It's been a tough season to say the least for the Watauga High softball team, but head coach Stephanie Kostis is taking a positive approach to remedy the situation.
The Pioneers (5-10 ovearll; 2-10 in the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference) dropped a 2-1 decision against St. Stephens at the WHS Softball Complex on Senior Night Friday. Molli Huffman's run-scoring double in the top of the seventh drove in the eventual winning run.
The Pioneers had a chance in the bottom of the seventh. They had a runner at first with two outs, but senior Riley Pudney grounded out to third to end the game.
"That snake has been sitting on us all year," Kostis said. "But tonight, even though we lost, I finally saw the team I come to know. Riley was the player I wanted up there in that situation. We gave a great effort tonight. And I'm hoping this will kick start our season when the tournament begins (on Tuesday). Afterall, it's a new season."
The Pioneers, a No.6 seed, will play at South Caldwell Tuesday. Senior Bailey Partin drove in WHS' only run in the top of the first with an RBI single. Taylor Drummonds singled, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. The Pioneers didn't score again.
The Indians tied the game at 1-1 with a run in the sixth. Drummonds paced WHS with three hits. The Pioneers out hit the Indians, 6-5. Kim Robinson suffered the loss. The WHS senior had one of her best outings of the year. She had 11 strikeouts. Bujt a two-out walk in the seventh opened the door for St. Stephens.
"It's been a disappointing season for our seniors," Kostis said. "But we still have a chance to redeem ourselves. The girls are pretty pumped up about tonight's game, and they're excited about getting to practice on Monday. All we can do from this point on is to look forward."
The Spartans swept WHS during the regular season, and dating back to last season, South Caldwell has beaten WHS three consecutive times. South Caldwell eliminated WHS in the opening round of the NW3A/4A Tournament last season. Tuesday's first-round game in Sawmills, N.C., begins at 5:30 p.m. The winner plays Hickory or Fred T. Foard in the semifinals Thursday at Alexander Central at 6:30 p.m.
(Final regular season, conference games only)
Alexander Central (4A) 11-1
Fred T. Foard (3A) 9-3
S. Caldwell (4A) 8-4
St. Stephens (3A) 7-5
Hibriten (3A) 5-7
Watauga (4A) 2-10
Hickory (3A) 0-12
NORTHWESTERN 3A/4A CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
Tuesday’s first round games
No. 5 Hibriten at No. 4 St. Stephens, 4:30 p.m.
No. 7 Hickory at No. 2 Fred T. Foard, 4:30 p.m.
No. 6 Watauga at No. 3 South Caldwell, 5:30 p.m,.
No. 1 Alexander Central - bye
at Alexander Central
St. Stephens-Hibriten winner vs. No. 1 Alexander Central, 4:30 p.m.
Hickory-Foard winner vs. Watauga-South Caldwell winner, 6:30 p.m.
at Alexander Central
Friday’s winners, 6 p.m.
INDIANS SNAP WHS' FIVE-GAME WINNING STREAK
Macy Franklin scored her second goal of the game in the second overtime period Friday night as St. Stephens defeated the Watauga High girl's soccer team 2-1 at Jack Groce Stadium spoiling Senior Night.
The loss snapped WHS' (8-5-3 ovearll; 6-3-1) five-game winning streak. Franklin scored the game's first goal at the 46-minute mark of the second half; Hannah Younger tied it up 11 minutes later. She scored off a cross from Lillie Brady.
"The girl's played an awesome game, but the results were not what we wanted," said WHS coach Brittany Bolick.
The Indians swept the season series between the schools with Friday night's win. WHS will play Enka in a non-conference game Monday. The Pioneers will wrap up the regular season with a road game at Fred T. Foard Tuesday and a home game with Hickory next Friday, May 3.
PIONEER WIN THIRD STRAIGHT
The Watauga High boy's lacrosse team continued its blistering assault by blowing out Patton 14-3 on Senior Night at Leigh Wallace Memorial Field Friday night. Nick Williams continued his hot scoring pace with seven more goals, raising his season total to 56 goals. He has 93 in his career.
WHS (5-5 overall; 5-0 in District 9) wraps up the regular season at Freedom on Tuesday in a make up game. The Pioneers, who have clinched a district title and their first trip to the state playoffs, can post their first winning season in school history by knocking off the Patriots Tuesday night.
The state playoffs begin Friday, May 3.