With no graduating seniors, St. Patrick favored to win fourth straight 3A championship

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - For the third consecutive season, the St. Patrick Lady Irish returned home from the 3A state tournament with the champion's trophy.

Head coach Tommy Castanedo might have an even more unstoppable bunch next season because there were no seniors on this year's team. Juniors Sabrina Turner and Victoria Tyler are the lone 11th graders on the roster, and they made sure the team bounced back from a disappointing game one loss to Nettleton.

"I told the kids that this is all about them," Castanedo said. "They're the ones that hit it, pitched it, caught it and fielded it. We just want to try to continue that tradition."

"Everyone said, 'oh, you lost your catcher and one of your pitchers. Y'all are done,'" Emma Rae Castanedo said. "We showed them that we're not done. We have so many people who can step up and fill the role. We showed that we don't need one person. We do this as a team."

Like Harrison Central, St. Patrick softball witnessed more of a reality check than anything in a 9-3 loss in game one of their state championship series.

"We weren't ready Friday night," Turner said. "We let the other team get to us. We didn't play our game but when we had the opportunity on Saturday, we pulled through, we pulled together and got the job done."

However, the Lady Irish played games two and three with a completely different mindset.

St. Patrick won 3-2 in game two to force a third game, and promptly won that contest 8-1.

"When we saw that they were ready, it's like we folded," Tyler said. "We pulled together Saturday. After that, we weren't folded anymore and we came together."

"Oh my goodness, I can't even put it into words," sophomore Elizabeth Zorich said. "Once Sabrina (Turner) struck out the final batter, I went crazy. I was screaming, as you can tell, because I don't have a voice."

For some players, it was another trophy to add to the case. But for players like seventh grader Anna Grace Castanedo, it was championship number one.

"This team has definitely changed my life and how I look at it," Anna Grace Castanedo said. "They've given me role models to look up to and that means the world to me."