EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – With a win over South Grand Prairie on Friday in the Class 6A Region I Semifinals, Americas did something that only two El Paso schools have ever done before.
The Trail Blazers joined a pair of Bel Air teams from the 1990s and the 2017 Chapin Huskies as the only Sun City softball squads to every qualify for the Regional Finals (Elite 8).
Now, in a three-game Region I Finals series this week vs. Flower Mound Marcus, Americas will look to become the second El Paso team to ever make the Final Four in Austin, joining Bel Air.
“It’s always been a dream, it’s always been a, ‘what if?'” said Americas senior third baseman Sabrina Carrillo. “Now getting so close to it and being on the edge of our seats for it, it’s an absolutely amazing feeling.”
In the process of making history, Americas has had a flair for the dramatic, especially in last week’s Sweet 16. After taking game one from South Grand Prairie 11-1, the Trail Blazers led game two 4-0 entering the seventh inning, but gave up four runs in the top of the frame. Despite the turn of events, Americas never wavered.
With a runner on third, Americas’ Christalynne Sepulveda drilled a no-doubt walk-off home run to give the Trail Blazers a 6-4 win and send them on to the Elite 8. Americas is stacked with collegiate talent, including a few Division I prospects. The moment never got too big for them.
“I knew we had the top of the lineup coming up so I knew we had a really good shot at scoring a run,” said senior center fielder Sydney Saenz, who is signed to play at Oregon State. “After we got a runner on I knew we would score a run eventually, I just didn’t know how. I’m glad ‘Lynne hit that home run, it really benefitted us. The dugout was hyped and everyone enjoyed it.”
Standing in the Trail Blazers’ way of the first Final 4 in program history – and the first for an El Paso team in almost 30 years – is a Flower Mound Marcus team that finished in fourth place in its district and snuck into the postseason. However, Marcus has gotten red hot in the postseason and has some talent of its own, with players committed to LSU and Oklahoma State.
It will by no means be an easy three-game set for Americas with the Final Four on the line, but they’ve proved the state of Texas wrong throughout their extended playoff run. Just two wins away from a trip to State in Austin, they’re trying not to get ahead of themselves.
“Softball athletes and coaches know it’s a bit superstitious to think ahead,” said Trail Blazers head coach Roxanne Luna. “It’s exciting, but we’re taking it one game at a time, one week at a time. That’s been our mentality. Let’s get through this week and then focus on next week.”
Americas has stayed loose during its run by spending every Monday having a water balloon fight at practice. The tradition continued on Monday, three days before the biggest game in school history.
Americas and Flower Mound Marcus will play a three-game series for the right to go to the Final Four beginning Thursday. All three games will be played at Frenship High School, outside Lubbock.
Game one will begin at 6:30 p.m. MT on Thursday; game two will be Friday at 6:30 p.m. MT. If necessary, game three would be played at 9 a.m. MT on Saturday morning.