LINDALE, TEXAS (KETK) — Ten years ago, fourteen girls, a manager, and three coaches made history at Lindale.
A Lindale High School softball team had never won a state championship. But, in 2004 it all changed. The Lady Eagles would shutout Wharton in a 5-0 game to clinch the 3A University Interscholastic League (UIL) State Softball Championship trophy in Austin.
The coaches have moved on to other schools and occupations, the girls are now mothers, wives, businesswomen, and some are even coaches. Kylie Packard is teaching her skills to fourteen Lady Eagles. The state champion—turned LHS softball coach— is leading a new team of Eagles to victory a decade later.
Friday night was senior night for the 2014 team, and while Heather Gilbert and Katy Gomez were recognized, the championship team was a glimpse of what could be reality for the current team. The Lady Eagles are holding a 7-1 record in district, tied with Whitehouse for first place. Jacksonville forfeited the game Friday, leaving the girls with two district games remaining.
“To be able to play on such an amazing team, and then, in turn, be able to bring the tradition of Lindale softball to life with the current team has been a lot of fun,” said Packard. “Lindale softball is all about tradition and winning, and these current girls are no different than the girls that stood in their shoes 10 years ago.”
In 2003, five seniors had graduated leaving many with little expectations for the 2004 team. Lindale ISD Deputy Superintendent Jamie Holder was the high school principal in 2004. He remembers that year vividly. “Experts thought they would be down going into the 2004 season, but little did they know, the Lady Eagles would shock everyone.”
The ’04 team would beat Van in the regional finals to secure a spot at the state tournament.
“Their success paved the way for the passage of the athletic portion of the 2010 bond election which paid for the new Lindale ISD softball/baseball complex,” Holder explained.
But, Holder says his pride for the team goes beyond the unprecedented state title and their ability to create a better future for Lindale ballplayers. As their former principal, he says their resolve to continue their education is most important to him.“More than half of the players went on to play softball in college, but all of them attended college,” Holder said.
A sign is posted high above the new LISD softball/baseball complex. It is a reminder to all those who walk through the ballpark—champions are born on Eagle fields, and they fight against all odds, to be victorious.
The diamond at Lady Eagle Field may be new, but for the 2004 state championship team, it will always be home.
The record-breaking team consisted of Hali Boyette at right field, Blair Camp at left field, Designated Hitter Misty Cosby, Brittany (Crowell) Brown on third, Amber (Gray) Bresee in the infield, Ashley Kizer at third base, Kim (Malone) Mullins at center field, Catcher Kylie Packard, Kayla Parker on second, Jordan (Pruitt) Conley at short stop, Pitcher Randi (Warren) Wood, Morgan (Bond) Tarr on first base, Outfielder Morgan Harpole, Utility Player Whitney (Klein) Rutherford, Manager Chasity Summerville, Coach Michele Smith Parker, Assistant Coach Alan Simmons, and Coach Susan Gronow.