State bound: Lady Hounds return to state semi-finals - Valley Morning Star : Local News

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State bound: Lady Hounds return to state semi-finals

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Posted: Wednesday, June 3, 2015 11:15 pm

SAN BENITO — “Go big purple, beat those farmers!” chanted the San Benito High School cheerleaders while cheering on their Lady Greyhounds softball team.

The team is set to face Lewisville in the University Interscholastic League (UIL) state softball tournament semifinals Friday at 6 p.m. at the Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin.

Before they head up north, a sea of purple and gold clad supporters hooted and hollered Wednesday inside the varsity gym.

Time will be set aside at the game on Friday so the four seniors — Crystal Castillo, pitcher; Melanie Gonzalez, second base; Ali Huerta, third base; and Jav’ana Gonzalez, shortstop — can receive their diplomas, school officials say.

Greg Hernandez, father of player and freshman Deztiny Hernandez, 15, said the team will be playing against the best in the state. He plans to attend the game along with his wife and other family members.

“Deztiny’s grandfather will be flying in from Fort Worth to see her play,” he said. “Hopefully they will come back with a state title.”

Hernandez, a San Benito native, said he was amazed at the support the team has received.

“I’m really proud of the softball system and I’m proud of the parents for raising their kids to love the sport,” he said. “Whenever they excel, the community comes together. We are competitive and passionate.”

When the drive to compete and passion come together, he said, good things happen in San Benito sports.

“It helps us win,” he said.

City officials are also encouraging San Benito residents to join in the send-off for the playoff-bound Lady Greyhounds on Thursday morning in front of the Municipal Building, 401 N. Sam Houston. Posters will be handed out to the first 100 supporters.

“This is a time for the community to rally in support of our Lady Greyhounds on the outstanding season they have had, and to wish them the best… all the way to the state championship,” said City Manager Manuel Lara.

A bus carrying the softball team will travel through downtown San Benito before noon Thursday. Supporters are asked to be at the Municipal Building by 11:45 a.m. before the bus arrives and then tours portions of the city before it travels down Sam Houston Boulevard to the Expressway and on to Austin.

Businesses and citizens are asked to demonstrate their Greyhound pride by making signs and standing along the boulevard, cheering and giving best wishes for a successful outcome to their season, Lara said.

Richard Garcia, migrant program recruiter with the school district, said he and others in his office will be on hand Thursday morning to hand out various snacks to the team for their trip upstate.

Garcia, a Harlingen native, said it’s very rare to see so much support for softball but said they deserve it because they worked so hard to get here.

Garcia, who has only been working with the district for a year, also said he was surprised at the community’s dedication to sports. Much like most of the community, Garcia said he’ll be at the game on Sunday.

“I know they are going to win, so I’ll be there on Sunday,” he said.

In 2013, Lewisville beat the Lady ‘Hounds 5-2, ending San Benito’s dream of brining a state title back to the Rio Grande Valley. Lewisville went on to win the state title, beating Humble Kingwood 3-2 in the finals.

As with San Benito, several players from the 2013 Lewisville squad are back on this year’s team, including junior pitcher Maribeth Gorsuch, who picked up the win in 2013 as a freshman. Gorsuch pitched a complete-game two-hitter, allowing no earned runs with eight strikeouts and five walks.

She out dueled San Benito ace Amber Jasso, who gave up four earned runs on six hits, fanned four and gave up just one walk.

If they beat Lewisville, the Lady Greyhounds will play for the state championship title 4 p.m. Saturday and would face the winner between Katy and Conroe The Woodlands.

Tickets for the games are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Ticket sales for each game begin one hour before the game is scheduled to begin.

ksommer@valleystar.com

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