ECTOR — The goal was simple for the Ector Lady Eagles in 2018: Make history and advance to the state tournament for the first time.
That vision becomes reality at 11 a.m. on Friday morning when the Lady Eagles take on Borden County in the Class 1A state semifinals at Dee Dillon Field at Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton. The winner of that matchup would face the winner of the Slocum-D’Hanis match-up on Saturday at 9 a.m. at Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin.
“We worked hard to get to this point,” Ector first baseman Stormy Shockley said. “It was our goal from the beginning of the year to make the state tournament and it feels really good now that we’re finally here.”
It’s been a historic season for the Lady Eagles — one that has seen them set new best marks for the program. Their most recent success came back on May 18, when they defeated Cross Plains, 13-1, in in the Class 1A Region II final at Springtown. It was the first regional final appearance in program history.
“We were very selective at the plate and we were able to get to their pitcher early,” Ector head coach Jayson Adams said. “It gave us the opportunity to get into some hitter’s counts and we hit the ball hard. Defensively, we were solid as well.”
“It feels great, honestly,” said senior shortstop Bailey Collins on the regional final win. “We were just focusing on moving on. That’s all we wanted to do.”
The Lady Eagles faced a challenging schedule that saw them face several schools above their classification. Now, they have their chance to leave their legacy at the state tournament. Specifically, Adams credits his senior class for being the example for the rest of the team.
“Our seniors have done an excellent job of leading,” Adams said. “They had a goal from the beginning of the year to get to state and they were focused to reach that goal. I give a lot of credit to them for not wanting to give up.”
Even after this season is over, Collins and Shockley — both seniors — hope that what they’ve accomplished this season can carry over for future Lady Eagles.
“It feels really good to carry that on,” Collins said. “Hopefully, the girls behind us can do the same thing.”
“We’ve worked hard and we just have to come out and play our best,” Shockley said. “I think it’ll motivate them to get to this point next year.”
Ector has had some time off since their regional final but are now anxious to take the field on Friday morning. Players and coaches alike know that this will be the biggest stage any of them have played on, but are ready for the opportunity.
“Our lineup is good, our defense is solid and we have strong pitching as well,” Shockley said.
“We just need to keep playing our game,” Adams said. “They’re going to be nervous but we just have to focus on using those nerves in a positive way. If we do that, I think we’ll be okay.”