A year ago, Henderson coach Julie Murry was pregnant with her first daughter.
Although the Lady Lions fell just short of a state softball tournament berth, Murry and her husband, Brett, had a different kind of birth with the arrival of Madelyn.
One year later, Madelyn is receiving a nice birthday present as the Lady Lions are Austin-bound. They will be competing in their first state tournament.
After being knocked out by the past two state champions — North Lamar (2010) and Celina (2011) — Henderson is hopeful of bringing home the state trophy.
No. 1-ranked Henderson (29-8) meets No. 4 Liberty Hill (27-8) in the Class 3A semifinals at noon Thursday.
The other semifinal has No. 2 Lufkin Hudson (34-5) taking on No. 3 West (29-9) earlier at 9 a.m.
The winners meet in the 3A championship game at 10 a.m. Saturday.
All games are scheduled for Red & Charline McCombs Field on the campus of the University of Texas.
“These kids have worked so hard and have committed to do what is necessary to be the best,” said Murry, whose husband Brett is a coach at Moore Middle School in Tyler. “The last two years, we lost out to the eventual state champions. It made our program better; because we wanted to be the team going to Austin.
“We have some unfinished business in Austin.”
Murry, who also has a stepson Grayson, said the team has good pitching and is an all-around fundamentally sound softball squad.
The Lady Lions are scheduled to leave from the school about 1 p.m. today.
A sendoff is scheduled for HHS and then a celebration is scheduled as the team drives through downtown.
Murry describes the Lady Lions as a true team with different leaders stepping up.
Tiarra Davis has an 18-6 record in the circle, while Kami McCaw (9-2) and Allison Waggoner (2-0) also see action.
Davis is tops in hitting at .477, followed by Natalie McQuiston (.458), Waggoner (.380), Karly Free (.340), Tessa Thomas (.347) and Taylor White (.318).