SAN BENITO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The San Benito softball team will be the first squad from the Rio Grande Valley to play at the state tournament since Weslaco accomplished the feat in 2016.

Back then, the Pantherettes faced Pearland in the state semifinals. San Benito will play Pearland on Friday.

“It’s a great feeling,” said San Benito pitcher Emily Delgado. “We have a lot of talent in the Valley. When we play Valley teams it’s not easy. They put up competition.”

San Benito, which is going to the state tournament for the third time in school history, lost in the first round of the playoffs last year.

“Honestly, that’s crazy to think about,” said senior second baseman Bethany Aguilar. “Especially when people didn’t think we’d come out. They talked down on us. Just to prove them wrong is phenomenal.”

San Benito and Pearland will face off on Friday at 4:00 p.m. at Red & Charline McCombs Softball Field in Austin.