Before her decision to move from Prosper High to the newly opened Prosper Rock Hill in 2020, Katrina Luna remembers the nights when it was hard to sleep.
Grace Berlage faced the same difficult choice and was guided by words of advice from her mother.
In the end, both Luna and Berlage decided to accept a transfer option that was left open to juniors and seniors for one major reason – in the 2022 graduation season at Rock Hill, they will likely be softball teammates with younger sisters.
“When we spoke, my mom said 10 years from now I’ll regret it if I don’t take the chance to play with my sister,” Grace said. “It was hard to leave Prosper. I have a lot of close friends there. But playing on the same team with Ella was my biggest reason.”
It was the same for Katrina: “I think about it every time we win a playoff now, it’s more time I get to play with Gabriel.”
What neither of them expected when they decided to relocate before the 2020-21 school year was the dream season they are currently sharing with their sisters. Five rounds of advanced playoffs landed Rock Hill in the UIL Class 5A state championship, with a two-time state title win. What second year program does that?
“We went into last season without any expectations, we got to the fourth round without the seniors,” Grace said. “After that, we thought this was our year. Our goal was to be better than last year. We are now very close to winning everything.”
Rock Hill (33-9) will meet Montgomery Lake Creek (38-0) in the first round of the 5A semifinals scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at Reed & Charlene McCombs Arena in Austin at the University of Texas. The winner will face off from Aledo-Georgetown for the state title at 4 p.m. Saturday.
“We talk about being a family and it’s even more true this year with our two sisters,” Rock Hill coach Ann Budd told me.
Sisters Luna, first baseman Katrina and hunting Gabriella, and sisters Berlage, Grace Grace and third Ella, played major roles in the Rock Hill meteor climb.
Katrina, who will continue her football career at Pace University (New York) in the fall, hits 365 with an additional 21 base strokes including four home runs and leads in 42. In addition to her duties behind the plate, Gabriel has a .290 hitting average of 30 RBI.
Grace, bound for the American University of Nazareth (Cannes), is the team leader with a 20-8 run record and earned average run of 1.27 with 171 strikes in 148.3 innings. Ella developed into the team’s highest offensive threat with an average of 0.423, scoring 42 points, 46 RBI and 27 extra basestrokes.
“Ella and Gabriel attended every game and were around the team all the time last season watching their sisters,” Budd said. “They saw the things we were doing and our expectations. Everyone should play as if they were 18. It was a mixture of our new students who came up and the older ones embraced them.”
In Game 3 of the regional semi-final series against Forney, Grace scored a claw six times in a 4-3 win, Katrina erased Forney’s 2-0 lead in two sets, and Gabriel Luna twice. Solo it produced the eventual winning round.
“I love the way they can feed each other and give advice to each other,” Budd said. “I think the two men are definitely looking out for their younger sisters.”
Even before the qualifying round, the older sisters were already convinced that changing schools was the right choice.
“Rock Hill is the best decision I’ve ever made,” Grace said.
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