Hawley and Ballinger softball will meet starting Friday in the softball regional quarterfinals. This game, though, is about more than just advancing one step closer to state - it's personal.
"Coming from [Ballinger]," said Hawley Senior Pitcher Jordan Anderson. "[My sister Mackenzie and I] know all these girls and pretty decently good friends with them, and we still keep in touch with them."
Jordan and Mackenzie, Hawley's junior shortstop, moved to Hawley from Ballinger right before the start of their freshman year of high school.
"They're really good people," said Mackenzie on her former Ballinger teammates. "I loved playing with them a lot, and they're really nice and good sports and stuff, so it should be a good game."
"I've played with them since I was four," recalled Ballinger Senior Catcher Christal Garcia. "I mean we've played together since ten and under. I mean we had our moments, I was Jordan's catcher."
Neither the Anderson's nor their former Ballinger teammates ever thought they'd meet in the postseason.
"It's gonna be weird pitching against them and batting against their pitcher that I've known since I was ten," said Jordan.
"It's weird thinking we're here at this spot," added Ballinger Senior First Baseman Carissa Cavazls. "We never figured we'd be playing against each other, I mean for something that we both dreamt about having since we were together on the same team play."
That dream is winning a state championship. Both Hawley and Ballinger are just four series wins away from doing so.
"We just need to concentrate on going to state," stressed Mackenzie. "[We] just really [need to] take it game by game."
"It gives us a little bit of motivation because you want to be better than them," said a determined Cavazls. "I mean you still want your friend to do good, but I mean we're playing for the trophy right here. We want that trophy more than anything."
After this weekend, just one of them will continue the road to state.
Hawley vs. Ballinger
Game 1: Friday, 7 PM, at Hawley
Game 2: Saturday, 5 PM, at Ballinger
Game 3 after, if needed.