CHINA SPRING — The Salado Lady Eagles softball team advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history after its 5-1 win over Teague on Friday night.
“We had to overcome some adversity in this game,” said junior right fielder Kristen Oakes. “We thought we’d be facing a left-handed pitcher with a good curve. It turned out we were facing a right-handed pitcher with a back-door curve.”
Salado, and in particular Oakes and teammate Shyenne Hicks, handled things just fine.
In the bottom of the third inning, with Salado up 2-0, Hicks was standing on second base with one out. Oakes brought Hicks home with a smash-single to center field.
“I knew that my coach had faith in me there,” Oakes said. “Before that at-bat, I just said to myself, ‘Be confident.’ I knew it was important that I come through there for my team. I knew I could deliver.”
In the bottom of the fifth, still ahead 3-0, Hicks was on third base with one out. Oakes, a right-handed batter, came through with a deep grounder to the right side of the infield, scoring Hicks.
“I didn’t quite have the hit there that I wanted,” Oakes said. “But I did get the run in and it was a big RBI.”
The two RBIs by Oakes were a game-high.
And of course Hicks, as per usual, was a big contributor to the Salado offensive attack. She had a third-inning single and fifth-inning double. That double was a line shot that directly hit the top of the right-field wall.
“Yes, I did think it was a home run at first,” said Hicks, who bats cleanup. “I’ve been stuck at 13 home runs for a long time. I was thinking, ‘OK, I finally got another one.’ I was hoping it got over but it was just a little bit short.
“But the main thing is this: We won the game.”