St. Joseph beats Houston St. Pius X for finals berth
By John Werner - SPECIAL TO THE ADVOCATE
May 12, 2011 at 5:12 a.m.
WACO - During a three-hour rain delay, St. Joseph coach Craig Lauger hoped his team would still be focused for Thursday's TAPPS Class 5A semifinals.
"We sang songs, told jokes and did about everything we could do," Lauger said. "It was hard to keep them upbeat."
Lauger shouldn't have worried.
After the stormy weather passed, the Lady Flyers rode Holly Parenica's six-hitter to a 3-0 win over Houston St. Pius X to advance to the championship game.
With its 18th straight win, St. Joseph (27-12) will face Houston St. Agnes for the Class 5A title at 3 p.m. Friday at the Waco ISD softball complex. St. Agnes won its semifinal game over Austin St. Michael's, 12-2.
After losing in the Class 4A semifinals for three straight years, the Lady Flyers felt like they cleared a major hurdle to make the championship game. But the job isn't finished.
"I told the girls let's not celebrate now because we need to win one more," Lauger said. "If we play like we did today, we'll be fine. Defensively, we played our best game of the season."
Parenica (23-10) walked just one batter and collected five strikeouts, and helped her cause at the plate with a pair of hits and two RBIs.
The Lady Flyers scored two third-inning runs off Brittany Rodriguez. After Paiger Terrell reached on a fielder's choice and Fabiola Chinea singled, Brianna Shimek and Parenica delivered run-scoring singles.
"During our long winning streak, we've been able to string together hits," Shimek said. "Even after that rain delay, we were still focused and ready."
St. Joseph scored its third run in the fifth inning when Terrell walked and scored on Parenica's double to left field.
The Lady Flyers played near flawless defense. They made their only error when Parenica fielded Sammi Grosch's grounder and made a high throw to second base in an attempt to force out Carah Nunez at second base. But catcher Mariah Clay threw out Nunez when she tried to steal third for the final out of the inning.
St. Pius (21-8) tried to rally in the sixth with singles by Lindsey Quartaro and Grosch. But Terrell threw out Grosch at second base for the third out when she tried to stretch her hit into a double.
"Our defense was just phenomenal," Parenica said. "We played smart and made good decisions. I tried to work the outside corner a lot with my pitches, and my dropball and changeup were working."
TAPPS Class 5A softball semifinals
St. Joseph 3, Houston St. Pius X 0
St. Pius 000 000 0 - 0 6 2
St. Joseph 002 010 x - 3 9 1
Brittany Rodriguez, Raquel Tello (4), Rodriguez (6) and Jo Jo Alvarez; Holly Parenica and Mariah Clay. WP - Parenica (23-10). LP - Rodriguez. Leading hitters - St. Joseph: Parenica 2-3 (2B, 2 RBIs); Brianna Shimek 1-3 (RBI); Stephanie Kasper 2-3, Paiger Terrell 1-3 (2 runs), Fabiola Chinea 1-3 (1 run). Records - St. Joseph 27-12; St. Pius 21-8.