Lone Grove softball shows resiliency in crucial district victory over Plainview
PLAINVIEW – There were more than just bragging rights on the line Tuesday in the second edition of this season’s “five-mile feud.” The Plainview and Lone Grove high school softball teams were also battling for first place in District 4A-3.
That importance created a lively atmosphere and a heated contest that the Lady Horns won 6-4 in 11 innings.
“You saw tonight when we get a good lead and get off to good start, but then get punched in the mouth a little bit, we were able to right the ship and get back in there and end up winning the game,” said Lone Grove head coach Dennis Furr. “It was good for us to be able to do that. And that’s kind of the way the season has been. We got off to a good start, but then after a few weeks we get punched in the mouth. We grinded through that and we were able to get to right now where we have all of our players back. All the pieces back.”
And a couple of those returning athletes made a significant impact in the victory.
Lady Horns junior Mattie Roj just returned to practice Monday after suffering a broken bone in her foot early in the season. That long interruption didn’t show too much though, as the junior hit an RBI single in the fifth to help spark a three-run inning.
“Mattie is still working on her timing, but she’s a great player and a great hitter,” Furr said. “That’s a big-time addition to our lineup.”
Meanwhile, Lexi Meadows returned from a three-week hiatus and finished with an RBI double and a run scored.
“We’re back to full strength,” Furr said. “We’re going to be a handful down the stretch.”
Plainview knows that firsthand. Lone Grove has dealt the Lady Indians three of their five losses this season.
There is a silver lining though, as Plainview showed its grit in a situation where the Lady Indians could have waved the white flag.
“I’ll go back to our statement, ‘Fight, Finish, Faith,’ – they have the will to do whatever it takes to stay in the game,” said Plainview head coach Brandon Ybarra. “I’m proud of every single one of the girls. It was a team effort. We’re able to go 15-16 girls deep in our games. Again, it’s a great team effort. They showed the fight that’s definitely going to help in the end, especially leading up to playoffs and everything. Hats off to Lone Grove, they’re a great ball club.”
Ybarra wasn't the only one to offer praise.
Furr also talked about Lady Indians ace Riley Grant, who stuck out 11 in 11 innings of work.
“Plainview is a great team,” Furr said. “Their pitcher is a tremendous talent and that gives them a chance to win every time. We feel like if we can hit the ball well enough, that we’re the better team. But they do have a Division I pitcher and that gives them a chance.”
The Lady Horns proved they also have a talented ace in the circle, as Emma Wilson struck out 13 in 11 innings. The junior’s outing helped put Lone Grove in the driver’s seat to clinch a district title and an opportunity to host a regional.
However, the Lady Horns aren’t looking that far ahead just yet.
“We have a job to do, but this gives us a cushion because we have two wins over Plainview,” Furr said. “We still have some games we have to win. It’s not given to us yet, but it is a big deal because now if we go ahead and seal up the district, we get to play regionals at home. That’s a huge advantage for us because we have a great crowd.”