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East Texas Professional Credit Union Player of the Week: UT Tyler's Michelle Arias

It was a successful weekend for Arias, including a walk-off sacrifice fly and tournament MVP honors.

TYLER, Texas — There are good weekends, and then there's the weekend that UT Tyler's Michelle Arias had.

She hit two home runs earlier in the tournament, but her defining moment occurred on the last pitch of the weekend.

The Patriots were in a tie game in the final inning, with the winning run sitting at third base. After watching three balls go by, Arias wasn't planning on taking a walk. She called the green light on 3-0, flying one out to right field, just far enough for JT Smith to slide into home to win the game.

"Immediately, turning around and watching JT score," Arias said. "That was one of the most surreal moments ever."

To cap off her heroics, Arias was awarded the Lone Star Conference Tournament MVP award. To all those watching all weekend long, there was nobody more deserving of the honor.

The craziest part of all, however, is the story of how Michelle Arias grew into the impact player she is today.

"For her first two or three semesters here, she didn't even hit right-handed," said head coach Mike Reed. "We recruited her as left-handed slapper, as a tremendous defensive player."

In the ever-changing atmosphere of college athletics, Reed praised Arias and her work ethic. He said she employs the "first one in, last one out" mentality every day. And like he emphasized, hard work pays off.

"Michelle's a great story because she's been on the team. So, the last few years her role has increased every year," Reed said. "In the day and age where sometimes people run from that, or go in the transfer portal, she's stayed true and grown into a very big spot for us."

The UT Tyler softball team has earned a number one seed in the national tournament, and is hosting the first round games at their home ballpark.

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