CRAWFORD — Three years ago, Bailey Murphy caught the final out to give Crawford its second state championship in three years.
Friday afternoon, she played her final game at home as Crawford crushed Hico 15-0 in three innings in the District 10-2A finale.
Murphy – who made the big play as a freshman – is the last link to that 2014 title team.
“She’s bridged that gap to these teams here,” Crawford coach Kirk Allen said. “It meant a lot, just her leadership and all that she’s brought to the team, especially since we have a lot of freshmen playing this year.”
Against Hico, Murphy recorded an RBI as the Lady Pirates run-ruled Hico in three innings.
She later scored off a double by Kyla Mach.
And then Joani Kohlscheen stepped to the plate and clobbered a three-run home run over the left field wall to end the game.
While the offense was rolling – 15 runs off seven hits – the defense kept Hico off the bases completely.
Crawford retired Hico in order every inning as pitcher Cambree Aguirre had three strikeouts and forced four groundouts.
“It was a good team effort. It’s the way we’ve been playing all season. Good pitching and good hitting and defense. That’s basically what we’ve been doing all year.”
While Allen made it seem mundane – like this type of showing in all aspects of the game happens every day – Friday’s victory over Hico marked a 14-0 season in district play for the Lady Pirates.
Allen couldn’t put his finger on the last time his team did that. But he knew exactly how the Lady Pirates accomplished the feat.
“Lots of hard work,” Allen said. “That’s the way we do it all the time. We love to hit, so we do a lot of hitting in practice. They’re used to putting in a lot of hard work, and they like it. That makes my job a lot easier.”
Now, Crawford turns its attention to the playoffs.
In 2016, the Lady Pirates fell in the state semi-finals. In 2015, Crawford fell in the regional quarterfinals after winning it all in 2014.
The Lady Pirates have advanced to the playoffs in every year but one over the past two decades.
This year, Crawford has a bye in the bi-district round before facing the winner between the runner up in 11-2A and the third place team in 12-2A.
“We know it’s going to be very difficult,” Allen said. “Every week you’ve got to be focused because there have been years we thought we had a better team and have gotten beat. Every week counts. Everything is going to be tough. It will take hard work every day in practice. We have to get better from where we are now if we want to get to where we want to go.”