SULPHUR — The end of an era isn’t usually cause for celebration, but this one set off a wild party on a soaking wet field at Frasch Park Saturday night.
Baylee Corbello’s high school career was capped in a special way. It closed with a Sam Houston 8-0 victory against Mount Carmel and a third straight Class 5A state title at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Fast Pitch 56 State Tournament.
She ended with her 16th strikeout of the night on her 127th pitch.
Steady sprinkles that at times came down much harder could not rain on her parade or the Broncos.
Corbello closed her Sam Houston career with a 23-1 playoff record.
“I just love it here,” said Corbello. “We love playing here.”
She was not the only Bronco feeling that way.
“This is an awesome feeling,” said senior catcher Tori Lantz. “This is how it had to end.”
This was a different journey to the championship for Sam Houston, which started slow as Corbello recovered from an injury that kept her limited to just hitting and turned the pitching over to freshman Tanner Wright.
“We had to count on a lot of other people,” said Lantz. “That made it tougher but more exciting. I think in the end it helped. It may have made it even better.”
Lantz gave Corbello the only run she needed with an RBI single that scored the Sam Houston ace from second in the top of the first inning.
The Broncos finished the season 20-9, coming into the playoffs as the 19th seed.
“Rankings mean nothing; it is how you play,” Corbello said.
But the Broncos were at their best down the stretch.
“We came together and wanted to finish this with another championship,” Lantz said.
Sophomore Taylor Edwards had a big weekend. It was her three-run homer in the semifinal that propelled Sam Houston into the title game. She had three hits and four RBIs in the finale.
“I was not playing well early, batting ninth, but things got better,” Edwards said. “To be able to contribute is great. We had to work hard to get back here but we did it. It was worth it.”
Corbello allowing four hits and four walks, but when she needed them she got the big outs.
“We expect to win here,” said Corbello, who was voted the tournament MVP. “We know what it takes to win here. We know how to play in big games.”
It showed as the Broncos never let Mount Carmel (22-8) have a chance.
Edwards’ RBI double highlighted the four-run fifth that put the game away. She added a two-run single an inning later.
All nine of the Sam Houston starters reached base as the Broncos picked up 12 hits.
“We have had to be a team all year,” said Lantz. “It is something that came out of the struggles. In the past we have counted on Baylee to get us through, but this year this team had to show it had more than just her.”
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