SANTA FE — They may have taken different roads, but both Santa Fe’s softball and baseball teams continue to move forward in the state playoffs.
The Lady Indians, ranked No. 10 in the Class 4A poll, entered the postseason as district champions and a favorite to make a deep run in the regional bracket.
Santa Fe head coach Trish Leidy said the gelling of personalities and the players understanding their roles have been keys to the team’s success.
“The chemistry they have together is just something you have to have for us to be where we are now,” Leidy said.
Santa Fe’s baseball squad, on the other hand, have been underdogs since the playoffs began, entering the postseason as the third-place seed from District 24-4A.
Indians head coach Ronnie Wulf feels the team has been steadily improving throughout the season, culminating in last week’s thrilling come-from-behind series win over defending state champion Tomball.
“We’re hoping that (momentum) carries us on to the next round,” Wulf said. “Once you get here, everyone is really good. There’s not a lot of difference between any of the teams. It’s just about who executes and gets the job done.”
For baseball, the next round brings the Indians a District 24-4A opponent and rival in the Friendswood Mustangs, adding local bragging rights to the task of surviving in the playoffs.
The two teams split their games in the regular season, and with Friendswood moving up in classification next year, the playoff series could represent the last word in the rivalry for some time.
“I think (the players) get a little more fired up because it’s Friendswood,” Wulf said. “I’d be lying if I said they didn’t.”
In the Lady Indians’ matchup, the team will be looking to solve a riddle that all opponents during the regular season and three playoff foes have yet to figure out — beating undefeated No. 1-ranked Barbers Hill. The task has given an added spark to Santa Fe’s players.
“We’re extra fired up because they’re ranked No. 1 and are undefeated, and we want to be the team that beats them,” third baseman Mycahla Howard said.
While the series puts the Lady Indians in the unfamiliar role of heavy underdog, Howard said the team is peaking at just the right time to give the top-ranked Lady Eagles a stiff challenge.
“I think they’re going to underestimate us and we’re coming at them hotter than we’ve ever been before,” Howard said.
The Lady Indians’ regional semifinal series with Barbers Hill will be played at The Woodlands College Park High School. It begins at 6:30 p.m. tonight, with Game 2 slated for 6:30 p.m. Friday and Game 3, if needed, scheduled 2 p.m. Saturday.
Santa Fe and Friendswood begin their regional quarterfinal series at Alvin High School at 7 p.m.tonight. Game 2 will be 7 p.m. Friday, and Game 3, if needed, will be 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
Class 4A softball, fourth round
Santa Fe vs. Barbers Hill
At The Woodlands College Park
Game 1: 6:30 p.m. today
Game 2: 6:30 p.m. Friday
*Game 3: 2 p.m. Saturday
Class 4A baseball, third round
Friendswood vs. Santa Fe
At Alvin High School
Game 1: 7 p.m. today
Game 2: 7 p.m. Friday
*Game 3: 12:30 p.m. Saturday
*- if necessary