LAKE JACKSON — Quite a few underclassmen cracked The Facts Southern Brazoria All-County first team selections, which makes for another bright future for local high school softball teams.
Of those playing in their final seasons and landing on the first team were Angleton second baseman, Raegan Kotrla; Danbury third baseman, Madison Garza and Angleton outfielders, Ellie Grill and Avery Farr.
Playing on one good knee all season, Kotrla solidified the second base position for the Ladycats run to state in her final year.
“It felt unreal and to this day it still feels unreal,” Kotrla said. “I have to look back and make sure that this is just what happened to us. But it was a great way to end the high school season playing with this group. It does make me sad that its over, but it was a good out come.”
With minimal plate appearances, Kotrla fielded her position with a .947 fielding percentage and only had three errors on the season.
“Whenever I found out about my knee, I wanted to just stay strong at second base,” Kotrla said. “That was my main goal to keep working and don’t give up at second.”
So far Kotrla has enjoyed the celebrations at home.
“Its really amazing how the community is celebrating with us, and how people recognize us when we are out,” she said. “The community that we have is just amazing.”
Not playing select softball for the first time in 13 summers, Kotrla will concentrate on working on her knee and also preparing to play at San Jacinto next fall.
A part of the Danbury Lady Panthers since she was a freshman, Garza really came through in her final year in high school.
After helping the Lady Panthers to the UIL Class 3A state tournament, Garza was pretty pleased the way things turned out for them.
“Literally on the bus ride from Austin I was able to sit there and realize that we just made it to state,” she said. “But I was also thinking about the preseason games that we had with Sweeny and that in some of those games I just wished we were a bit better. But to make it to state, it just showed that every week we were improving. Honestly winning it all would have been the cherry on top, but just getting there was good enough for me.”
Her play at shortstop was phenomenal fielding at a .945 percentage. At the plate, Garza batted at .436 with a .609 slugging percentage and a .512 on base percentage. She had 48 hits in 110 at bats with 30 RBIs, 13 doubles and scored 50 runs. She also had 18 stolen bases for the season.
“It was nice and rewarding to feel that my team needed me in some moments,” Garza said. “I batted leadoff when the season started and then got moved to third, but with that small adjustment I knew that whoever was on base I was going to get them in. Playing on the field, we had good pitchers and we all worked hard to get our runs and that was what I had on my mind when I played defense by working as hard as I could for that pitcher and try to get as many outs as I could.”
Though the Lady Panthers came up just a bit short of a state title, Garza had quite a game against Hallettsville.
“That was probably one of the best games that I’ve played,” Garza said. “I went 2-for-3 and made some plays at shortstop. It was nice to see that because of the hard work I put in. I was able to come out and perform the way I did in probably the biggest games of my career.”
Garza will head to Temple to continue her softball career. She will also play travel ball with the Texas Elite from Sugar Land.
“We all found a way to bond with each other, where as in previous seasons there would be groups on the team,” Garza said. “But this year we were all friends and came together as one. It made playing so much easier, going to practice and playing the games. We all supported each other so it was nice.”
Not needing much of a break from the game, Farr was glad to be back on the field with the Illusions select team from Houston.
“Its been amazing and for me it was good to get back on the field with select ball,” she said. “I didn’t have much of a break, but I just wanted to get out there to get ready for the fall.”
Farr was a freshman when she joined the Ladycats and made that memorable trip to Austin to play in the state tournament.
“It is weird thinking about it, because I am done in Angleton and that was what was keeping me here,” she said. “Now officially I am an alumni which is kind of weird. But seeing our game progress over the years since our freshman year when we lost, we knew what was expected of us. We kept trying to get back there and we just kept getting stronger. Finally this last year it worked for us and I am glad it did.”
At the plate, Farr batted .390 with 37 RBIs, 15 doubles and four home runs.
For Farr, the next stop will be UT Tyler to continue her softball career. She will report on her birthday, Aug. 19.
The rest of the first team members are also Brazoswood’s Brooke Tanner, pitcher (8-5 overall, 97 innings, 2.59 ERA, 82 strikeouts); Angleton’s Mika Hinijosa, catcher (238 putouts, 245 total chances, double play, zero errors); Brazoswood’s Ella Casas, first base (.451 batting, 32 hits, 11 doubles, four home runs, 25 RBIs, .859 slugging, .541 on base; .979 fielding percentage, 88 putouts); Brazosport’s Cristina Zuniga, third (.396 batting, 48 at bats, 19 hits, 20 runs, 27 RBIs, four home runs); Angleton’s Grill, OF (.504 batting, 31 RBIs, eight doubles, five triples); Brazoswood’s Amberly Phillips, OF (.494 batting, 41 hits, 32 runs scored, .567 on base, .566 slugging; .933 fielding, 20-for-23 stolen bases).