HARLINGEN — The Harlingen South Lady Hawks are hitting their stride and at the right time.
The Lady Green Birds will meet Laredo United in a one-game playoff at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Cabaniss Field in Corpus Christi.
“It’s been a good week of practice,” said Harlingen South coach Elias Martinez. “The girls have been working hard all week. It’s a one-game playoff so everything is on the line.
“We’re enjoying the time we have here in the playoffs and the kids are relaxed. We are doing everything we can to simulate their (United’s) speed. They’re (United) a good club and well coached. Each week the talent will get tougher and this week will be tough, but the kids are up for the challenge.”
According to the Laredo Morning Times, United enters the area round for the first time since the 1998 season, which also happens to be the year the program began.
Both South and United played a one-game playoff in the bi-district round. United ended McAllen Memorial’s season with a 3-2 win while South outlasted Edinburg North 8-7 in extra innings.
The two have met once this season with the Lady Longhorns edging the Lady Hawks 3-2 during the Mission Fastpitch Tournament. South lost on a coin flip, or what is also called a drop dead ball, due to the time expiring.
The Lady Horns present a unique challenge for South with solid pitching and speed on the base paths, which is something the Lady Hawks have been preparing for.
“We know they have speed and this week we have been working on certain things defensively. Either way, we have confidence in each other to make the plays,” said senior second baseman Jazmin Gallegos. “This year we made it to the second round and as a senior it’s exciting to make it after missing it the last two seasons that I’ve been here.”
Harlingen South endured injuries over the course of the season, but has regained its health and is beginning to click at the right time.
“We had some injuries, but we managed to get some kids back in time last week for the bi-district round. We have been playing good, clean softball and the kids have been selective at the plate and it’s showing,” said Martinez.
Four-year letterman and first basemen Ashley Reyna is one of the leaders on the club and has helped guide the underclassmen throughout the playoffs.
“It’s a great experience for all of us,” said Reyna. “It helps the younger girls to actually play in a playoff game to help with the experience part. Offensively, we’re prepared and we know what we’re capable of. We’re ready for the next challenge and ready to give it our best shot.”
The winner in this series will face the winner between San Benito and South San Antonio in the regional quarterfinals next week. San Benito’s series will begin Friday night at Sinton High School with the first pitch set for 7 p.m.