Tivy right fielder Lexi Perez, 6, catches a fly ball against Dripping Springs during the Regional Quarter Finals game in Fredericksburg.

Moments after the Tivy softball team’s 15-9 loss to Dripping Spring in Fredericksburg on Friday, after the Lady Antlers’ historic season had finally ended in the regional quarterfinals, Tivy coach Jeremy Hickman made sure to thank each one of his six seniors.

They were coming to grips that they had just played their final game at Tivy, and Hickman knew they were hurting. But he hoped they would eventually see the big picture: They changed Tivy softball. Four years ago, Tivy softball was just another struggling program. But the six seniors labored to build one of the best teams in the area. They were District 26-5A champions, bi-district champions and area champions for the first time since 2001. Hickman didn’t want a playoff loss to one of the best teams in Texas to diminish the Lady Antlers’ accomplishments.

“Our season isn’t about this one game,” Hickman said. “It hurts. But we accomplished some amazing feats this year. We won 25 games. Not many teams in the state have won 25 all year. That just doesn’t happen all the time.”

“This has been my hardest senior class to watch leave.”

The Lady Antlers (25-12-2) nearly pulled off win No. 26 against the No. 3 team in Texas. They raced to a three-run lead after the first inning and trailed Dripping Springs (36-2), 10-9, entering the seventh. They registered 13 hits to the Tigers’ 14.

In the end, the Lady Tigers made a few more plays than the Lady Antlers. It happens sometimes.

“We got after them,” Hickman said. “We gave it all we had tonight.”

Tivy pounced on the Tigers early. Dripping Springs entered this game allowing only two runs in its past five games. Senior Alyssa Hickman eclipsed that number in the first with just one powerful swing of the bat, clobbering a three-run home run.

The Tigers rallied to seize a 10-5 lead in the fifth. The Lady Antlers responded in the next frame, with Lexi Perez, Paige Melcher, Marissa Medina and Hickman each recording a hit to trigger a four-run blitz.

The Tigers, however, plated five runs in the seventh to secure the victory.

“We gave them all they can handle,” Hickman said. “I’m proud of them.”

Hickman hopes this season will inspire Tivy’s underclassmen continue to improve. The seniors proved that hard work does indeed pay off, that it results in deep playoff runs. Hickman hopes they adopt his departing seniors’ habits.

“This season should do a lot of good,” Hickman said. “I hope the younger players paid attention to how hard the girls worked, how tough they were and how much time it actually takes to be a good player.”

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