Lady Longhorns suffer season's first loss in state semi-finals

Thursday, May 15, 2003

The Viola Lady Longhorns' amazing softball season came to an end May 6 in the semi-finals of the Class A State Tournament in Pine Bluff with a narrow 4-3 loss to the Guy-Perkins Lady T-Birds.

The Lady Longhorns finish their superb season with a record of 27-1.

"We just tried to take it one game at a time. We never really looked at our record as we went along," said Lady Longhorn Head Coach Larry Luther.

Viola advanced to the semi-finals with a 2-1 win over Humphrey.

"The deeper into the season and playoffs you get, the better the competition gets. We played some really good teams in Pine Bluff, " Luther said.

Going back to the regional round, the Lady Longhorns allowed their opponents just six runs in the playoffs, while scoring 78 runs themselves.

"We worked really hard on our offense this year. We probably spent more time on hitting than anything else," said Luther. "We went through hitting drills as a team, and we also took time to work on individual hitting as well."

Viola opened play in the state tournament May 3 with a 16-1, four-inning win over Concord.

Hannah Benton earned the win for the Lady Longhorns by fanning 11, walking one, and allowing just one hit.

"We were fortunate to have three outstanding girls that could all throw. We lose Hannah, but Lindsey's (Barker) a sophomore, and Chelsea's (Taylor) a freshman, so we'll have depth on the mound next year, too."

It can be tough when the only loss a team takes all year comes in the state semi-finals, but regardless, 27 wins is an accomplishment few teams can claim in a year's time.

"I'm really proud of this team. We had a good run and the girls played real hard. I couldn't ask for any more than that," Luther said.

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