AUSTIN, Texas (KTSM) – They’re the first El Paso team to make the UIL Final 4 in almost 30 years and Americas is hoping to make a little more history now.
The Trail Blazers (33-6) will play in their first-ever Class 6A state semifinals vs. Northside O’Connor (30-1) at 4 p.m. CT on Friday afternoon at the University of Texas, with the winner advancing to face either Deer Park or Lake Ridge for the state championship on Saturday night.
Americas arrived in the Texas state capital on Thursday morning via an early morning flight from El Paso. The team took a trip to Zilker Park upon arrival, then held one final practice in the mid-afternoon Austin heat to get them acclimated to the climate they’ll experience at 4 p.m. Friday afternoon.
“It’s a different kind of heat than we see in El Paso,” said Americas head coach Roxanne Luna. “Playing in the middle of the day like that, I wanted them to be ready for it.”
Americas has run through five rounds of the postseason with just two losses in five weeks, after splitting the District 1-6A championship with Eastwood on the final night of the regular season.
It’s an experienced roster that Luna has brought to within two wins of a state championship. All eight of Americas’ seniors have signed to play collegiate softball, led by Oregon State signee, centerfielder Sydney Saenz.
They made history and joined Bel Air high school as the only two Sun City softball teams to ever make it to the state tournament and it was those seniors that led the way.
“We’ve all come together and made each other better and stronger. We’ve been able to pick each other up at our lowest, set an example and leave the best mark that we could,” said Americas senior third baseman Sabrina Carrillo.
The Trail Blazers won’t be favored in Friday’s state semifinals against a Northside O’Connor team that some publications believe is one of the best 10 programs in the entire nation.
That underdog mentality is something Americas has taken to heart over the last few weeks, particularly with Sweet 16 and Elite 8 wins over a pair of Dallas-Fort Worth teams.
“I think that’s been the difference between some of the other teams. It’s not just about talent it’s about who wants it more,” said Luna.
The Trail Blazers hope they can continue their magical postseason run in Austin with two more wins this weekend and bring home the first softball state championship in the history of El Paso.
KTSM 9 Sports Reporter Sam Guzman is in Austin with the Trail Blazers and will have complete, exclusive coverage of Americas’ Final 4 run all weekend.