In a game where runs were tough to come by, Lewisville Softball Coach Jerry Thomas said his team took what visiting Dixie gave them. They also took the upperstate championship.
Lewisville earned a spot in the Class A state finals Friday night with a 2-0 victory over Dixie. It marked the team’s 24th consecutive victory on the season.
Lewisville and Dixie have been regular adversaries deep in the playoffs. The Lady Hornets were 16-7 coming into the game and did lose some key pieces from last year, but Thomas said it’s never a program you can overlook.
“It’s still Dixie,” Thomas said.
Both teams got leadoff singles in the first inning, but stranded the runners. Lewisville got another in the second, but couldn’t get her home. The night’s only offense and the only runs Lewisville would need, as it turned out, came in the third. Sydney Rollins (who led all hitters with three base hits) delivered a one-out single. Emerson Dickman followed with a single to left field. On that play, one of the night’s only errors took place as the left fielder misplayed the ball, allowing the runners to advance to second and third. Thomas then called for a bunt and Saleena Rollins laid down a perfect one on the left side. Dixie tried to throw home to cut down Sydney Rollins but she slid in safely for a 1-0 Lewisville lead. Alyssa Rollings got another in with a sacrifice groundout and the Lady Lions took a 2-0 advantage.
Dixie had trouble putting the ball in play against Lewisville’s Sarah Owens, with the freshman striking out 14 batters on the night. The visitors did manage to threaten on a few occasions. With two outs in the third, they got two aboard (with a walk and a hit batsman), but Owens rallied to get a strikeout and end the inning. A single, a walk and a wild pitch put two runners in scoring position in the fifth, but she coaxed a pop-up out and a strikeout to put out that fire. When Hailey Hill ripped a two out double in the sixth (Dixie’s only extra base hit and one of only three hits the team had all night), Owens struck out the next batter for the third out.
“When someone’s on base, I just want to keep her from scoring,” Owens said.
In the seventh, Owens recorded two defensive putouts. There was a celebration after the third out, but a rather subdued one. An upperstate title is a great accomplishment, but it isn’t what this team is looking for. They made it to state last year but were swept by Bamberg-Ehrhardt in the finals. Owens for one thinks this year’s team is a built a little differently.
“I’m definitely a stronger pitcher, but the chemistry is better. Just in the dugout, it makes you feel better and want to play,” she said.
Thomas said he basically knew from the time last year’s season ended, this year’s team had a shot to get back to state.
“I said from day one they could do it. There’s been some bumps along the way, but they’ve overcome them all.
Lewisville opens the Class A state title softball series at home Monday night.