By Chuck Licata
The following are postgame comments from Liberty Hillās coach, players and community members from Saturday (May 26) after the LHHS Lady Panthers defeated Columbia, 2-0, to clinch its first-ever berth in the state softball tournament.
Coach Charice Hankins: āThe kids wanted it today ā they didnāt want a third (and deciding) game (in this series). (Pitcher) Kourtney Bevers wanted the ball in her hand, we talked about it in bottom of sixth inning but decided Bevers was hitting her spots well. (Freshman pitcher Sam) Junkin was ready to go but itās the teamās seniors who set the (program) record in 2010 to get to a regional final. Those seniors wanted this one badly and no one was going to take the ball out of Beversā hands.
I was a little girl once; I had visions of playing in the state tournament. As a coach for 22 years itās been in my heart ā Iāve seen it coming and hoped to (eventually) get there.
Tanya Lott is a great mentor to me, she made it to state (as an LHHS girlsā basketball coach) and she texted me the other day and it said, āCoach Hankins, itās your time now.ā
The Liberty Hill Lady Patnhers are going to the state tournament ā see you all in a week!
Senior pitcher Kourtney Bevers: āIām feeling like the third timeās a charm (Bevers has been to state in cross country and basketball this year). We have some experience on this team and I feel weāre giong to finish our mission and (win the state title).
Sophmore year we got a little taste of (regional finals, a loss to West High School). Our junior year we lost in area, and that was disappointing. We all got together and vowed that would never happen again.
We have good handful of underclassmen who have stepped up and our seniors appreciate them.
Whatās not to enjoy about going to state in three different sports? Each team is different in that way. Iāve had tremendous teammates; all our our coaches are great and care about their athletes. The players and coaches of each team get along so well and thatās what helps the (overall) success.
LH All-Sports Booster Club web master Malcom Terry: āItās been amazing how Liberty Hill, in general, has become a sports powerhouse overall. Weāve seen it all from football to todayās softball (results) Itās incredible to live in a small community that (produces) such good kids and good student-athletes. This year everyone went to the playoffs, itās incredible.
Freshman second baseman Kallen Floyd: āThis was our goal the whole year was to make state. It was never in our minds we wouldnāt do it. We were always going to do this, (no matter the) blood sweat and tears; not matter what it took we were going to do it.
Still itās hard to wrap my head around it right now. Iām actually still in shock. Iām very excited and weāre going to win ā weāre ready to win (state).ā
Senior third baseman Kendyl Yandrisovitz: āItās amazing to be going to state. To not play basketball so I could (concentrate of softball) was definitely worth it. Iām kind of speechless; I knew it was coming but
This probably wonāt hit me until later.
I knew this morning it was a different day (from Thursday, when the Lady Panthers won Game 1) but same results. Knowing weāre going to state is awesome. We didnāt have any doubt weād win.ā