By Ben Stewart
A parade and celebration was held on Monday, June 14, to recognize the outstanding achievements of the Lady Panthers varsity softball team, state champs in Class 4A. Held at the gazebo outside of Liberty City Hall, the event included a brief parade down Sam Houston Ave., around the city square, and followed by presentations and speeches from city, county and state officials.
The Lady Panthers claimed victory in a final game on June 5 against the Corpus Christi Callalen Lady Wildcats. Coached by Head Coach Karen Slack and Assistant Coaches Joe Slack and Katherine McAdams, the conquering team’s roster includes seniors Kaci West, Jaylen Prichard and Mikaelah Burkland, junior Reagan Williamson, Kylie Bishop and Maci Beam, sophomore Alex Wylie, and freshmen Bailee Slack, Reese Evans, Hollie Thomas, Ashlyn Cordova and Kamden Chandler.
For the seniors on the team, this was their second state championship title, winning the first state championship when they were freshmen. All of the girls on this year’s Lady Panthers team also played with the Texas Dirt Divas.
After the parade, the team made their way to the Gazebo and Pct. 2 County Commissioner Greg Arthur started the ceremony with a prayer. Will Carter, speaking on behalf of U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, said that each team member’s name is now permanently written into the official congressional record. Then State Rep. Ernest Bailes, County Judge Jay Knight, Liberty Mayor Carl Pickett, Head Coach Karen Slack, Liberty School Board President Bruce Bell and Liberty Athletic Director Chad Taylor gave inspirational speeches, lauding the team on the tremendous accomplishment and encouraging them as they move forward with their lives.
Kaci West, Jaylen Prichard, and Mikaelah Burkland – the three seniors on the Lady Panthers team – briefly discussed the achievement. They recollected on the memories made, the motivation and long hours behind their success, and their gratefulness to the community for the continued support throughout the season.
After the event, some of the players spoke to Bluebonnet News.
Sophomore Alex Wiley stated about their win, “I’m very proud and excited, but really I was just happy that I got to spend the time with my seniors!”
Reagan Williamson, one of next year’s seniors, added, “I was just so excited to be part of something this great and am so thankful for the experience!”
MVP and Senior Kaci West’s final comments brought all the praise back to the community.
“I’m so thankful and grateful for our community. We do this for them!” she said.