Call it the summer of softball.
For four Central Texas-area Little League programs, the long summer season will roll on this weekend. Not that they’re complaining, mind you.
The Midway 8-10 softball all-stars, Lake Air’s major girls, Lorena’s junior team and the Central Texas senior all-stars from the Killeen area will all represent District 9 in the Texas West State Championships beginning on Saturday in Abilene.
“We’ve really got some strong softball teams this year,” said District 9 administrator Eddie Burns. “I definitely think we’ve got some that could keep it going. I know all those teams – Midway, Lake Air, Lorena – they’re all so strong and well-coached.”
Lake Air, managed by David Rodriguez, added a Section 2 title to the city and district crowns it had already won, and did so in dominant fashion. In two games against Fort Worth University in nearby West, Lake Air motored to lopsided wins of 26-0 and 24-0.
Lake Air will open up state tournament play at 5:30 p.m. Saturday against Section 4 champion Alice in Abilene. The other two teams at the tournament, which runs through Tuesday, are Section 3 winner Greater Helotes and Section 1 champ Idalou.
Should Lake Air make it through the state bracket, it would get to return home to play for the Southwestern Regional title July 27-Aug. 1 at the regional complex off University Parks Drive. The winner of the regional crown would advance to the Little League Softball World Series Aug. 9-16 in Portland, Ore.
“We’d love to see Lake Air make it back to Waco,” Burns said.
In the 8-10 division, Midway’s all-stars have proven formidable this summer as well. In two games at the Section 2 tournament, Midway crushed Mineral Wells by a combined score of 26-1.
Midway will open up play at the Texas West State Tournament against Ralls at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. The other two teams in the tournament are Greater Helotes, out of the San Antonio area, and West Brownsville. The tournament will run through Tuesday.
Like its younger counterparts, Lorena swept its way to the Section 2 junior softball title in West last weekend. Lorena defeated Fort Worth University, 26-4, in the opener and then cruised to an 18-2 win in the clincher. It marked the second straight sectional banner for the team.
Lorena will face Section 4 champ East Brownsville at 5:30 p.m. Saturday to tip off the state tournament. Greater Helotes and Lockney will meet immediately following that game. If Lorena wins the state title, it will advance to the Southwestern Regional Championships July 22-26 in Los Alamos, N.M.
The Central Texas senior all-stars will face Childress at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in their state tournament opener. The senior tournament features just three teams, the other being Los Fresnos. The winner between Central Texas and Childress will face Los Fresnos at 5:30 Sunday.