All season long, the La Grange softball team's motto has been "Do it for E". The Lady Leopards, who are one of the nation's top teams, were hoping to win the class 4A State Championship for Emily Fritsch.
Emily was a La Grange freshman athlete who passed away last October.
The State Finals took place at McCombs Field at the University of Texas. The Leopards faced off against Paris North Lamar. La Grange went on to win 8 to 1. This was their second state title in the past three years, and their third overall.
"It's very special. With the season the way it's been, you know, playing for E, dedicating to E, and we really wanted to. Like I told some people, I don't think anybody had a chance. We had so much to play for this year," said Arthur Behrend, the La Grange softball coach. "The kids were so dedicated and so just determined to get it done. Of course, it doesn't hurt that we got a lot of talent too."
"We didn't want to do it for ourselves. We wanted to do it for her, for our community, for her parents, and we really wanted to step up and do something big this year for them," says Missy Zoch, the senior pitcher and third baseman.
After the emotional big win, the team did something else really special for the Fritsch family.
Emily's parents were presented with a plaque with an "E" with angel wings and a halo, which is also the patch they wore on their jerseys. They also gave Emily's mom and dad one of their State Championship Gold Medals.
"I would give anything to have my daughter, but I'm so proud of these girls and that they played for her. I know she's smiling on them, just so proud. I'm going to cherish it. It's very exciting to feel like she was a part of this. It means everything to us," said Phyllis, Emily's mom.