East Texas Baptist University softball team wins NCAA Division III national championship with Houston area talent

MARSHALL, Texas (KTRK) — The East Texas Baptist University softball team became NCAA Division III national champions last week, and Houston gets to share in the incredible accomplishment.

“It’s really cool to know that Houston is representing all the way here in East Texas in a small town,” ETBU pitcher Hannah Benavides said.

Benavides is no stranger to the big stage, winning a state championship in 2021 at Deer Park High School and earning state MVP honors.

This year, she was named American Southwest Conference Pitcher and Newcomer of the Year.

Nine Houston-area players were part of ETBU’s 48-3 national championship team.

“It’s just outstanding. I love every moment of being a national champion,” said senior Tauryn Cummings of Summer Creek. “The sound makes me so happy and ecstatic for me and my teammates. We’ve worked so hard since day one.”

Cummings earned all-conference honors all four years at ETBU. In the last game, she hit two home runs for the Tigers. She is just one of three seniors on the team.

“(The seniors) have been incredible role models, showing us to stay humble and calm,” said Stafford High School freshman Izabella Morales. “We come from the same town. We share some of the same stories. We share some of the same experiences and we all understand each other a little more.”

Cummings added: “And we’re from Houston. You trust this person.”

Before Haylie Stum was named All-Conference Freshman, she helped Bridgeland make its first state appearance just a year ago.

“It’s something you work for your whole life, and for me, being in this moment is something I don’t take for granted and remember for the rest of my life,” Stum said.

The Tigers are young and talented and poised for success in the future.

“We just want to glorify the Lord and play softball, and that’s exactly what we did, and I’m so excited to go back next year, hopefully,” Stum added.

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