By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
WAXAHACHIE — Wednesday evening might’ve marked the first time in modern history that Ennis and Waxahachie fans simultaneously cheered as a runner crossed home plate.
The previously thought-to-be-absurd celebration came when 2021 Ennis graduate Mattie Beakley drilled a single into left field at Lady Indian Ballpark in Waxahachie. Her base knock plated Makenae Stone (Waxahachie, 2022), who led off the bottom of the first inning with a double and stolen base.
The run was the first in a 5-0 shutout performance for the East All-Stars in the first-ever All-Ellis County All-Star softball game, hosted by KBEC 1390AM/99.1FM and powered by National Worldwide Education Institute.
“It was a lot of fun to get out there and get to know each other,” Beakley said. “You see each other all of the time but you never really get to talk and know each other. Coming out here and getting to play really competitive softball was a lot of fun.”
The East team — consisting of Red Oak, Ferris, Waxahachie, Ennis and Palmer — ultimately hung a pair of runs in the fourth and fifth innings for the 5-run victory. They also leaned heavily on a stellar performance inside the circle by now-Ennis senior Aubree Lalani (2022).
“[…] At some point, we all kind of locked it down and decided we weren’t playing anymore,” Beakley added, “and then we had to put up more [runs] on them. 1-0 was not enough.”
Beakly will continue her playing career at Temple College in Temple, Texas.
As for Lalani, the fellow Ennis Lion finished her complete-game shutout with 13 strikeouts to four hits and two walks. She dominated with a well-placed fastball, often-buried changeup and a rise-ball consistently catching the top of the zone.
Red Oak head softball coach Jonathan Rogers, who was in attendance Wednesday, applauded the efforts of the two fellow District 14-5A foes and both dugouts.
“It was a blast to watch our kids from Red Oak play but also a blast to watch the kids who we usually compete against and get to cheer for them, as well,” said Rogers, who had Jazell Orozco (2022) and Lisandra Andrade (2023) in the game after three players (Brianna Evans, Makyla Kelly and Dylan Brown) were forced to miss due to club softball schedules. “And, even though it was an all-star game, they still competed and wanted to win, so that made it really fun to watch.
“That they just had fun doing it. There wasn’t a playoff game next week, and there was nothing to play for, but it was obvious that they still love to go out there and play softball.”
The West team was comprised of student-athletes from Midlothian Heritage, Midlothian, Italy and Maypearl.
Tina Richards, the 2A Region II finalist Italy Gladiators head coach, stated the all-star showcase was “awesome, and it was probably the greatest thing I have seen all year.”
“I am so happy that KBEC came up with this because it was a wonderful idea,” Richards added. “The talent out here was wonderful, and I am glad that someone finally showcased it.
“[…] It was pretty awesome to watch their helmets and see what select teams each girl is playing on too. They weren’t only representing their schools, but those select teams, too.”
Richards was also quick to praise the efforts of her three players — Cadence Hopgood, Keri Scott and Brooklyn Steinmetz. Emily Janek, the county’s leading strikeout artist, was forced to miss due to the national tournament in Colorado.
“They were all so versatile,” Richards added. “Cadence, who caught for us almost all year, played some outfield, so that was awesome, and Keri played some third. And then Brooklyn got up there and singled, so I was pretty happy about all of that.”
Both teams were coached by volunteers from the community.
The game wasn’t without personality, though.
As the KBEC-proclaimed “Bat Flip Queen” Mattie Beakley walked off of the turf field following several dozen photos, she added with a laugh, “I went out with a bang.”
“I got a dinger to the left side and also had that RBI single, so it was a pretty good night and way to represent my high school one last time,” Beakley continued. “That was a lot of fun, but I am excited to go to Temple and start my college career. Tonight was a lot of fun.”
The first-ever All-Ellis County All-Star Week included a countywide baseball game (Thursday, July 1 at Paul Richards Park) and a countywide home run derby (Thursday, July 8 at the Waxahachie Sports Complex). All three events were free to the public, thanks to generous community sponsors.
Additional event sponsors included: Home Run sponsors: Tow-Pro Wrecker Service, Ennis Door & Trim, Celebrity Bakery, Wayne Price Heat & Air, Pinnacle Bank – Midlothian, First Financial Bank, Waxahachie RBI Club and Synergy Roofing. Triple sponsors: Elevation Roofing and Restoration and Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson. Double sponsors: Wolverton Air, Matt Authier with Gateway Mortgage, Waxahachie Civic Center, Lance Wallace with Gateway Mortgage, JC Heine HVAC, Pearman Oil & LP Gas, Access Self Storage, Maverick Metal and Area Wide Plumbing of Ellis County. Single Sponsors: First State Bank, Compton’s Carpet Cleaning & Restoration, Henry S. Miller and Oma’s Jiffy Burger.
WEST – 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0
EAST – 1 0 0 2 2 0 X — 5
Bailey Huges (Midlothian, 2021) 0-3
Zoe Isom (Midlo Heritage, 2021) 0-3
Cadence Hopgood (Italy, 2022) 0-1, BB
Riley Crawford (Midlothian, 2021) 1-2
Hannah King (Midlothian, 2021) 0-1, BB
Keri Scott (Italy, 2022) 0-2
Liz Schmidt (Midlo Heritage, 2021) 1-2, 3B
Kylie Hoggatt (Midlothian, 2022) 0-1
Joe Lenzer (Midlo Heritage, 2021) 0-1
Lacey Harrison (Midlo Heritage, 2022) 0-2
Brooklyn Steinmetz (Italy, 2022) 1-2
Kylee Murillo (Midlo Heritage, 2022) 1-2
– – –
Makenae Stone (Waxahachie, 2022) 3-4, 2B, 2R, SB
Jazell Orozoo (Red Oak, 2022) 2-3, R
Kennedy Massey (Waxahachie, 2023) 0-3
Mattie Beakley (Ennis, 2021) 2-3, HR, 2 RBI
Briann Warner (Palmer, 2022) 0-1, BB, HBP
Lisandra Andrade (Red Oak, 2023) 1-2, 2B, sac
Kamryn Biggs (Maypearl, 2022) 0-2, HBP
Ella Matthews (Maypearl, 2023) 0-3
Aubree Lalani (Ennis, 2022) 1-2, BB
– – –
2B: Stone, Andrade
– – –
WP: Aubree Lalani (Ennis) CGSO, 13K, 4H, 2 BB
– – –
****MVP — Aubree Lalani****
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith