Jacksonville Daily Progress
Texas Girls Coaches Association officials released their final high school softball poll of the season on Friday morning, and both the Lady Eagles of Rusk and Troup's Lady Tigers found themselves in elevated and familiar spots.
The Lady Eagles (23-2),who are ranked No. 4 in Class 3A, strolled through District 19-3A with a perfect (8-0) record.
On Monday Rusk slipped past No. 5 Henderson, 1-0, in the Lady Eagles' first warm-up game — Rusk was scheduled to have played Celina last night in Kemp (results not available as of press time) in the Red and Black's final dress rehearsal before opening Area play late next week against either Waco Robinson or Caldwell.
Rusk is led by pitching ace Sydney Littlejohn, a University of Alabama signee.
Littlejohn has pitched well all year and shows no signs of slowing down as she closes in on the 1000-career strike out mark.
Fellow senior Juliann Bowling anchors the infield from her shortstop position, while Kelsey Blankinship, Chelsie Daniels and Gabby Willis have also made significant contributions throughout the year.
Rusk is coached by Ashley Renner.
Troup, as a result of winning the 18-2A title — the Lady Tigers went 8-1 in conference play — also have a first-round bye this weekend and, like Rusk, will get rolling in the playoffs late next week in Area play.
The Lady Tigers, are ranked No. 9 in Class 2A, a spot that they have occupied for several week now.
Troup was ranked inside of the top five at one point this year.
Head coach Sam Weeks' girls appear to be one of favorites in Class 2A, Region III, and will face either Central Heights or Warren for starters.
The Lady Tigers, who entertained Harleton in a warm-up contest on Friday, are led by senior Katelyn Standley, who has signed with Stephen F. Austin State University.
Standley is the team's captain and catcher and leads Troup in a bevy of offensive categories.
Another Lady Tiger who has earned her stripes this year is Josee Ross, a sophomore pitcher.
Ross set a new school record for most strike outs in a season several weeks ago and is also one of Troup's top power hitters.
Caitlin Tomlin and Lee Ann Lloyd are other Lady Tigers that can beat a team with their bat or with their glove.
The Lady Tigers are 27-5-2 on the year and have won 19 of their last 20 games.