The four Class 5A UIL softball regional final series will be played this week and half of them will be played in the Houston area.
Both the Region II and Region III series involve two Houston-area teams and assure the city of two state tournament semifinalists.
Two of the teams will also be attempting to make a return trip to the state tournament. Tomball, who plays The Woodlands, was the Region II champion in 2010. Pearland is the defending Class 5A state champion. But in order to earn a return trip, both those teams must get past tough opponents.
Here’s a look at the matchups and the regional finalists:
Class 5A Region II
The Woodlands vs. Tomball (Best-of-3 Series)
- Thursday at Tomball (7:00 PM)
- Friday at The Woodlands (7:00 PM)
- Saturday (if needed) at Magnolia (7:00 PM)
THE WOODLANDS HIGHLANDERS (40-0): Undefeated. Period.The Lady Highlanders are ranked No. 1 in the nation and the state of Texas in multiple polls and have not only won, but dominated their opponents all season long. The Woodlands has outscored opponents 372-38. They have recorded 22 shutouts. Junior pitcher Paige McDuffee is 33-0 and has allowed just 18 earned runs all season.
TOMBALL LADY COUGARS (33-4): Under head coach Benita Dunlavy, who picked up her 500th win last week, the District 13-5A champions have gone 7-1 in the playoffs while outscoring their opponents, 79-28. Tomball has played in five state tournaments in the school’s history, but will be an underdog to their undefeated opponents this week.
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Class 5A Region III
Pearland vs. Dobie (Single Game)
- Thursday at Manvel (7:00 PM)
- Friday at Manvel (7:00 PM)
- Saturday (if needed) at Manvel (7:00 PM)
PEARLAND LADY OILERS (33-13): Pearland will be looking to make its third consecutive trip to the state tournament in Austin. But the Lady Oilers weren’t necessarily a favorite to be in this position a few weeks ago. Finishing as the third-place team from 24-5A (after being champs of 22-5A in 2009 and 2010), Pearland has knocked out a pair of district champions to make it to the regional final, including last week’s sweep of 20-5A champions Bellaire.
DOBIE LADY LONGHORNS (31-10): Dobie was one of the first—arguably the very first—high school softball powers in the state, winning three of the first five state titles in the 1990s. Since softball became a UIL-sanctioned sport in 1993, Lady Longhorn teams have qualified for the playoffs every year, or 19 consecutive years. This season, they were the runner-up in 22-5A and are coming off a single-game victory in the regional semifinal round over 19-5A champs Katy Taylor.
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Class 4A Region III
Santa Fe vs. Montgomery (Best-of-3 Series)
- Thursday at Morton Ranch (7:00 PM)
- Friday at Morton Ranch (7:00 PM)
- Saturday (if needed) at Morton Ranch (2:00 PM)
SANTA FE LADY INDIANS (33-5): Santa Fe has gone 6-1 in their playoff run with their only loss coming in a 1-0 decision against Bay City in their third-round opener. During the regular season, three of their four losses were to 5A regional finalists Pearland (twice) and Dobie (once). They opened some eyes with their blowout sweep against Huntsville last week with 11-0 and 15-3 wins. If previous meetings give an advantage to a team at this stage in the season, give Santa Fe a nod: they defeated Montgomery 3-1 on March 3.
MONTGOMERY LADY BEARS (34-6): Montgomery comes off a big sweep of the Angleton Wildcats in last week’s semifinal round. In fact, the Lady Bears enter the regional final round on a 17-game winning streak. Junior Katelyn Sanders has picked up 25 wins in the circle while junior Cali Lanphear has supplied the power at the plate with 13 home runs.