Rio Sports Live

Perez sisters taking in Los Fresnos’ magical run

Kate Perez, left and her sister Krystal, right, pose for a photo on May 19 at the Los Fresnos softball field. (Photo by Kevin Narro / RSL)

By KEVIN NARRO | Rio Sports Live

LOS FRESNOS — For Kate and Krystal Perez, all sports have been an important part in both of their lives, but it is their time on the softball field that has meant the most to them.
  This season has been particularly special for Krystal, a junior, and Kate, a sophomore as the duo has helped make Lady Falcon history in 2021. 
The Perez sisters each hit home run to lift the Lady Falcons over District 32-6A rival Weslaco High in the regional quarterfinals, sending the program to the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history.
It’s been a long road to this point, but after falling short in the past, they are reveling in the moment. 
“It feels great to be in this spot,” Krystal said. “Last year, we had a great team but it was cut short. We had (almost) everyone coming back this year; we just lost Reba (Reyes) to graduation. We have all been practicing hard and trying to stay one step ahead.” 
While Krystal is a year older than Kate, but the two never stop working as they find themselves going above and beyond when they are home. That can be in the form of extra batting practice or Krystal catching for Kate while she works on her pitching. 
“I think we are both hard on each other,” Kate said. “When one of us doesn’t feel like doing something, we push each other to keep working.”
Krystal hit two homers in Game 1 against Weslaco and was aided by her little sister’s gem in the circle, where Katepitched a complete game and, at one point between the first and sixth inning, retired 13 in a row. 
“We feel we have a little bit of everything,” Krystal said. “We have speed, power and pitching and, especially in the dugout, we are loud. We have to be there for our pitcher and play sharp defense.” 
Each team has one defining moment, but for the Perez sisters, they never banked on making it to the regional semifinals as being that moment. 
“We knew that we could get here, we have a great team and we are not done yet,” Krystal said.

Nine-year skipper Traci Blackman notched career win 300 in last week’s series sweep over Weslaco High and has directed the Lady Falcons ship to their first ever Sweet 16 appearance. 
While it was a program first, it was not for Blackman, who reached the Sweet 16 during her eight seasons at the helm of her alma mater Devine High School. 
This is her 17th year as a head coach and her 20th season overall as a coach. 
“I didn’t know, we all went into quarantine last year with COVID-19 and I did not know if I was going to be able to get it in,” Blackman said. “This was Year 20 for me. If I didn’t get it then, that was OK. If we didn’t have this playoff run, reaching 300 would not have been possible.”  
Blackman was at career win 278 at the end of last season and knew she was getting close, but with her team in position for a successful run, the longtime coach wanted the focus on the field.
“To compete in 32-6A and to make it this far, you think if it is really going to happen and we knew we had to go on a run to make it happen,” she said. “The girls did not know and I did not want this to be about me. This playoff run is something huge for them and to make it here. Making the Sweet 16 is bigger than my 300th win.” 

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