Lake Creek faces Young Rock Hill in state semifinals

Montgomery – Tradition has to start somewhere.

For the softball programs at Lake Creek and Prosper Rock Hill, a strong tradition was established in no time.

The last time a Montgomery County softball team made it to the UIL State Championships, Lake Creek was still two months away from opening its doors.

Oak Ridge made a trip to Austin for the Class 6A semifinals in 2018. Since then, Lake Creek has become one of the strongest in the Houston, Texas area, and currently the Lions the No. 1 in the USA today Super 25 national ballot.

Lake Creek has played three full seasons — the COVID-19 pandemic halted a strong early show in 2020 — and makes its state championship debut.

The same goes for Rock Hill, which has the proverbial more tread on its tires. The Blue Hawks began playing last year after the school opened its doors in August of 2020. The opening team reached the regional semi-finals.

“It’s kind of crazy,” said Lake Creek coach Michelle Roczynski. “You have two new teams there, and I think they are great. I think that speaks volumes about both teams. A lot of the kids and the coaches who have worked with them talk. That’s very neat.”

Lake Creek reached the District III-5A Championship a year ago before falling in two games to eventual state champion and national number one Barbers Hill.

In 2022 under the banner of “Unfinished Business”, the Lions (39-0) had been chasing their opponents all season to reach the state semifinals. Rock Hill (33-9) had a fight to get here, too.

“Obviously they’re good,” said Rochinsky. “They’re in the state championship, and like I said (to the players), we can’t get past anything. We have to take it one step, one at bat, one turn at a time.”

Aside from the two losses to Barbers Hill in 2021, Lake Creek’s only other loss in the last three seasons came to Prosper in February of 2020. Roczynski said she has great respect for ball played in the Prosper area and anticipates Rock. Hill to be cruel.

Rock Hill only had one loss in the playoffs and lost once during the second half of the 10-5A. Five of the Blue Hawks’ losses came in February with their sixth appearance on March 4 against Allen in a pre-season game. Rock Hill lost to two Houston-area teams, including Kingwood and a common opponent at Friendswood. Lake Creek swept the Mustang in the regional semifinals.

“They’re a fast team, and they’re made up of a lot of lefties,” said Rochinsky. “They will take advantage of any mistakes we have.”

UIL Class 5A State Contact Points

All games at Red and Charline McCombs Field (University of Texas)

Friday 3 June

Lake Creek (38-0) vs Prosper Rock Hill (32-9), 10 a.m.

Alido (33-2) – Georgetown (33-3), 1 pm

Saturday 4th June

Tournament 4 pm

Number, name, year, position

1. Carmen Uribe, So. , CF/2B

2. Maddy McKee Jr., SS / OF

3. Payton Power Jr., DH/OF

4. Callie Clark Sr., 2B / OF

5. Lauren Hilty Jr., OF

6. Gracie Thornberg, Jr., OF

7. Corey Clark So., UT

8. Shelby Wayne Jr., RF

9. Alison Higginbotham, So. , 1B

10. Kloie Fuch Sr., OF

11. Bella Battaglia, 3 B

12. Piper White, So. , LF

14. Mackenzie Dixon Jr., Utah

15. Makenzie Golden, Fr., 1B

17. Madeleine Lopez, Sr., 3B / OF

19. Madison Johnson, Jr., P/1B

21. Julie Bazin, Jr., OF

22. Ava Brown Jr., P/1B

23. Kalee Rochinski, Jr., C/3B

25. Pekka Zoda, Sr., C

Coach: Michelle Roczynski

Assistant coaches: Shauna Hazelwood and Brianna Hoffman

Senior Grace Berlage is Rock Hill’s best player with a 20-8 record and 1.27 ERA with 171 hits. The best hitter on the team is Ella Berlage, a freshman with an average of 0.423, five home runs, and 46 RBI.

The Lions relied on Florida’s shooting prowess on Ava Brown and younger teammate Madison Johnson.

Lake Creek has a stacked racket arrangement, and production comes from top to bottom.

Ledoff Hater and LSU stick to Maddy McKee’s 69-run record and ranks among the National Leaders with 76 stolen bases. The rest of the Lions lineup includes Carmen Orbe, Madeleine Lopez, Brown, Kylie Clark, Kaley Roczynski and down Shelby Wayne, Peyton Power and Pepper White, all of whom have contributed significantly throughout the season.

“I can’t explain how special this team is,” said Roczynski. “All year long we’ve had this mantra, ‘Unfinished business.’ We’re past that regional final where we were cut off last year in Barbers Hill. Now it’s just going out on Friday and trying to take care of the biggest goal we’ve had all year – to be in the state and try win it.”

Lake Creek is a team motivated by its past. As the Lions celebrated the state championship venue last Thursday night on the lawn at CE King High School, the team’s bowlers from the past three years have stood spectator and witness.

Emily Kennedy, who just completed her first year at Texas A&M earlier in the week on the NCAA Regional Tour, was a beacon of support for this team.

“It was exciting to see Emily there,” Rochinsky said. “She’s been in touch with a bunch of girls all year long. You hate that the Texas A&M season is over, but it was exciting to have her there. We were able to build on her. We were sad last year that we couldn’t hit that goal with her. But I think she’s excited, and we know she’ll be there in the stands.”

Lake Creek looks like it’s ready for the big stage. The team had some practice after competing at Texas A&M’s Davis Diamond during two rounds of the playoffs. Now the Lions have a trip to Austin, Reed, and Charlene McCombs’ field at the University of Texas.

“I’m excited for them to play in that field,” said Roczynski. “They have had the opportunity to play in a few of the college facilities. Just adding that to the mix, how exciting. That’s exciting for them.”

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