AUSTIN – Rylee Trlicek and Hallettsville had a lot to be proud of after winning a school record 30 straight games and overcoming six rounds of the playoffs to reach the UIL Class 3A state final.

But all the senior pitcher could think about was the sting of her high school playing career coming to a close after a 6-2 loss to Emory Rains in the state championship game on Thursday night at Red and Charline McCombs Field.

“We accomplished so much with a team that was supposed to be in a rebuilding year,” Trlicek said. “Yet, we made some really big jumps and had pressure on us being No. 1 in the state. We didn’t let that get to us, and we kept playing our game. It’s bittersweet because everybody wants the gold, but I’m proud of how we did.”

Hallettsville’s loss to Rains was its first since May 17 against Santa Gertrudis Academy.

The Lady Brahmas end the season at 37-2.

“It’s been fun,” said the Florida signee Trlicek, who retired 14 straight batters from the second inning to the sixth inning and finished with nine strikeouts. “The atmosphere and everybody who supported us has been awesome.”

Rains (34-1) struck first with a three-run first inning to back pitcher Chanlee Oakes, who pitched seven innings with six strikeouts.

Elissa Elliott led the Lady Cats with two hits and two RBIs.

Sarah Coffman added insurance for Rains by connecting on a two-run single in the sixth inning to give the Lady Cats a 6-0 lead.

Hallettsville’s young talent was on full-display in the seventh inning when incoming sophomore Courtney Woytek and incoming juniors Emma Grahmann, Kadie Zachary and Julie Michalcik rallied to score the team’s only two runs.

Zachary connected on an RBI double for the Lady Brahmas’ first run to score Grahmann and Michalcik hit an RBI single to score Zachary.

Woytek led the Lady Brahmas with two hits.

“I look for the program to continue being strong,” said Hallettsville coach Mike Mikeska, who coached his final game Thursday night. “Hallettsville softball has been strong and it’s going to continue to be strong. It just wasn’t our night.”

The Lady Brahmas will return 11 players from this year’s team next season, which will include four sophomores, five juniors and two seniors. Hallettsville will graduate three seniors in Trlicek, Hannah Bludau and Abigail Bludau.

“Starting the season, we knew we had a good chance of getting to state if we could get past Santa Gertrudis,” Abigail Bludau said. “Once we got past them, we knew we had it. Coming into state, we knew it was going to be difficult but we went into each game starting off strong. It just didn’t go the way we wanted it to.”

Bludau will attend Texas A&M University next season and will major in psychical therapy.

“They have to keep the mentality,” Abigail Bludau said of the returning players. “We’re losing a few players but they have to go into each game knowing they can get back here. They have the talent and the work ethic.”

Hannah Bludau will attend Texas A&M University’s College of Engineering.

“It was an amazing feeling to come out here with these girls and to fight every day,” Hannah Bludau said. “We put in a lot of hard work, and we had a great season. These girls are awesome, and we never gave up. I’m never going to forget it.”

Trlicek plans to carry everything she’s learned at Hallettsville into college when she attends Florida.

“I want to take the confidence that they instilled in me,” said Trlicek, who plans to major in kinesiology and physiology. “I want to take the support that I had from the community, and the bonds I had with the girls. I hope it all comes with me.”

As he closes his 12-year career as head coach, Mikeska had one last message for his seniors.

“They’re great leaders,” Mikeska said. “They led by example and the other girls followed their lead. They’re great kids and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.”

UIL Class 3A state final

Rains 6, Hallettsville 2

Hallettsville 000 000 2 – 2 7 1

Rains 300 003 X – 6 5 2

W: Chanlee Oakes; L: Rylee Trlicek. Highlights: Kenzi Lange 1-for-3; (H) Courtney Woytek 2-for-4; Kadie Zachary 1-for-3, 2B, RBI; Rylee Trlicek 1-for-3, 2B; Emma Grahmann 1-for-3, 2B, Julie Michalcik 1-for-3, RBI (R) Elissa Elliott 2-for-3, 2 RBIs; Jasmine Mott 1-for-2, 2 R, Chanlee Oakes, 2 RBIs; Sarah Coffman 1-for-3, 2 RBIs. Records: Hallettsville 37-2; Rains 34-1.

Rey Castillo is the assistant sports editor for the Victoria Advocate. He may be reached at rcastillo@vicad.com, 361-574-1240 or on Twitter @reycastillo361.

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