The softball playoffs begin Monday in front of a home crowd for the Bishop Lynch Lady Friars, who are looking to show that they are not to be overlooked as a state tournament favorite.
Bishop Lynch (17-10) missed out on at least a share of the district title for the first time in more than a decade, but still finished third, high enough to secure home field advantage in the opening round.
They will play host to St. Pius X (6-10-1), the fourth-place team out of the Houston district. The two teams will meet at Ferguson Park on Monday at 2 pm. The winner advances to face St. Agnes in the regional finals.
Despite their losing record, SPX has proven to be a competitive team in every game, except two district losses to St. Agnes, by scores of 15-2 and 15-1. The Panthers' offense has also shown it can put up numbers, posting run totals of 26, 12 and 10 during wins over Incarnate Word (Houston), Second Baptist and Concordia Lutheran.
The Lady Friars are 8-2 at Ferguson Park this season and went 6-0 at home in the month of April, outscoring opponents 90-13 over that time. BL will look to ride the hot streak of senior Riley Cantrell, currently holding a .569 batting average with 37 hits, 40 RBI, 36 runs, 16 doubles and seven home runs. The Marshall signee has homered in four consecutive games.
Thrash will look to cool down the SPX bats in her fourth-career playoff start (1-2). The three-year starting pitcher struck out 158 batters and holds an earned run average of 5.40 while winning 14 games.
Before diving into postseason play, the Lady Friars will host Fort Worth THESA on Thursday evening for a warmup contest at 5 pm. The two teams have already met once this season, an 11-5 Lady Friar win on April 16.