Stonewall — The young Stonewall softball team did it with defense.
The top-ranked Lady Longhorns followed a 5-3 first-round win over No. 20 Sterling with a tense 4-2 victory over No. 8 Stuart in Thursday’s regional championship game to punch their ticket to next week’s Class 2A State Tournament.
“In slow-pitch, everybody thinks it’s about offense, but it’s not. It’s about defense. With the wind blowing straight in today, you weren’t going to put up a lot of runs,” said Stonewall head coach Brian Davis. “That’s what I like about this group. We’re built for this type of game and the kind of games you’ll see at the state tournament.”
Stonewall survived four errors in the opener but didn’t make a miscue in the regional title game against a talented Lady Hornets team. Sterling’s only runs came via a three-run homer and Stuart avoided a shutout with a two-run blast.
“All the runs scored against us were home runs and you can’t defend a home run. We did a real good job defensively,” Davis said. “We hit behind runners like we were supposed to all day — just the little things that make a big difference.”
The Lady Longhorns — affectionately known as the “Diaper Gang” due to not having a senior on the roster —made it to the top of the 2A rankings in the midst of a nine-game winning streak midway through the season. Stonewall then lost five of its next seven but Davis wasn’t overly concerned due to the competition his team was facing day in an day out.
“I don’t know that we hit a dry spell. We just played some very good teams,” he explained. “We worked hard every day in practice and we knew our schedule. Yeah we lost some games, but I’ll put my schedule up against anybody’s in the state. And it’s starting to pay off. It got us ready for today.”