'We're from Houston': NCAA D-III school wins softball national title thanks in part to area's talent

From Deer Park to Stafford, the ETBU Tigers are rich with championship talent from the Houston area.

ByJoseph Gleason KTRK logo
Monday, June 10, 2024
Houston-area softball talent powers D-III school to national title
East Texas Baptist in Marshall, Texas, cashed in on recruiting some of the Houston area's best softball talent toward an NCAA Division III title.

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

"It's really awesome knowing that Houston is representing all the way out here in east Texas in a small town," ETBU pitcher Hannah Benavides said.

Benavides is used 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 the American Southwest Conference pitcher and newcomer of the year.

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

"It's nothing short of exceptional. I enjoy every single moment of being a national champion," senior Tauryn Cummings from Summer Creek said. "The sound of it makes me feel so happy and ecstatic for me and my teammates. We worked so hard since day one."

Cummings has earned all-conference honors all four years at ETBU. In the final game, she hit two home runs for the Tigers. She's only one of three seniors on the team.

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

Cummings added, "And we're from Houston. You trust that person."

Before Haylie Stum was conference freshman of the year, she helped Bridgeland to its first state appearance just a year ago.

"It's something you work for your entire life, and for me, to be 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 set up for future success.

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