AUSTIN — The Hughes Springs Lady Mustangs dug themselves a hole they couldn’t escape in Thursday night’s Class 2A state softball championship game at Red & Charline McCombs Field.

Hughes Springs issued two walks, committed two errors, and allowed four runs in the first inning of its 8-3 loss to Santa Gertrudis Academy.

The Lady Mustangs, which were appearing in their second consecutive state tournament, finished the best season in program history at 30-4.

“It was a great season,” said Hughes Springs coach Tisha Thompson. “Hats off to Santa Gertrudis. (We) accomplished what they wanted to accomplish, they didn’t get the end result, they didn’t get their state championship but they made it to the state championship.”

Santa Gertrudis (40-1), which was the state runner-up a year ago, added a run in the third and three more in the fourth to break it open.

And Hughes Springs didn’t help its cause defensively, committing three errors.

“We just didn’t have a good start,” Thompson said. “Both of our pitchers Zoe Lanier and Marisol Kennedy, they’re not strikeout pitchers. We knew we were gonna have to play defense. You don’t get here, make three or four errors and expect to win the game. Not what we expected, not what we wanted.”

SGA senior pitcher Saidi Castillo, who was voted the game’s Most Valuable Player, earned the complete-game victory. Following her perfect game win in Wednesday’s semifinal, Castillo (22-0) allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits with five strikeouts.

Two of the runs allowed came with the game well in hand in the seventh inning.

“We didn’t make the adjustments as early as we needed to,” Thompson said. “We made them late, and I think if we had two more innings we’d have come back and got them. I think she did what we knew she was gonna do.”

Carissa De Los Santos led SGA at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a double and four RBI’s. Breana Carr added two hits and scored twice.

Lanier (15-3) got the start for Hughes Springs, but did not survive the first inning. Already down 1-0, De Los Santos’ bases-loaded double pushed the lead to 4-0.

Hughes Springs’ semifinal starting pitcher Marisol Kennedy went the rest of the way. She allowed four runs on seven hits with two strikeouts and two walks in 5 2/3 innings.

Kennedi Northam, one of six Hughes Springs seniors, had three hits and one RBI at the plate for the Lady Mustangs.

“All of them have provided something for us for four years, they can’t be replaced,” Thompson said of her seniors. “We’ve got six more juniors behind them, and we expect them to step up and play just as hard as those six seniors did. They’ve left a legacy, the six seniors have, that no one can ever take from them. The hope is we’re back here next year, maybe the third time’s a charm.”

Santa Gertrudis Academy 8, Hughes Springs 3

Class 3A State Championship
At Red & Charline McCombs Field, Austin

Hughes Springs        000    100    2    —    3    7    3
SGA                         401    300    x    —    8    8    3

Pitchers and catchers

  • Hughes Springs: Zoe Lanier, Marisol Kennedy (1) and Kennedi Northam.
  • SGA: Saidi Castillo and Jackie De Los Santos.

WP — Castillo (22-0).
LP — Lanier (15-3).

Doubles

  • Hughes Springs: Peyton Blythe, Pearl Perry.
  • SGA: Breana Carr, Alyssa Gonzalez, Carissa De Los Santos, Kennedy Silva.