HARKER HEIGHTS — Jenna Franz lifted the nearly 3-foot tall trophy above her head, with a golden glove on top large enough to fit an actual softball, and admired it.
“It’s big,” said the Lady Eagles’ lone senior.
Thanks to several big days at the plate the 2A Salado softball team — the second-smallest team in the tournament — knocked off 4A Waco University with a 14-8 victory in the championship of the Killeen ISD softball tournament Saturday at the Harker Heights Parks and Recreation’s Community Park softball complex.
“We’re all just tired of being the underdogs, tired of being underestimated, and we just wanted to come out with nothing to lose,” Franz said. “It’s really awesome. To come in and beat 4A and 5A schools says a lot for us.”
Franz went 4-for-4 with three runs scored, junior Malory Schattle batted 3-for-3, including a first-inning three-run home run, and fellow junior Reagan Best capped a seven-run fifth inning with a two-run double and was also perfect at the plate (3-for-3).
“I just know being the only senior, I really have to step up and be a team leader — everyone looks to me for the leadership — and I can’t let anyone down, so I have to do my part, too,” Franz said.
Salado (6-1) bounced back from a season-opening loss to 3A No. 4 Liberty Hill to sweep all six games in the KISD tournament, which featured 5A host programs Ellison, Harker Heights and Killeen, along with 4A Waco High and White Settlement Brewer, 3A China Spring and 2A Moody.
Waco University struck first, as Melina Martinez scored following a leadoff double to give the Lady Trojans a quick 1-0 lead. But after loading the bases, Salado starter Shyenne Hicks struck out the next two batters to hold the damage in check.
“We’ve been talking about adversity, and we wanted to come over here and get in some tough situations and see how we reacted,” Salado coach Kory Craddick said. “They really took adversity straight in the gut and hammered it back down.”
The Lady Eagles answered as Schattle smacked a three-run home run over the left-center field fence to plate Franz and Hicks. University responded with a four-run third and pulled even at 7-7 with one run in the top of the fifth. But that only seemed to spark the Lady Eagles, who exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by a two-run error by Cheyenne Vaca scored Hicks and Schattle, who had an RBI single earlier in the inning.
China Spring 9, Ellison 8 — The Lady Eagles finished fourth after China Spring’s Katie Andrie hit a walk-off RBI single with two outs and a two-strike count for a 9-8 win. Trailing 8-5 entering the final inning, Ellison needed a spark and got in the form of a two-out error and an RBI single by Alexis Watson tied it at 8-8 with runners at first and third.
“I’ve been talking to them all year about finishing, and it’s never over until they tell us it’s over, and we got some good at-bats and some quick legs,” said Ellison coach Rebecca Daley. “We’re just working hard and that hard work pays off.”
The Ellison comeback was squelched when leadoff hitter Mickey Monge popped out to shallow left and the Lady Cougars had their own two-out magic in the bottom of the eighth.
Ellison 3, Harker Heights 1, 5 inn. — Felicia Camango hit a pair of RBI sacrifices that scored leadoff hitter Mickey Monge and then singled and scored the third run on an error-filled fifth inning to advance the Lady Eagles to the third-place game.
The Lady Eagles’ win over Heights came despite six errors, including a pair from outfielders Watson and Monge, as Ashley Scagluisi pitched 4 1/3 innings of two-hit ball for the win. Allyssa Victorian and Madison Stanley each recorded hits for the Lady Knights.
Waco 10, Killeen 0, 3 inn. — Krysten Shavers no-hit host Killeen over three innings while the Lady Lions’ offense took advantage of six Lady Roos errors and rolled up a seven-run third inning for the quick run-rule victory.