LONE GROVE – Before the 2017 fast pitch season began, Lone Grove coach Jimmy Miller said he believed his team had the capability to be something special.

LONE GROVE – Before the 2017 fast pitch season began, Lone Grove coach Jimmy Miller said he believed his team had the capability to be something special.

Friday afternoon at Glenn Wendt Field, he was proven right on his theory.

For the second straight day, the Lone Grove Lady Horns claimed a shutout victory at the regional tournament, only this time, the 3-0 victory over Blanchard clinched them their first state tournament berth since 2014.

“I’m just proud of the family this group of girls is, and they always play hard,” Miller said. “We have all the pieces to be able to compete at the state tournament. Right now it’s just about staying hungry and getting better. But, these are a great group of girls to coach and a fun team to coach.”

Unlike its previous two games at the regional tournament, LGHS didn’t light up the scoreboard against the Lady Lions Friday.

But, the fortunate thing was the Lady Horns didn’t need to score a double digit run total, just three was enough.

Taleigh Nail put the Lady Horns on the board with a sacrifice fly RBI in the bottom of the first.

Nail would make it 2-0 in the bottom of the third with another sacrifice fly RBI, before Shelby Stevenson gave the Lady Horns an insurance run with a sacrifice fly RBI of her own in the same inning.

“I was thinking we just needed runs to win,” Stevenson said about her at bat. “Basically playing small ball is how we’ve gotten to where we are. Every single one of these girls is like a sister to me and the fact we play for each other is why we’ve made it so far.”

Nail added the regional championship was even more special for her considering this is her last year to suit up for Lone Grove softball, and she’ll get to end the season in the perfect way at state.

“This is an exciting feeling for me with it being my senior year,” she said. “Getting to play with this group of girls has just made this even more special for me. All season long we’ve all had the same goals and the same mindset. I think that’s a key of why we are where we are right now.”

Another senior who was overcome with emotion was Sami Skelly, who went 1-for-2 at the plate, but played a crucial part in the Lady Horns run to the Class 4A regional championship.

“It’s a feeling I can’t even describe right now,” she said. “Every single one of these girls laid their hearts on the line today. I’m so proud of each and every member of this team. We’re all a family here. It took everyone to get on base and those sacrifice flies were very important for us during this game.”

On the mound, it was all about freshman Emmy Guthrie once again as she collected the victory in the circle. She allowed just three hits with seven strikeouts, earning her a third straight win pitching in the regional tournament.

“We all had the mindset of this was another game to us,” Guthrie said. “The defense I have behind me makes me feel like I can throw strikes and I know they have my back. These girls are incredible people and incredible players. They’ve made everything count this season, and it’s incredible to see it all coming together with us going to state.”

Lone Grove will enter the Class 4A state tournament with an overall record of 28-5, and will learn its state quarterfinals opponent next week. LGHS will play on Thursday from ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City with a time to be announced.

“We try to play fundamental softball,” Miller said. “Emmy (Guthrie) does a great job in the circle everyday she goes out there. A good organization is built out of everyone doing their job. These girls do that and it’s a lot of fun to coach them.”