STATE CHAMPS: Lewisville beats Kingwood to claim first 5A state title

[Courtesy Photo] Lewisville is the new Class 5A state champions after beating Humble Kingwood in Saturday’s state final, 3-2. Pictured above, the team celebrated its 5-2 win over San Benito in Friday’s semifinal. The Farmers went 12-2 in the playoffs.

Lewisville softball coach Lori Alexander had been insisting all year that the Farmers were a team of destiny. They proved her right on Saturday with a 3-2 win over Humble Kingwood to claim the Class 5A state title at Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin.
“It’s extremely gratifying and I can’t describe how I feel except it’s overwhelming,” Alexander said. “I’m just so proud of these kids. A lot of people probably felt we would never live out this journey but these girls went out there and proved them all wrong today.”
Lewisville (31-13) led by three heading into the top of the seventh inning, but Arianna Zernial got Humble Kingwood (35-4) back in the game with a two-run, two-out triple. The rally was squelched, though, when the very next batter faked a bunt and Zernial was caught in a rundown between third and home. Freshman pitcher Maribeth Gorsuch (22-4) made the tag for the final out; she finished with eight strikeouts and was named the 5A Most Valuable Player.
This is Lewisville’s first state title in softball and the school’s first crown in any sport since the football team won it all in 1996. The last Lewisville team to advance to state in any sport was the girls’ soccer team in 1999, though they lost in the semifinals.
According to the UIL, Lewisville is also only the second softball team (Alvin, 2008) to finish as the No. 4 seed in its district (4-6 in District 5-5A) and go on to win a state title.
After starting slow against San Benito in Friday’s semifinal, the Farmers jumped on Kingwood starting pitcher Cassie McClure early. McClure allowed just one hit over the final three innings but gave up a two-run single to Becca Scott in the second inning. Lewisville junior Miranda Worthington tacked on a solo home run in the top of the fourth to increase the lead to 3-0.
Kingwood avoided being shutout for the first time all season. They advanced to the title game by knocking off defending champion Deer Park one day earlier.
“I was concerned because they’re bats were hot the night before,” Alexander said of Kingwood. “But people underestimated us a lot. I was concerned, but they hadn’t played against Maribeth yet. She doesn’t play like a freshman, and she proved that by maintaining her composure in that last inning.”
Lewisville finishes its season with an amazing 12-2 run through the postseason. They advanced to the state tournament with a series win in the region final over longtime rival Marcus. Marcus had beat the Farmers twice during the regular season.
On Friday, Lewisville used a four-run fifth inning to rally past San Benito for a 5-2 win in the semifinal. The rally wasn’t without controversy, though. After Selena Garcia loaded the bases with no outs, Gaby Vasquez laid down a bunt. The ball was immediately relayed to the catcher, who caught the ball and appeared to have her foot on home plate in time for the apparent force out.
The runner was called safe, however, and the play stood after a brief huddle by officials on the field. The score tied the game at 2-2 and kept the bases loaded. Lewisville went on to score three more runs in the inning off sacrifice fly outs by Gorsuch and Worthington and an RBI double by Emily Lasky.
“It was close, could have gone either way and I’m not going to second guess it,” Alexander said. “You gotta do what you gotta do from there and we pretty much put the pedal down from there.”
Gorsuch allowed four base runners the rest of the way to earn her 21st win of the season. It was only her second start of the postseason, but she allowed just two hits and didn’t give up a single earned run to overcome an otherwise rough night for her defense — which committed four errors.
“We started out flat with our bats and you could tell we were nervous out there for the first few innings,” Alexander said after the semifinal win. “I had to start mixing some things up and threw in some bunts here and there to get something going. Once we finally started hitting, we relaxed quite a bit.”
San Benito looked to have things in the bag early when Melissa Huerta and Melanie Ramirez both reached base on consecutive Lewisville errors. Cynthia Rodriguez was then hit by Gorsuch to load the bases. After a fly out for the inning’s second out, Kimberly Harper reached on a third Farmers error, which also plated the game’s first run.
One batter later, San Benito pitcher Amber Jasso walked to score another run for a 2-0 lead. All three of Lewisville’s errors in the second inning were infield errors.

Image courtesy of Staff | Murray Media Publishing
Steve Gamel About Steve Gamel

Steve is a well-known sports guy in the area, having covered high school sports for the last 15 years. He got his start in 1997 with the Lewisville News and considers himself a human “rabbit’s foot” of sorts. His first assignment for the company was to cover the Marcus football team -- which went on to win a state title that year. In 15 years, he’s covered approximately 14 teams in various sports who have at least advanced to state. From the Lewisville News, he went on to work for the Dallas Morning News in its Denton County bureau before joining Allen Publishing Company in 2004. He graduated from the University of North Texas with a BA in Broadcast Journalism and lives in Denton with his wife Leslie and sons Christian (5) and Jackson (4 months). He was born and raised in Houston, but his entire family is from Boston.

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