Softball, baseball TAPPS title games: Southwest Christian, Grapevine Faith Christian fall

Seeking its first baseball state title since 2003, the Fort Worth Southwest Christian Eagles came up just short, falling 10-7 to the Houston Second Baptist Eagles in the TAPPS Division II title matchup at Clay Gould Ballpark on the campus of University of Texas-Arlington.

Southwest Christian, trailing 5-2 entering the bottom of sixth, rallied. Cooper Kirkpatrick, a Midland College signee, capped a three-run inning with an RBI double to tie the game at 5-5.

The momentum was short-lived as Second Baptist exploded for five runs in the top of the seventh, generating five of their eight hits in the game, as well as getting a walk and reaching on a lead-off error that started a parade to the plate in which 10 Second Baptist hitters came up.

Southwest Christian falls in the TAPPS D2 State Championship to Houston Second Baptist.
Southwest Christian falls in the TAPPS D2 State Championship to Houston Second Baptist.

That was the second time Houston Second Baptist had batted around, sending nine guys to the plate in a three-run fourth on just one hit -- thanks to five of the 10 walks issued by four Southwest Christian pitchers in the game. That left Southwest Christian with a 4-1 deficit.

A Slaid Chandler sacrifice bunt scored a run for Southwest Christian in the bottom of the fifth; however Second Baptist answered with a score in their top half of the sixth. That set the stage for the three-run bottom half of the inning that left the game tied at 5-5 momentarily.

Southwest Christian tried to mount one more comeback in the bottom of the seventh. The team displayed a don’t quit attitude and head coach Rusty Beam said he was “extremely proud.”

Max Woerner drew a one-out walk, and after a force out at second, Jackson Kale was hit by a pitch, then Joshua Blanco ripped a two-RBI single to trim the deficit to 10-7.

With runners on the corners, that brought the tying run to the plate; however a called third strike quashed a potential miracle finish, and left Southwest Christian having to settle for runner-up.

“Our guys battled back,” said Beam. “Just not enough. Give Second Baptist credit. They are a very opportunistic team. ... The effort was there. We just could not get it done.”

Southwest Christian falls in the TAPPS D2 State Championship to Houston Second Baptist.
Southwest Christian falls in the TAPPS D2 State Championship to Houston Second Baptist.

The team state line read -- 7 runs, 7 hits, 1 error with 4 left on base for Southwest Christian and 10 runs on 8 hits and 1 error for Second Baptist with 9 left on base.

Senior Austin Dyke had three singles for Southwest Christian to lead the offense, and scored two runs.

Fort Worth Southwest Christian (26-12-1) were state champs in 2003, 2002, 1999 and 1994, and runner-up in 2021.

After two regular season ending shutouts of Fort Worth Christian -- 1-0 and 4-0 -- before the playoffs began, a pair of scoreless wins vaulted the Eagles from Southwest Christian into the state tourney. They upended Austin St. Dominic Savio 2-0 in the Area round and then blanked Tyler Grace Community 5-0 in the Regional.

It defeated district foe Argyle Liberty Christian, 2-1, in the state semifinal on Monday to reach title contest as Texas Tech signee Jackson Burns pitched a gem, fanning 12 in tossing a complete game, five-hitter. Burns struck out seven consecutive batters -- the last out in fourth and then fanning the side in both the fifth and sixth innings.

In the semifinal victory, a dramatic top of the seventh unfolded. A leadoff walk followed by an error had ALC runners on first and second. A sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third.

Burns then struck out the next batter, who was ejected for arguing the third strike. Then Burns induced Brady Janusek, an Oklahoma pledge and a junior, on a 2-1 count, to a game-ending fly out to left field.

Houston Second Baptist (19-13), which finished fourth in District 2-2, had ousted defending state champion and district foe Beaumont Kelly, 6-1, in the Monday semifinal matchup. Second Baptist reached the state tourney after an Area round 13-5 win over San Antonio Christian and a 6-0 triumph over the The Woodlands Christian Academy in the Regionals.

It was the seventh state championship -- and second in three years -- for Houston Second Baptist, which was making its 17th state tourney appearance.

Softball: Grapevine Faith Christian defeated in title game

The Grapevine Faith Christian Lions could muster little offense in losing 12-2 to the Victoria St. Joseph Lady Flyers in the TAPPS Division II softball state championship Tuesday at Allan Saxe Field on the campus of UT-Arlington.

The Lions dug themselves into an early hole with St. Joseph scoring five runs in the bottom of the first inning, and could not recover.

Senior Ellen Estridge belted a two-run homer in the top of third to account for both Grapevine Faith runs. Senior Jennifer Nevill and freshman MaKenzie Byler each had a single for the only other hits for the Lions, while St. Joseph cranked out 17 hits.

Grapevine Faith Christian (18-4) defeated district foe Frisco Legacy Christian 15-13 in Monday’s semifinal, thanks to an eight-run second inning. Grapevine Faith Christian was District 2-2 runner-up to Frisco Legacy Christian, with both teams sporting 7-1 district marks. The two teams had split a pair of regular season meetings -- Grapevine Faith winning 11-10 at home on April 11 and Frisco Legacy Christian prevailing 12-8 a day later at its home site.

The Lions ousted Argyle Liberty Christian, 7-2, in the Area round and Fort Worth Southwest Christian, 3-2, in the Regional to reach the state tourney.

Victoria St. Joseph (37-4-2) defeated Houston Lutheran South, 14-7, in the Area round and The Woodlands Christian Academy 4-2 in the Regional before eliminating Austin Hyde Park, 10-1, in the state semifinal on Monday.