Playing three games in a row against teams that were participants in the fastpitch state tournament a year ago is one reason that Lone Grove plays in the Chisholm Trail Classic.
There were challenges along the way.
The biggest challenge issued to the Lady Horns was to see how well they could bounce back after losing to Dale and Washington on Friday.
Lone Grove coach Jimmy Miller says he was more pleased with the result Saturday.
The Lady Horns lost 4-3 to Newcastle but rebounded to beat Tuttle JV 8-5 in the final game of the tournament for both teams.
Those two scores come one day after Lone Grove lost 11-1 to Dale and 6-0 to defending Class 3A state champion Washington.
“It was great after not having a great day Friday,” Miller said. “Don’t get me wrong, Dale and Washington are really good. It was just disappointing to not see us be as competitive as we had wanted. To see us bounce back against Newcastle was good and a fact that our girls work hard. It was disappointing in loss, but it was good to see progress.”
Lone Grove 8, Tuttle JV 5
Taleigh Nail’s two-run double in the bottom of the fourth produced the final score Saturday.
Shelby Stevenson went 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Jordan Johnson notched the complete-game victory. She yielded five runs (zero earned) on five hits with three strikeouts to one walk.
Tuttle capitalized on a dropped third strike with two outs in the top of the first, which led to two runs — both via a hit batsman with the bases loaded — for a 2-0 lead.
Lone Grove was quick to respond. Nail got her team on the board with an RBI ground-out in the home half of the first. A fielding error later in the inning allowed two Lady Horns to score, putting Lone Grove ahead 3-2.
“It is always good to win especially after you had lost the last three,” Miller said. “Tuttle JV is pretty good. Tuttle is usually loaded with a lot of good softball teams. Their JV can compete with a lot of people.”
Newcastle 4, Lone Grove 3
Lone Grove built a 3-0 lead after two innings Saturday — on the power of a Stevenson two-run single and a Maci McMurtrey RBI sacrifice fly.
Stevenson’s hit was the lone one for the Lady Horns.
Two consecutive walks issued to Newcastle to lead off the bottom of the third led to three runs.
Newcastle scored on a wild pitch in the fourth to produce the game-ending tally.
Newcastle was a state semifinalist a year ago in 4A.
Washington 6, Lone Grove 0
Lone Grove issued nine walks while Washington had none Friday.
Washington pitchers were efficient, needing to throw just 61 pitches in the six-inning affair. Lone Grove, on the other hand, threw 118 pitches.
Kacee Dellis had one hit for the Lady Horns, as did Johnson.
Washington scored once in the second before pushing across three more runs in the third.
Cassidy Baughman was tagged with the loss.
Washington is the defending Class 3A state champion.
Dale 11, Lone Grove 1
Two big innings by Dale proved to be the difference Friday — scored six times in the second and added five more tallies in the fourth.
Adara Finnerty’s RBI sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth brought home Stevenson, accounting for Lone Grove’s only run.
Baughman took the loss.
Dale was the 2015 Class 2A state runner-up.
“We didn’t do as well as we would have liked, especially Friday,” Miller said. “Defensively, it wasn’t very good. Our pitching was not quite as good as I would have liked. But we knew that was going to be a work in progress. We did a lot better Saturday.”