Lake Ridge Lady Eagles Magical Run
There are a lot of high schools in Mansfield and a lot of sports programs, but one in particular separated itself from the others as the Lake Ridge Lady Eagles became the first softball team in the city to play for a state championship.
The Lady Eagles came up short of a title, but not before coming as close as a team can get without hoisting the trophy. San Antonio Northside O’Connor scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to escape with a 7-6 victory in the Class 6A championship game.
The Lady Eagles ended the season with a 32-7 record. They are also the first softball team ever from Mansfield to reach the state tournament.
“We had a very successful year even though we had a tough loss at the end,” head coach Bobbi Cruff said. “We grew as a team and a family and were able to put our name on the map.”
The season began as many do, and Lake Ridge got off to a solid start, though not one that had folks thinking state finals. Through their first seven games the Lady Eagles were 4-3, then after 11 games they were 7-4.
Then came an eight-game win streak that raised some eyebrows. However, a humbling moment came when they dropped two of their next three to stand 16-6.
They would not lose again until the state final.
Lake Ridge would go on to win the District 11 championship. In their postseason run to state the Lady Eagles outscored their opponents 71-16 in nine games.
Four members of the Lady Eagles were named to the Class 6A All-State Tournament Team. With those honors comes optimism for another great season in 2023 as three are underclassmen. Selected were senior outfielder Maritza Arellano, junior outfielders Tia Warsop and Paris Johnson, and sophomore utility player Kassidy Chance.
“Nobody expected us to be where we ended up, except us and our fans. So we truly had a magical season. We are hungry for a new year,” Cruff said.
Another pair of 6A teams represented their districts well as the South Grand Prairie Lady Gophers won District 8 and advanced to the Region I semifinals, finishing with a 31-5 record. Waxahachie, after finishing third in District 11, advanced to the third round of the postseason and finished with a 20-10 mark.
Also reaching the playoffs, falling bidistrict, were Grand Prairie and Mansfield, finishing fourth in Districts 8 and 11, respectively.
The Red Oak Lady Hawks proved that a slow start does not have to define a successful season. Red Oak overcame a 2-6 start to the season to take second place in District 14 and go on to advance to the third round of the playoffs.
The Lady Hawks not only advanced in the postseason, they did so in thrilling fashion. In the first round they lost the opening game of their best-of-three series against North Forney 1-0 before winning the next two 12-5 and 11-1. They duplicated that feat in the second round, only in even more exciting style, dropping the opener to Sulphur Springs 1-0, winning the second game 1-0 and taking the third 8-7.
Also in 5A, Mansfield Legacy took second place in District 8 and reached the second round of the playoffs, finishing 22-8. Ennis (third in District 14), Midlothian (fourth in District 14) and Lancaster (third in District 12) qualified for bidistrict.
The Venus Lady Bulldogs, after being the fourth and final team from District 11 to qualify for the playoffs, reached the second round. Midlothian Heritage, the runners-up in District 10, reached bidistrict.
In all, a dozen teams from the FDN coverage qualified for the playoffs, with half of those reaching at least the second round.