But at State, Booth said, the Hornets committed several errors.
“We have yet to win a game in the state tournament, so until you do, you don’t know how,” Booth said.
The Lady Hornets also beat Moss to advance to State. As the two schools are just half an hour away from each other, Stuart’s twin victories can only strengthen the rivalry between the two schools.
Both coaches credited part of their postseason success to their starting pitchers. Booth said Dillon Lawrence struck out 19 batters in 10 combined innings against Moss and Leedey, while Chapman said Makayla Clark walked just one batter in two State games.
“She did a great job locating her fastball and her changeup,” Chapman said of Clark. “I couldn’t ask for anything else from a 15-year-old sophomore. I think Makayla ca get stronger, both physically and mentally. She has a long way to go, but I think her ‘want to’ and desire is there.”
Both coaches will also take clear lessons from their postseason experiences into the spring. The Hornets, Booth said, will prioritize opposite-field hitting and pitching to both sides of the plate, while the Lady Hornets will work on defense heading into the slow pitch season.
“Leedey really pitched us to where we need to hit the ball to all fields, and we know we can improve in that area,” Booth said.
“And, (we’ll have) just an overall emphasis on getting a little bigger and stronger through the off-season.”
But before the spring comes the winter, which for Stuart means basketball season. Many of Stuart’s baseball players and softball players also play basketball, and between Stuart’s neighboring ball fields and back-to-back girls’ and boys’ basketball games, the same core group spends basically the entire athletic school year together.