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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

End of the line not in sight for Lady Horns

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Sports Editor

Fear not Lady Longhorn fans.

Viola may have lost out on a state title in softball this season with a loss to Lockesburg in the Class A championship game, but the Lady Longhorns will no doubt be primed for another such trip next year. Losing in the state semi-final round to Guy-Perkins last year, Lady Horn Head Coach Larry Luther decided this season would be different.

"Last year we made it to the Final Four, and I think we kind of panicked when the pressure got on us," he said. "And so this year I scheduled a rough schedule so the girls could see some of the better pitching and better teams around so we'd be more prepared for the state tournament."

And face a rough schedule the Lady Longhorns did.

Until their loss to Lockesburg, Viola had been beaten only by Jonesboro Westside (Class AAA), and Class AAAA powers Nettleton and Batesville, while knocking off Class AAAAA Mountain Home a couple of times.

"The only Class A schools we played were in our conference. I really think we helped ourselves by playing the teams we played," said Luther. "Today (state finals) we didn't step up, but if you want to play good, you have to play good teams."

One thing is for sure. Regardless of the class size of their opponents, it's a safe bet that none of them saw a better one-two combo on the mound than that of Lindsey Barker and Chelsea Taylor.

The duo ripped through opposing lineups like a buzz-saw through old plywood.

And both will be back for another go-round next year.

"We feel good about Lindsey and Chelsea coming back," Luther said. "They both had great years this year."

While the Lady Longhorns will definitely miss the up-the-middle defense of senior catcher Kyla Smoot and Gina Hodges at second base, along with outfielders Melinda Guffey and Meghan Bruns, it would be unwise to bet against Viola reaching the same stage next year.

And, maybe down the road, some of these Lady Longhorns might even call Lady Razorback Yard home.

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