HOUSTON - Ashley Boyd beamed with pride last Thursday as she sat in the stands of USA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Boyd, the head softball coach at Atascocita, sat alongside her assistant coach Alyssa Carroll as they watched former player Katie Cimusz start for the Texas Longhorns in the Women's College World Series.
"I can’t even describe the pride that comes from watching one of our kids in the WCWS," Boyd said. "She is our second player since I have been here to play in it, and it will never get old watching them live out the softball dream on the highest level."
Cimusz is one of nine former Houston-area athletes that fill the roster and lineup card for the Longhorns.
Texas had a dramatic come-from-behind victory on Monday night to eliminate Oklahoma State and punch its ticket to the WCWS National Championship series, which is set to begin on Wednesday night in Oklahoma City against No. 1 Oklahoma.
"It truly is something they work their entire life for, and nobody understands the work that goes into reaching a goal like that," Boyd said. "It is a tough road that is so worth it in the end. "Just proud of our kid! I know our program is happy for her. She was such a good teammate and leader while she was here, I know we have some players making the trip to watch her. We will all be cheering her on."
Cimusz enters the National Championship series hitting .247 with 32 RBIs, eight doubles and nine home runs for the Longhorns.
Another star for the Longhorns is former Barbers Hill standout and 2021 Class 5A State Champion Sophia Simpson.
The freshman has appeared in 27 games and started 16 for Texas in the circle. Simpson has struck out 103, walked 48 and posted a 3.64 ERA with a 1.52 WHIP in 84 2/3 innings.
"It’s amazing that she went from the State Championship game last year to now the National Championship series this year," Barbers Hill coach Aaron Fuller said. "We are so proud of everything that she’s done and representing our program. She definitely launched herself onto the national stage last weekend by throwing a shutout against No. 4 Arkansas to help her team reach this point.
Along with Cimusz and Simpson, Houston will be well-represented starting Wednesday night.
Nimitz alum Janae Jefferson has started all 68 games for the Longhorns. Jefferson has hit .416 with 24 doubles, seven home runs and 34 RBIs in 2022; Angleton alum Mia Scott has started 62 games and hit .383 with 14 doubles, three home runs and 35 RBIs and Pearland Dawson alum Courtney Day in 56 games, 49 starts, has hit .312 with 10 doubles, 12 home runs and 33 RBIS for the Longhorns.
Former Willis star McKenzie Parker has hit .265 with 10 doubles, eight home runs and 42 RBIs in 54 games and George Ranch alum JJ Smith has hit for .264 with six doubles, two home runs and 13 RBIs.
Other Houston-area athletes on the Texas roster include Mya Holmes (Texas City) and Brianna Cantu (Clear Creek).