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Lady Cardinals capture 2022 TAPPS IV state softball championship

Thursday, May 26, 2022
by Mark Lube, Gazette Sports Editor

Cardinal Softball   |   St. Paul Cardinal Sports Home Page

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The TAPPS IV 2022 state championship St. Paul Lady Cardinals team. Bottom row, from left, are Sydney Green, Rayleigh Biehunko, Seryna Garza and Emily Pilat. Middle row, from left, are Julia Machacek, Paris Flach and Ashlyn Pesek. Top row, from left, are assistant coach Karli Rodriguez, Emily Moeller, Jessica Fikac, Dallyn Pesek, Gracie Machart, Stefany Pokluda, Brooke Cerny, Tori Walker, Gabby Rodriguez, Alyssa Jasek, Samantha Moeller, head coach Lance Giese and assistant coach David Pokluda.
Photo by Mark Lube
[ click photo to enlarge ]
ARLINGTON - The Lady Cardinals wrapped up the 2022 softball season with the TAPPS IV state softball championship.

St. Paul came back to beat Huntsville Alpha Omega on Friday ( May 20, 2022 ) and won convincingly against Ovilla Christian on Saturday ( May 21, 2022 ), all at the University of Texas at Arlington's Allan Saxe Softball Field.

It was the best possible end to the high school softball and overall athletic careers of Rayleigh Biehunko, Sydney Green, Seryna Garza and Emily Pilat, the team's four seniors.

"We had a little rough start yesterday (semifinal against Alpha Omega) but I knew we would come out with a win," Garza said. "And today (championship game against Ovilla Christian), we knew we wanted it more than them. And we brought it."

"This means everything. Getting to play with these girls and how great we have all been throughout this season," Green said. "I think the state final win proved what we are capable of and how much of a family we are."

"This is just such a great way to go out of St. Paul," Pilat said. "We are graduating tomorrow (May 22) and it feels good to win a state championship the day before."

"I am not even sure how to describe it," Biehunko said. "It is the best possible way to go out."

Green, Tori Walker, Biehunko and Garza all made the All-Tournament Team.


Save for a hiccup in the third box, the Lady Cardinals dominated the state final against Ovilla Christian 17-4.

St. Paul had a great last time at the plate for 2022 with 12 hits led by Green who went 4-for-4, home run, two doubles, a triple, two runs and three RBI.

Green also earned a win in her last start at pitcher with four runs on three hits, two walks, one batter hit and four strikeouts.

St. Paul was the visitors in the game and got to work immediately with a Green triple at the start. Her runner Brooke Cerny scored when Ashlyn Pesek grounded out to shortstop.

Biehunko and Walker were both walked; Biehunko later scored on a passed ball and runner Jessica Fikac advanced home on a groundout sacrifice by Julia Machacek.

Garza was walked, stole second and then third before stealing home for a 4-0 St. Paul lead.

In the second frame, Stefany Pokluda got a leadoff walk and took second on a wild pitch. She went home on Green's two-run homer to put St. Paul up 6-0. Ovilla Christian then rallied for three straight outs.

Garza got a hit and Gracie Machart doubled in the third but St. Paul did not get a run in. In the bottom of the third, Ovilla Christian got two hits and took advantage of three errors to score four runs to cut the lead down to two.

In the fourth, Green got a one-out walk and Ashlyn Pesek was walked too; Cerny was later called out at third and Ashlyn Pesek went home on an Biehunko double.

Machacek and Garza were each walked in the fifth. Machart reached on an error and Machacek scored. Garza scored when Paris Kutac grounded out to shortstop.

Machart put St. Paul up 10-4 when she scored on a passed ball. The bottom of the fifth went quick: Ovilla Christian got a leadoff single, followed by Garza securing a line out and quickly throwing to Biehunko at first to turn the double play. Garza then tossed a relay to Biehunko on the next ball batted to complete the inning.

The Lady Cardinals had their best inning in the sixth - Biehunko singled and scored on Walker's RBI triple; Machacek was walked and Cerny came on to run for her while Dallyn Pesek had replaced Walker on the bases.

Dallyn Pesek scored on a passed ball and Cerny went home on a Garza double. Machart and Kutac were walked with Garza scoring on a passed ball. Fikac got a base hit and Kutac scored on Green's double.

Ashlyn Pesek scored Green for St. Paul's 17th run on a single.

Ovilla Christian got a two-out walk in the bottom of the sixth but could not score to extend the game.

      BOX SCORE:

      St. Paul hitting/offense - Sydney Green, 4-4, 1 home run, 2 runs, 1 triple, 2 doubles, 3 RBI;
      Seryna Garza, 2-2, 3 runs, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 stolen bases; Rayleigh Biehunko, 2-4, 2 runs, 1 double, 1 RBI;
      Tori Walker, 1-3, 1 triple, 1 RBI; Gracie Machart, 1-2, 1 run, 1 double, 2 stole bases;
      Ashlyn Pesek, 1-2, 1 run, 2 RBI, 1 stolen base; Jessica Fikac, 1-1, 1 run; Julia Machacek, 1 run, 1 RBI;
      Brooke Cerny, 2 runs; Paris Kutac, 1 run, 1 RBI; Stefany Pokluda, 1 run; Dallyn Pesek, 1 run.

