The brackets have been set and Danbury Lady Panthers continue the defense of their 2011 UIL Class 2A state championship when the state tournament gets underway on Wednesday at McCombs Field on the University of Texas campus in Austin.
Montgomery in Class 4A and Deer Park and Klein Collins in Class 5A will all wait to play on Friday.
Danbury is the only 2011 champion from all five UIL classifications that has made a return trip to the state tournament in 2012. Powered by eight returning players from the 2011 team, and led by junior pitcher Kaylee Garner (23-7), the Lady Panthers’ 27-7 record may lull their opponents into a false sense of security.
When Danbury lost Game 1 of their best-of-three series to Santa Gertrudis Academy in last week’s regional final round, it was their first loss all season to another Class 2A team.
The Lady Panthers lost four games to Class 5A playoff teams this season – Brazoswood, Alvin, Austin Westlake and Bellaire – and dropped two games to their Class 3A neighbors, Sweeny and Columbia.
Against the Region IV Class 2A teams in their playoff run, Danbury has allowed just ten runs in nine games.
Their state semifinal opponent, the Crawford Pirates (34-2) have dominated in central Texas this season, but are making the school’s first trip to a softball state tourney.
The Danbury-Crawford game will be broadcast live by the Legacy Sports Network, with the pregame show beginning at 5:45 p.m.
Montgomery (33-6) is the top-seeded 4A team and will face Forney (32-7-2) in the Class 4A state semifinal early game on Friday morning at 9:00 a.m.
Should Klein Collins (30-4) and Deer Park (29-8) survive their Class 5A semifinal matchups, it would set up an all-Houston state championship game. But both teams will be considered underdogs against their higher-seeded opponents.
Still, Klein Collins knocked off top-ranked The Woodlands to get to Austin and Deer Park knocked out several state-ranked opponents on their Region III road to the tournament.
Here is the state semifinal schedule for the Houston-area teams:
CLASS 5A STATE SEMIFINAL
Plano East (I-5A, 35-3) vs. Klein Collins (II-5A, 30-4)
- Friday 6/1/12 at 3:00 p.m.
San Antonio O’Connor (IV-5A, 31-2) vs. Deer Park (III-5A, 29-8)
- Friday 6/1/12 at 6:00 p.m.
CLASS 4A STATE SEMIFINAL
Montgomery (III-4A, 33-6) vs. Forney (I-4A, 32-7-2)
- Friday 6/1/12 at 9:00 a.m.
CLASS 2A STATE SEMIFINAL
Crawford (II-2A, 34-2) vs. Danbury (IV-2A, 27-7)
- Wednesday 5/30/12 at 6:00 p.m.