Aledo sophomore Lauren Craine might be the best pitcher Hays softball coach Aaron Fuller has never seen.
Fuller knows all about Craine’s gaudy statistics this season: 30 victories against only two losses, a 1.43 ERA and 184 strikeouts in 171 innings. But Fuller, the second-year coach of the Lady Rebels, has not watched Craine throw — live or on video.
“It’s not like football, volleyball or basketball, where you can find tape anywhere,” Fuller said. “Softball and baseball, we don’t tape our games.”
Fuller said he has spoken to a few coaches who have seen Craine pitch, but he has not learned enough to gain a decent scouting report. He hopes to learn more about Craine before Hays (30-10) and Aledo (40-3) play Friday in a Class 4A state semifinal at the UIL softball tournament. The tournament opens Wednesday at McCombs Field and continues through Saturday.
Hays’ record is misleading because the Lady Rebels forfeited the first five games of the season — all victories — for using an ineligible player in those contests. Fuller said a “paperwork error” regarding a transfer student eventually was resolved, and that player is now on the team’s roster.
Hays will be making its first appearance at state, but this will be Fuller’s second trip to a state tournament. He was a senior shortstop for the Jarrell baseball team that reached state in 2004.
Diamond bits: Eight players at the state softball tournament also played on teams that reached the state volleyball tournament this past fall. Six of them are from La Grange. Rebecca Proske, Madison Knesek, Hannah Gerecke, Elizabeth Read, Riley Fisbeck and Breanna Homer helped the Lady Leopards reach Class 3A title game, where they lost to Abilene Wylie in five sets. … The four teams comprising the Class 4A semifinalists — Hays, Aledo, Richmond Foster and Lucas Lovejoy — had combined for just one appearance at the state softball tournament before this season. Aledo reached state in 2008, winning the 4A title. … Deer Park in Class 5A and Lufkin Hudson in Class 3A are seeking consecutive championships. Deer Park returned eight starters from a year ago while Lufkin Hudson welcomed back five starters. … Lewisville can thank Maribeth Gorsuch, a 5-foot-10-inch freshman pitcher, for helping the Lady Farmers reach their first state tournament in any sport since 1999. Gorsuch allowed only one run over 16 innings as Lewisville won a three-game, regional-final series against Flower Mound Marcus. … Mineola, a Class 3A school, leads the 20 tournament entrants with 111 runs scored in the postseason, but Albany’s average of 12.4 runs per postseason game tops the tournament field.
UIL state softball tournament
Wednesday-Saturday, McCombs Field
TV: FSSW (Class 4A and 5A semifinals Friday, Class 3A final Saturday); FSSW Plus (Class 4A and 5A finals Saturday)
Tickets: $5, students; $10, adults; $85, all-tournament pass
Class A semifinals
9 a.m.: Ivanhoe Sam Rayburn (30-2) vs. Albany (26-3)
Noon: Weimar (33-3) vs. Beckville (29-8)
Class 2A semifinals
3 p.m.: Pilot Point (38-2-1) vs. Garrison (23-9)
6 p.m.: Santa Gertrudis Academy (38-4) vs. Hawley (31-7)
Class 3A semifinals
9 a.m.: Burkburnett (31-5-1) vs. Lufkin Hudson (36-7-1)
Noon: La Grange (38-3) vs. Mineola (30-8)
Class A and 2A finals
3 p.m.: Class A final
6 p.m.: Class 2A final
Class 4A semifinals
9 a.m.: Richmond Foster (31-4) vs. Lucas Lovejoy (34-8)
Noon: Aledo (40-3) vs. Hays (30-10)
Class 5A semifinals
3 p.m.: Humble Kingwood (34-3) vs. Deer Park (37-4)
6 p.m.: San Benito (34-2) vs. Lewisville (29-13)
Class 3A, 4A and 5A finals
10 a.m.: Class 3A final
1 p.m.: Class 4A final
4 p.m.: Class 5A final