      St. Paul pitching - Green, 4 IP, winning pitcher, 3 hits, 4 runs, 1 hit by pitch, 2 walks, 4K;
      Machacek, 2 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 3K.

      St. Paul fielding/defense - Biehunko, 4 putouts; Machart, 2 putouts; Ashlyn Pesek, 2 putouts;
      Garza, 1 putout, 3 assists; Walker, 1 putout; Kutac, 1 putout; Stefany Polkuda, 1 assists; Green, 1 assist.

                   123 456 7  R  H  E
      St. Paul     420 137 x 17 12  3
      Ovilla Chr.  004 000 x  4  4  1

      SP - Sydney Green, Julia Machacek (5) and Tori Walker, Emily Pilat (6).
      OC - Abigail Howell and Jessica Marshall. W - Green.
      L  - Howell.

      HR- SP: Green.
      3B - SP: Green, Walker.
      2B - SP:Green (2), Rayleigh Biehunko, Seryna Garza, Gracie Machart.



St. Paul had a slow start to the state semifinal game.

Adversity paid the Lady Cardinals softball team a visit on Friday afternoon (May 20) against Huntsville Alpha Omega.

St. Paul improved overall and threw adversity out in rallying for an 11-4 win.

"It is good to get experience dealing with adversity," Biehunko said.

"We did not have to deal with too much adversity during the season. It was good that we came back and battled."

The Lady Lions scored three runs on three hits and one error in the top of the first and St. Paul in the bottom of the first despite some errors.

The Lady Cardinals began doing better at the plate in the bottom of the third as Kutac led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice groundout from Ashlyn Pesek. The Lady Lions intentionally walked pitcher Green.

With two outs, Biehunko got a two-run double to get St. Paul within 3-2 and she scored on Tori Walker's double.

"We just had to keep working and getting better, Biehunko said. "As the game went on, we got better and worked as a team."

"We did not start well in the first inning. After that, we settled down," St. Paul head coach Lance Giese said. "We started getting base runners, started hitting the ball. We just started locking in at the plate and we are a good batting team once we do that."

Alpha Omega's second batter of the fourth, Anna Short, dropped a ball into right field and nearly got a base hit except for Machacek grabbing the ball and making the throw to Biehunko just a split second before Short reached base.

St. Paul broke the tie in the bottom of the fourth when Garza earned a leadoff walk and scored on Ashlyn Pesek's sacrifice fly to left field.

The Lady Lions nearly got a tying run home in the fifth frame but a throw from Green to Walker at home on a fielder's choice prevented the score.

St. Paul added three runs to its lead at its turn at the plate in the fifth - Walker got a oneout double and runner Fikac reached third on a sacrifice groundout from Machacek. Garza tripled in Fikac and continued to third on an error; Machart was walked; Garza's runner, Cerny, later scored on a passed ball. Machart stole second; stole third and went home on an error.

St. Paul went up 11-3 in the bottom of the sixth when Pesek started things with at triple. Green received her third intentional walk and stole second. Pokluda was walked.

Biehunko reached on an error while Green scored and Pokluda made it to third. She later scored on a passed ball.

Biehunko advanced home on a Machacek double for the 11th St. Paul run.

In the top of the sixth, the Lady Lions got two hits, one a double and drove in one run but could not get any closer.

      BOX SCORE:

      St. Paul hitting/offense - Walker, 2-3, 2 doubles, 1 RBI; Ashlyn Pesek, 1-1, 1 run, 1 triple, 1 RBI;
      Biehunko, 1-4, 2 runs, 1 double, 2 RBI; Garza, 1-2, 1 run, 1 triple, 1 RBI; Machacek, 1-3, 1 double, 1 RBI;
      Kutac, 1-4, 1 run; Cerny, 2 runs; Green, 1 run, 1 stolen base; Pokluda, 1 run; Machart, 1 run, 2 stolen bases;
      Fikac, 1 run, 1 stolen base.

      St. Paul pitching -Green, 6.2 IP, winning pitcher, 6 hits, 4 runs, 4 walks, 7K; Machacek, 0.1 IP, 2 walks, 1K.

      St. Paul fielding/defense - Biehunko, 6 putouts; Pokluda, 4 putouts; Green, 1 putout, 2 assists; Pesek, 1 putout, 1 assist;
      Machart, 1 putout, 1 assist; Walker, 1 putout; Garza, 1 assist; Machacek, 1 assist.

                   123 456 7  R  H  E
      Alpha-Omega  300 000 1  4  6  7
      St. Paul     003 134 x 11  7  1

      AO -Allie Warren and Bella Micholski.
      SP - Sydney Green, Julia Machacek (5), Green (5) and Tori Walker.
      W  - Green. L - Warren.

     3B -SP: Ashlyn Pesek, Seryna Garza, 2B - AO: Chrissy DeShaw. SP: Walker (2), Rayleigh Biehunko, Machacek


Mark Lube Mark Lube is the sports editor for the Shiner Gazette.
Contact him at 361-594-3346 or


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