UT Tyler Lady Patriots become conference champs

It was a bright sunny afternoon for a softball showdown between two fierce competing teams battling for the Lone Star Conference title.
Published: May. 7, 2023 at 12:55 AM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - It was a bright sunny afternoon for a softball showdown between two fierce competing teams battling for the Lone Star Conference title.

In the first inning, the Lady Patriots drew a couple of walks, putting runners on first and second, and then a hard-driven single by Courtney Plocheck brought in their first run of the game. Later in the inning, UT Tyler got another run on a bases loaded walk, making the score 2-0.

Then, in the second inning, the Lady Patriots had a runner on first, and Plocheck again with the hot bat sent it into the gap for a double, allowing the lead runner to reach third base, putting runners in scoring position.

Next, batter Michelle Arias hit a sharp grounder to the shortstop, who couldn’t come up with it. The Lady Patriots went ahead 3-0 on the E6.

In the third inning, it was the Oklahoma Christians’ turn, when the Lady Eagles, with runners on second and third, made it in on a hard hit rope down the line, bringing the score to 3-2 in the third inning.

In the sixth inning, with the same score, a runner on second and two outs, the Lady Eagles batter sent it into the gap. This got their runner in across the plate, and we had a tie game at three.

Going into the seventh inning, the Lady Patriots needed just one run to win it. Centerfielder JT Smith got things started with a line drive single. It was followed by an infield hit and a players’ choice to put runners on second and third for Arias. Now, here is where it got interesting: the Lady Eagles didn’t want to take a chance on Arias, who has had a hot bat throughout the tournament, so they decided to intentionally walk her. But, what did Arias do? She took a cut at a pitch meant to put her on first.

The ball ended up being deep enough for the runner to tag from third. The play at the plate was not in time, and the Lady Patriots got the walk off win and were crowned Lone Star Conference Champions in an unbelievably bizarre finish. But then again, maybe it’s not so ubelievable. After all, it’s what this team has been doing all season long.

“That was the players having been in the pressure moment and in trusting their gut, and she made a good swing, and my heart dropped,” Head Coach Reed said. “I’m not gonna lie, but her having the courage to do something like that and be ready for that moment, that was not coaching, that’s just having kids that have been worked and ready and have the courage to make those decisions.”

So, the girls will celebrate a conference title tonight but will remain focused on what’s next for the team: the national tournament.