AUSTIN -- Harleton only had one game circled on the calendar heading into the season.

The Ladycats secured a second straight state championship game appearance Wednesday with an 8-0 Class 2A state semifinal round win against Bosqueville at the University of Texas' Red and Charline McCombs Field.

It's a chance at redemption after a narrow loss in last year's title game. It comes at 3 p.m. Thursday against Shiner.

"It's been tough because it's stuck with us for a long time," Harleton head coach Justin Kniffen said. "Luckily, I had football to coach and it kind of got you out of it. But, when the season started, we said we wanted to get back. And not just to get back. We wanted win it.

"The state championship was the goal. We're one game away. Now we need to finish it."

Harleton's Hailey Pyland makes contact for an infield base hit in the seventh inning of Wednesday's state semifinal win against Bosqueville. (Thao Nguyen, ETSN.fm)

Sophomore starting pitcher Randi Carrol Phillips, already a Texas A&M commitment, threw a perfect game in last season's state semifinal. It looked like she was going to do it again through 2 1/3 innings, striking out the first five Bosqueville batters of the game.

Phillips was relieved after five innings to conserve her arm for the state championship game. She allowed one hit, two walks and dished out four more strikeouts over the course of her time in the circle.

Offensive support was there from the start. Despite the fact Harleton (33-2) did not record its first of eight hits until the second inning, it managed to scratch out two runs in the bottom of the first with excellent base running.

Two-hole hitter Hailey Pyland took a pitch to the ribs and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Taylor Pyland followed it up with a sacrifice bunt and a fielding error allowed Hailey Pyland home while the batter escaped to second base.

Taylor Pyland stole third base and then Ali Modisette took the game's 10th pitch to center field for an RBI.

Phillips led off the second inning with a walk to spur a three-run frame and a commanding 5-0 lead.

Morgan Bullock hit to left field and advanced to second base as Bosqueville (25-7) went for Phillips's courtesy runner, Taitum Atkins, at third base. Dana Cooner did the exact same thing the next at bat, scoring Atkins in the process.

Dakotah Hawk laid down a sacrifice bunt to allow Bullock home and Avery Underwood hit a fly ball to center field to send Cooner in for a score.

Bosqueville starting pitcher Lizzie Donaldson sustained an arm injury on a successful stolen base attempt in the top of the fourth and left the game.

The Ladycats added three insurance runs in the fifth inning for good measure.

Modisette closed the game with two scoreless innings.

Taylor Pyland (2) and Ali Modisette (12) celebrate recording the second out of the top of the seventh inning in Wednesday's state semifinal matchup against Bosqueville. (Thao Nguyen, ETSN.fm)

"As soon as we left Austin, as a team, we set a goal that next year we were going to come back and take the state championship," Phillips said. "That's a goal we set for each other and for ourselves. I hope we get it."

Harleton almost got there last season in comeback fashion against Weimar. It even put the potential winning run in scoring position as part of a three-run, game-tying seventh inning.

But Weimar responded by loading the bases with no outs in the game's final frame. A Ladycats outfielder fell down chasing a ball that dropped in for the game-winning hit.

Here comes the chance to put it all in the past.

"We knew we could win the semifinal and then looked at each other and said, 'Holy crud. We're playing in the state championship game and have got a chance.' This is where we wanted to be this season. This is where we expected to be. We're here and now we've got to do something about it."

Head coach Justin Kniffen talks to the team before Harleton leaves Red and Charline McCombs Field for rest at their Austin hotel. (Thao Nguyen, ETSN.fm)

Class 2A State Semifinal

At Red and Charline McCombs Field, Austin
Harleton 8, Bosqueville 0

Bosqueville          000    000    0    --    0    1    4
Harleton              230    030    X    --    8    8    1

Pitchers and catchers
  • Bosqueville: Lizzie Donaldson, Kailey Kailey Leighty (4) and Chloe McGee
  • Harleton: Randi Carol Phillips, Ali Modisette (6) and Hailey Pyland

 

  • WP -- Phillips
  • LP -- Donaldson