Bridge City untouched on District 24-4 softball diamond

Published 5:29 pm Saturday, April 23, 2016

BRIDGE CITY — The talent Bridge City possesses in softball caught Kayla Gallardo’s eye when she served on Orangefield’s coaching staff.

“I definitely inherited a very good program,” said Gallardo, an Orangefield graduate, of Bridge City. “I knew they had a lot of talent. I just wanted to push them to be a little bit better and do a little bit more than they did last year, and they’re on that track right now.”

In fact, the Lady Cardinals are just soaring.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Bridge City has finished the regular season 28-2 and 12-0 in District 24-4A with Saturday’s 8-4 win against Hardin-Jefferson. The Texas Girls Coaches Association ranked the Cards No. 3 in its latest Class 4A rankings.

Winners of 14 straight, the Lady Cards will begin their playoff run next weekend against the fourth-place team from District 23-4A, hoping to surpass their regional semifinal finish from last year.

What the Lady Cards have done on the softball diamond in the past two years is nothing short of stellar. They’ve lost just one district game in that span.

“She’s definitely taught us to work hard and we have to earn everything we work for,” senior Baili Thibodaux said.

Thibodaux is one of five seniors on a roster that is otherwise stacked with underclassmen. Among them is sophomore Kassidy Wilbur, who has homered 12 times and batted .494 while striking out 171 in 108 1/3 innings and posting an 18-1 record.

“There’s games when I don’t always hit good,” Wilbur said. “Like the tough defensive games like Silsbee, I don’t hit good because I’m more worried about pitching.”

Wilbur’s pitching prowess shows in her 1.23 ERA. Freshman Peyton Trapp has a 1.75 ERA and an 8-1 record.

At the plate, Wilbur has recorded three two-homer games and driven in 41 runs.

Senior Hannah Carpenter, who recently signed with Kilgore Junior College, has eight home runs and is a .453 batter with 23 RBI.

But the Lady Cards don’t consider themselves power hitters.

“We hit for bases,” Carpenter said. “I don’t think we really plan it. Sometimes it happens.”

Bridge City has proven it can win in the clutch in big games. Against Orangefield on April 1, BC had fallen behind 6-5 after giving up four runs in the seventh inning before eventually winning 7-6 in the eighth.

“It was very intense,” Gallardo said. “I coached all those girls last year, so I still care about all of those girls. And that’s my alma mater. They were coming to play, for sure. We want games like that.

“… Do I want it that close? No.”

Now the Lady Cards are in the postseason, they may find more close games than Gallardo would like to bargain for. But it’s how far they can go that matters most to them.

Just maybe, a trip to the University of Texas for June’s state championships is … well, in the cards.

“I think they reached my expectations and beyond, but I do want them to finish strong and do really well in the playoffs because that’s what’s expected of them,” Gallardo said.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

email author More by I.C.