The Glen Rose High School softball team reached the second round of the Class 4A playoffs this season and surpassed the 20-win mark, and indications are that the Lady Tigers could prove to be even better next season.
Coach Kiel Miller’s Lady Tigers defeated Krum in the bi-district round, two games to zero in that best-of-three series. Then they split their area-round series with Big Spring Saturday at Abilene Christian University with a 6-5 win, but fell in Game 3 later that afternoon, 4-1.
Big Spring had won Game 1 of the series on Thursday, 5-3, but the Lady Tigers bounced back for the split in Game 2.
That marked only the fourth time in GRHS softball history the Lady Tigers had made it to the second round in postseason play.
Big Spring advanced to the regional quarterfinals, set for this weekend against Burkburnett.
Miller is losing two valuable four-year lettermen — Tatum Stegint and Courtney Morris — but the other 11 players on the varsity roster should be back next season. They finished District 7-4A as the third-place team with a 4-4 record, behind champion Brownwood and runner-up Godley.
“We had a strong year. We got better with every game. We set a lot of records along the way as well. A lot of that had to do with some freshmen who came in and had experience. We were not that inexperienced, just a young team.
“A lot of girls have high expectations. I have high expectations. They didn’t like being defeated. I think that’s a big factor. I think that was a bad taste in their mouth.”
Miller said the Lady Tigers made a couple of mistakes that led to Big Spring runs being scored in the deciding Game 3, plus the team’s bats weren’t quite as hot as they had been recently.
“We had been scoring lots of runs,” Miller said. “Their pitcher kept us off balance. We never could get in rhythm. It was 1-1 going into the second inning, and they scored three on our mistakes.”
The team will miss the versatility of Stegint and Morris, who were big contributors with what Miller labeled as intangibles as well as being good leaders.
Stegint, a power hitter who set home run records for the Lady Tigers, was mostly at third base but could also play shortstop. Morris began her varsity career as a pitcher, and developed into a utility player who provided experience in the outfield, first base and second base whenever needed.
“Our two seniors were leaders of the team, on and off the field,” Miller said of the two. “They were good role models for the girls to follow with their work ethic and intangibles to help the program with success.”
In the deciding Game 3 Saturday, the teams were tied at 1-all at the end of the first inning but the Steers picked up three runs in the fourth for the winning margin.
Taylor McKenzie was 2-for-3 with a double to spark the Glen Rose offense, and the lone run was driven in by Belle McDonald.
Starting pitcher Addison Nance took the loss. She worked 3-2/3 innings, giving up four runs (only one earned) on three hits, struck out two and walked three.
In Game 2, earlier in the day Saturday, the Lady Tigers never trailed. They scored four runs in the top of the third, then added one in the fourth and fifth. Meanwhile, the Steers scored one run in the third, fourth and fifth before getting two final runs in the sixth.
Stegint provided four runs batted in, with a three-run home run and a sacrifice fly. Kaycee Bock drove in one run and was 2-for-4, as was Belle McDonald. Mallory Goff had one RBI and went 1-for-2.
McKenzie was the starter and earned the victory. In five frames she allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits, struck out three and walked only one.
Addison Nance worked the final two innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits. She struck out one and walked one.
In the opening-game loss, the Lady Tigers took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning, but Big Spring went up 3-1 in the third and 5-1 in the fourth. Glen Rose added one run each in the fifth and sixth.
Nance provided two RBI, going 2-for-3 with two solo home runs, while Bock drove in one run while going 2-for-4. Goff was also 2-for-3.
Starting pitcher Taylor McKenzie took the loss, giving up three runs (one earned) on four hits. She struck out three and walked two.
Nance worked three innings in relief. She allowed two runs on three hits, while striking out one and walking one.