Hallettsville, Texas - What a difference a week makes. After barely scraping by Santa Gertrudis, Hallettsville softball outscored Banquete 22-2 over a pair of blowouts to reach their first state semifinal since 2015.
Said center fielder Courtney Woyzek, "I just think our team chemistry is pretty good. We all seem to get along great, and we have a good work ethic."
Said head coach Mike Mikeska, "They just got that 'will not give up' attitude. It's rubbing off on each other. I've said, you look in their eyes and they're not happy just winning. They want to go all the way."
Said shortstop Emma Grahmann, "First we have to win one game at a time. But, winning a state title means a lot. It proves you're number one in the state. I think it proved all year that we've proven ourselves, we were supposed to be one all year long."
But this Lady Brahmas team is playing for more than just themselves. Before the season, head coach Mike Mikeska announced this year would be his last at the helm. His players' response reflects the culture he's helped build around the program.
"One of our mottos is we're doing it for him. Because it is his last season and he's like a father to us and he treats us all like his daughters. '
Said catcher Julie Michalcik, "At the beginning of the season, whenever he told us he was going to retire, all the team decided we're playing this for him, we want to go to state for him. "
After twelve seasons in charge, it's not lost on Mikeska how special a closing act this is shaping up to be.
"If you were to draw up a perfect scenario, this would be it. But we're still on this journey, and we'll see where it ends up."
When they return, they'll hope to have the school's first state title in a girls' program in tote. Sean Coffey, Newscenter25 Sports