2012 All-Cannon Softball Team
When she is batting, Flatonia incoming senior Taylor Williams just tries to get on base, which means she usually wants to hit ground balls and line drives.
But a large number of those big swings usually result in extra-base hits. Williams hit two jacks in the Class 1A State Tournament to help lead the Lady Bulldogs to their second overall state championship.
“I really want to hit ground balls and line drives and get on base,” she said. “But whatever happens, happens.”
Williams topped off an All-State season by turning in a MVP performance at the state tournament, and has been named as The Gonzales Cannon’s Softball Player of the Year.
“I think it is a great honor,” Williams said. “It shows that hard work pays off. I feel like I have achieved something, but I still have a lot of work to do.”
Known as a feared hitter, Williams really put her power on display during the playoffs.
She got a home run in the Lady Bulldogs win over Garrison, 4-1, in the state semifinals. But the next day in the state title game, her second homer of the tournament, which broke a state record, provided the difference in the top of the ninth as Flatonia defeated Sam Rayburn Ivanhoe 6-4.
“In that top of the ninth, I was just wanting to get on base,” Williams said. “When I got that home run, it felt like a huge load had been lifted off my shoulders.”
Williams’ drive to have another great softball season for her senior year and get ready to play college ball was so strong that no sooner than the state tournament had concluded, Williams was off and playing summer ball. She spent the month of June playing tournaments on the weekends.
“I missed a parade for our softball team and other events because of playing tournaments on the weekends,” she said.
Going into her senior year, Williams has signed a non-binding, verbal commitment to attend the University of South Carolina and play on the Lady Gamecocks softball team. She said she is using the offseason extra games to help her make the huge jump to Division One ball.
“The summer softball will help me get used to higher-level pitching,” she said. “I am always trying to get better.”
“If I go 2-for-3 at the plate, then it is not acceptable for me. I feel I should have been 3-for-3.”
Willams, a three-year starter, pulled off the rare feat of hitting for average with power. She had a .449 batting average, 40 hits in 89 at-bats, with 52 RBI, 8 home runs, 8 doubles and 7 triples. She also scored 48 runs, drew 40 walks (24 intentional), had an on-base percentage of .620 and was 14-14 in stolen base attempts.
The Lady Bulldogs will return seven starters, including Williams, from their 2012 state championship team.
“The three seniors (Alexandra Bruns, Kaci Pavlicek, Courtney Mica) will be missed,” Williams said. “They have left behind some big shoes to fill. I am hoping the incoming freshmen can step up and help out.”
“I am really excited for next season because I feel the team can make it back to the state tournament.”
You can bet Williams and the rest of the Lady ‘Dogs plus all of their familes, friends and fans will cherish the memory of the state title.
“Words just cannot describe how it feels to win state,” Williams said.
St. Paul head softball coach Chris Farias knew what kinds of things were expected for the defending TAPPS 1A/2A softball state champions in his first season as head coach – chief among them was repeat as champions.
“Coming in I knew what was expected of us, and I also knew how hard these girls worked,” he said. “To me it was a no-brainer; we would win the State Championship. We set that goal at our first practice and we worked hard at it all season long. The best part for me was to see all the girls’ hard work get rewarded. I am extremely proud of these young ladies.”
Farias said the team knew it would be a long and difficult road to winning a second straight title.
“The key to our achievement was focus, determination, and confidence,” he said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be handed to us and we would have to work hard every day. We never lost sight of our goal and we definitely put in the work to get there.”
“Most importantly, we believed we could do it. Our level of confidence at the state tournament was through the roof and it showed. To say it’s (winning state title) a good feeling would be a massive understatement.”
For his accomplishments, Farias has been named the Coach of the Year of the 2012 All-Cannon Softball Team.
“I feel extremely honored and blessed to receive this award,” he said.
The Lady Cardinals had some tough challenges at the start of the season and used that experience to help guide them through district and postseason.
“Overall I think we had a great season,” said Farias. “We faced some tough teams, particularly at the San Marcos Tournament. We were put to the test mentally and physically, but the girls were determined and we went to work even harder.”
