STUART — With the Stuart Lady Hornets’ 17-7 loss to Binger-Oney in the Class 2A state quarter-finals Wednesday in Shawnee, the most successful year of Stuart softball history came to a close.
The 2013-14 school year saw Stuart’s fall fastpitch team reach the state semifinals. With a virtually identical roster, the spring slowpitch team also made State — the first time in school history both teams made it in one year — and took home Pitt 8 Tournament and Conference titles.
“To say that I was proud or excited, those would be understatements,” Stuart coach Chance Chapman said Thursday. “Just overwhelmed with joy. What I got out of the kids was just outstanding.”
Though the state quarter-finals ended in a six-inning run-rule loss to the No. 2 team in Class 2A, the Lady Hornets hung with the Lady Bobcats through the early innings of the game. Cierra Chapman tripled to center in the first inning, Coach Chapman said, then Chasity Garvin doubled to left to put Stuart up 1-0.
Garvin couldn’t score on Kylie Jernigen’s double, but Emilee Beck’s double drove in both Garvin and Jernigen for a 3-0 lead. Beck eventually scored on Kayla Smith’s sacrifice fly.
“We started out like a ball of fire,” Coach Chapman said.
Unfortunately for Stuart, freshman pitcher Krystin Wilson just couldn’t keep the Lady Bobcats off the basepath, especially Shaillie Gills. Gills drove in three runs with a double in the first, then later hit a three-run home run Coach Chapman said “still hasn’t landed” to give Binger-Oney a 12-6 lead after three innings.
Jernigen’s sacrifice fly scored Cierra Chapman to cut the lead to 12-7 in the fifth, but a three-run home run by Seryna Albert in the bottom of the fifth put the game out of reach.