Lone Grove softball punches ticket to 4A State Tournament
From day one, the Lone Grove High School softball team was focused on one goal — returning to Class 4A State Tournament. It’s safe to say there were some bumps in the road, but that didn’t stop the Lady Horns as they punched their ticket Friday by shutting out Ada 18-0 during a 4A Regional title game.
“We have another chance to go back to the state tournament and finish what we started because we didn’t get the job done last year,” said Lone Grove senior Chloe Yeatts. “The extra grit that we have this year is really going to power us through and hopefully get us with the big trophy at the end. That’s the only trophy that matters.”
The Lady Horns proved they’re playing championship-caliber softball by jumping out to a quick 10-0 lead in the first inning. Yeatts played an important role as she crushed a three-run homer to spark the offense.
However, don’t overlook Lone Grove’s ace Emma Wilson as the junior rose to the occasion by striking out nine and holding Ada to just three hits.
“There are some great players around Emma, but she’s been incredible for a while now,” said Lady Horns head coach Dennis Furr. “Her numbers for the last month are going to be just as good as anybody in the area. There’s not anybody in Oklahoma that’s in our class who’s throwing it any better than she is right now.
"Yeah, we rely on our defense, but that’s part of the game," Furr continued. "She doesn’t have to strike everybody out. There are eight people around her who are pretty talented. That’s part of the game. You have to pitch to your strengths.”
Lone Grove has done that all season, especially as of late. The Lady Horns are on a 21-game winning streak and determined to cap the season with three more victories.
“When we’re at the state tournament next week, we’re going to be a tough out because we are hungry,” Furr said. “We’re playing good softball right now, so I couldn’t ask to be in a better place right now. These kids have worked hard and they deserve that opportunity. I think we’re going to go perform really well.”
And while Furr could easily take credit for Lone Grove’s success this season, the first-year skipper is happy to shift the focus to the Lady Horns and the rest of the program.
“I’m just steering the ship and making sure it stays afloat,” Furr said. “I tell all of my teams, ‘This is your team, I’m just here to help make sure we’re in the right spot where you have a chance to be successful.’ These kids have worked their tails off and they know the goal is to win a state championship.
"This is Lone Grove softball. We’ve been to state tons of times and that’s the expectation," Furr continued. "And that’s going to be the expectation forever. We’re where we’re supposed to be and now we need to go get that trophy.”