San Antonio – Kelly Baker stood hunched over home plate at the St. Mary’s Softball Fields, her home away from home these past four years.
Collecting some last-second souvenirs from a facility that had just played host to its final game, the St. Mary’s senior catcher gathered dirt from around the field and put it in a plastic bag.
St. Mary’s had already fallen to Texas A&M International, 4-2, in the Heartland Conference Tournament championship game, but not a single Lady Rattler was in any hurry to leave Saturday afternoon.
“It was my mom’s idea,” said Baker, an Arlington, Texas native. “It’s a keepsake. It’s something real simple, but in essence this is your home for four years.”
St. Mary’s (35-19) was eliminated from the double-elimination tournament with the defeat, which gave Texas A&M International the tournament championship. The two teams shared the regular-season title.
Now, the waiting game is on for the Lady Rattlers, who will wait until next week to see if they earn an at-large bid to the South Central Region Tournament.
RE-WATCH THE GAME
The Dustdevils (32-27) turned a 2-1 hole into a 4-2 advantage with a three-run fifth inning, and they never looked back. St. Mary’s put runners at second and third in the top of the sixth, but stranded both.
Baker led the Rattlers at the plate in the game, going 2 for 3 with two RBIs. Her third-inning double to right-center field drove in the Rattlers’ only runs on the day.
Texas A&M International outfielder Samantha Garcia was named the tournament MVP, while St. Mary’s Jared Gonzalez (So., San Antonio), Lauren Miller (Sr., Baytown, Texas) and Crystal Keller (So., LaCoste, Texas) were named to the All-Tournament Team.
The complete All-Tournament Team is below:
IF: Courtney Lavender (SEU)
IF: Victoria Beltran (TAMIU)
IF: Jared Gonzalez (StMU)
IF: Clarissa Salinas (TAMIU)
OF: Emily Zimmerman (NU)
OF: Samantha Garcia (TAMIU)
OF: Lauren Miller (StMU)
P: Crystal Keller (StMU)
P: Kyndall Reaves (TAMIU)
At-Large: Stacy Giles (SEU)
MVP: Samantha Garcia (TAMIU)