“By the time playoffs rolled around, we were stronger and more confident than ever. That momentum grew throughout the playoffs and peaked at the State Tournament. I always tell the girls you have to finish stronger than you start, and I think our season is a perfect reflection of that mentality.”
St. Paul blanked Victoria Faith, 9-0, in the title game back in May, which Farias, the players and fans are sure to remember for a long time.
“Our best and most interesting game of the season was definitely the championship game,” he said. “Our leadoff batter Alexa Schaefer started us off with a single, which after three errors turned into a leadoff run. Kali Kocian followed with a triple, and was driven in with a shot to left field by Mary Adamek.”
“Lizzy Opiela followed with a line drive home run over the left field wall. That ball was absolutely crushed. When you start any game with your first four batters scoring, your confidence is high. When you start the State Championship game like that, there’s not a lot that can stop you. By the end of that game we scratched 12 hits including a double, three triples and two home runs, the second of which came from freshman Victoria Kusac.”
There was also plenty of light-hearted moments, including the “surprise party” thrown for Farias by the team.
“I got on the bus the day we got to Waco for the State Tournament,” he said. “I drove up early to scout a game, and Coach (Dana) Beal drove the bus with the baseball and softball teams. I met them at the boys’ hotel to drop off the school suburban.”
“The plan was to hop on the bus and go back to our hotel. I was really tired and stressed out and not in the best of moods. When I got on the bus, Coach Beal was sitting in the driver’s seat looking at me like ‘Seriously? What took you so long?’ and none of the girls were on the bus. I looked around trying to figure out what was going on and I finally asked her where they were when they all jumped out from behind their seats and yelled ‘SURPRISE!!!’”
“They cranked up the music and sang obnoxiously all the way back to our hotel,” Farias continued. “That might drive some coaches crazy, but I was happy to see them. They probably didn’t even realize it, but that bus ride really got me relaxed and set the tone for the whole weekend.”
St. Paul finished the season with a 19-9 overall and Farias is wishing it was January 2013 already.
“It’s been a great first year at St. Paul and I could not be more proud of these girls,” he said,. “Looking forward to another successful season next year.”
2012 All-Cannon Area Softball Team
Player of the Year: Taylor Williams, Flatonia. MVP of the Class 1A State Championship Tournament led the Lady Bulldogs to the second title in school history.
Coach of the Year: Chris Farias, St. Paul. First-year coach led the Lady Cardinals to their second straight TAPPS championship.
Katie Steinhauser, Flatonia. Posted a 28-5 record for the state champion Lady Bulldogs. Had 1.39 ERA in 201 innings pitched with 147 strikeouts and .172 opponents batting average. Batted .354 with 29 RBI, 2 HR, 5 doubles, 1 triple and 19 runs scored.
Ryan Hagan, Yoakum. Recorded 185 strikeouts with 2.95 ERA, .189 opponents batting average, and .224 opponents on base percentage. Batted .378 with 36 hits, 16 RBI, 6 doubles and 1 HR. Went 15-15 in stolen base attempts.
Abby Irvin, St. Paul. 72 strikeouts in 91.1 innings, 13-6 record. Batted .359 with 12 RBI, 3 doubles and 9 runs scored. Helped lead the Lady Cardinals to state championship game.
Reagan Renken, Yoakum. Batted .358 with 17 RBI, 7 doubles and 3 HR including one grand slam. Had on-base percentage of .400 and slugging percentage of .594. Posted a .976 fielding percentage with 193 putouts and 10 assists and only 4 errors in 207 total chances.
Julie Bartek, St. Paul. Batted .415 with 22 hits, 7 runs, 13 RBI and 7 doubles.
Alena Alvarez, Nixon-Smiley. Batting average of .400.
Katelynn Leist, St. Paul. Batted .500 with 26 hits, 23 RBI, 4 doubles, 1 triple and 2 HR. Fielding percentage of .991 with 108 put outs and 7 assists.
