, the defending 6A softball champions will have the opportunity to defend their title against Austin Bowie Saturday in Austin. Bowie defeated Northside Brennan to reach the state title game.