AUSTIN – Hallettsville junior Kenzi Lange had flashbacks when she walked onto Red and Charline McCombs Field on Wednesday.
Lange remembered watching sisters Kenna and Kendyl from the stands when they represented the Lady Brahmas during the 2015 UIL State championships.
Kenzi Lange was in middle school at the time but now she’s finally getting the chance to shine on the big stage.
“I was here before when my sisters played here and it helped me gain experience,” Lange said. “It helped me gain experience and take it all in.”
Lange made the most of her state debut by erupting for four hits – including two hits and four RBIs in the fifth inning to power Hallettsville to a 12-2 UIL Class 3A state semifinal win over Danbury.
Hannah Bludau hit the game-winning RBI single to end the game in five innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.
The Lady Brahmas (37-1) will return to Red and Charline McCombs Field to play Emory Rains, a 4-2 winner over Brock in the state final game at 6 p.m. Thursday.
“It means so much since coach (Mike) Mikeska is in his last year,” Lange said. “We wanted to go out with a bang for him and our seniors.”
Rylee Trlicek got the start for Hallettsville and finished with seven strikeouts in five innings.
The Lady Panthers (29-6) scored two runs (one unearned) off Trlicek but the Lady Brahmas ace settled down in the circle and heated up at the plate to keep Hallettsville in the game.
Trlicek stepped up to bat in the third inning with the Lady Brahmas trailing 2-0 and tied the game on a two-run home run – her third of the playoffs.
“You can tell we went in with a little bit of nerves but we didn’t let it get to us,” Trlicek said. “In the the third inning, I thought “all right girls, this is our time.’ Everybody helped, but we’re not done yet. We want to take this into tomorrow. It feels good but it’s not over yet.”
Rylee Trlicek finished with seven strikeouts in Hallettsville’s 12-2 win over Danbury. Trlicek also hit a two-run home run in the third inning and finished with 3 RBIs. @ryleetrlicek @hbteams pic.twitter.com/R5a99LDMhT— Rey Castillo (@reycastillo361) May 29, 2019
Hallettsville batted around in the fifth inning and connected on five hits. The Lady Brahmas outhit Danbury 11-5 in the contest.
“They won’t give up,” said Hallettsville coach Mike Mikeska on the Lady Brahmas trailing early. “They will not give up because they believe they can do it. They won’t take no for answer, and it’s so amazing just to watch them. They have that look in their eyes like they can overcome anything.”
Hallettsville had its best inning when it scored 10 runs in the fifth inning.
Lange had a two-run, RBI double, a two-run, RBI single, Woytek had an RBI single, Kadie Zachary had a sacrifice fly, Abigail Bludau had an RBI fielder’s choice, Graci Shimek battled back from a 0-2 deficit to draw a bases loaded walk and Hannah Bludau sealed the game with an RBI single.
“We came in positive because we don’t only want to win it for our team, we want to win it for coach Mikeska,” Shimek said. “Everyone deserves it, and we’re going to stay hyped up and go into Thursday feeling pumped up and positive.”
Mikeska was happy to be back in the state final, but all could think about was coaching his players for the last time.
“Personally it feels good but it’s not about me,” Mikeska said. “This is about them, and I’m so glad for them because they’re getting to experience this. This is the third time we’re here in the finals. We’re one of the two teams still standing.”
UIL Class 3A state semifinal
Hallettsville 12, Danbury 2 (5 innings)
Danbury 101 00 – 2 5 1
Hallettsville 002 010 X – 12 11 2
W: Rylee Trlicek (24-1); L: Brooklyn Swacker. Highlights: (D) Maddy Garza 2-for-3, 2 R; Maddy Ahart 2-for-3, RBI; Paige Ham 1-for-2. (H) Kenzi Lange 4-for-4, 2B, 2 R, 4 RBIs; Rylee Trlicek 1-for-3, 2-run HR, R, 3 RBIs; Courtney Woytek 2-for-3, RBI; Hannah Bludau 2-for-4, RBI; Abigail Bludau 1-for-3, 2 R, RBI; Graci Shimek 1-for-2, R. Records: Hallettsville 37-1; Danbury 29-6.