Sibil Philippus, Gonzales. Batted .285 on with 3 doubles, 1 triple and 4 HR including a grand slam. Posted a .900 fielding percentage.
Brooke Gordon, Nixon-Smiley. Posted a .250 batting average.
Alexandra Bruns, Flatonia. Batted .333 with 39 RBI, 8 doubles, 2 triples and 1 HR. Had an on-base percentage of .449 with 12 stolen bases. Committed only 4 errors in 35 games.
Mary Adamek, St. Paul. Batted .333 with 17 hits, 18 RBI, 6 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR and 29 runs scored. Recorded a .893 fielding percentage with 25 putouts and 25 assists.
Taylor Williams, Flatonia. Batted .449 with 40 hits in 89 AB for 52 RBI, 8 HR, 7 triples, 8 doubles. Had an on-base percentage of .620, drew 40 walks including 24 intentional and was 14-14 on stolen bases.
Shayla Simper, Gonzales. Batted .333 with 7 doubles, 3 triples and 2 HR. Posted a .985 fielding percentage. Also pitched 4 games in district including a no-hit shutout.
Courtney Mica, Flatonia. A 4-year starter who batted .514 with 56 hits in 109 at bats. Had an on-base percentage of .598 with 13 doubles, 7 triples, 6 HR and 39 RBI. Went 23-25 in stolen base attempts.
Emily Pokluda, St. Paul. Batted .475 with 28 hits, 21 RBI, 2 doubles, 3 triples, 1 HR and 35 runs scored. Posted a .810 fielding percentage with 21 putouts and 26 assists.
Carly Bozka, Gonzales. As a switch hitter, she batted .310 with 5 doubles and 2 triples. Also had 7 stolen bases and posted a .885 fielding percentage.
D’Laine Palacio, Nixon-Smiley. Posted a .360 batting average.
Kali Kocian, St. Paul. Batted .530 with 35 hits, 31 runs scored, 31 RBI, 10 doubles, 7 doubles and 2 HR. Posted a .973 fielding percentage with 32 put outs and 4 assists.
Alexa Schaefer, St. Paul. Batted .642 with 34 hits, 40 runs scored, 9 RBI, 2 doubles, 2 triples and 1 HR. Posted a .886 fielding percentage with 22 put outs and 9 assists.
Courtney Carroll, Yoakum. Batted .400 with 40 Hits, 3 doubles, 5 triples and 20 RBI’ with an on-base percentage of .484. Also went 11-14 in stolen base attempts. Posted a .976 fielding percentage with just two errors and was named District 28-3A Defensive Player of the Year.
Crystal Rodriguez, Flatonia. Batted .323 with 15 RBI. Also scored 29 runs and drew 10 walks. Committed just one error in 30 games played.
Cassidy La Fleur, Gonzales. Hit .295 on season with 5 doubles. Recognized as a great leader in outfield who will chase down any ball in the air.
Callie Witte, Yoakum. Batted .300 with 17 RBI, 6 doubles and 2 triples for an on-base percentage of .392 and slugging percentage of .448. Posted a .968 fielding percentage despite playing several positions on the year with 55 put outs and 11 assists and only 2 errors.
Lizzy Opiela, Shiner St. Paul. Batted .485 with 28 RBI, 2 doubles, 3 triples and 3 HR. Pitched 31.2 innings with an ERA of 3.76 with 24 strikeouts.
Cuero - Maegan Martin, Candace Miller, Madison Simpson. Flatonia - McKenna Lopez, Kylie Mica, Brooke Migl, Abigail Schacherl. Gonzales - Lindsey Akers, Morgan Simper. Moulton - Kendall Kristynik, Megan Mitchon, Kelsey Pilat, Cassie Zimmerman. Nixon-Smiley - Ashley Maldonado. Sacred Heart - Olivia Bohuslav, Kirsten Heger, Lauren Huser, Adrienne Klimitchek, Emily Kossa, Arianna Kubena, Rachel Saulnier. Shiner - Megan Chumchal, Hannah Koenning, Ryah Michalec, Jordan Pietsch, Stacey Perez, Julianna Rankin.