Lady Dragons face tough playoff foe

Posted Monday, Apr. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Carroll’s softball program may have finished third in District 4-5A. But that district is arguably one of the best in Texas.

That may have toughened the Lady Dragons (24-7) for the postseason. They stormed past Arlington Martin in the bi-district round, winning 11-1 and 11-0.

But now, they move on to the area round and face one of the state’s powers in Lubbock Coronado, which has lost only two games. Coronado, which was ranked No. 1 by the Texas Girls Coaches Association at one point during the season, is currently ranked No. 6 in the Class 5A poll. Carroll is not ranked.

Like Carroll, Coronado dominated its bi-district series against El Paso Bel Air by winning by scores of 16-6 and 15-5. The series is a best-of-three format to be played Friday and Saturday at Abilene Christian University. Game 1 is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Friday. Game 2 is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday. A potential deciding third game would be played 30 minutes after the conclusion of the second game.

“We had high expectations this year,” coach Tim Stuewe said. “We graduated seven seniors last May, but we also felt like we had a good nucleus returning along with some up and coming talent. They’ve definitely not disappointed.”

Stuewe believed his team played well in the first half of 4-5A play but struggled in the second half, leading to the third-place finish. Carroll finished 10-4. Still, he used the week off from the April 19 regular season finale to the opener against Martin to recharge his team.

A new right side of the infield in sophomore first baseman Gretchen Morgan and sophomore second baseman Nikki Spuria didn’t lose much punch. Stuewe said the duo provided consistency in the field and at the plate.

That may be putting it mildly. Spuria is currently second on the team in batting at .479. Morgan is at .355.

“They both came in at fall ball and were ready to go,” Stuewe said. “They really stepped up for us and performed the way we had hoped.”

Carroll’s offense has been like others around the DFW area in that they have taken advantage of what could be considered a down year for pitching. The team has hit 14 home runs.

Pitching plans

Throughout the season, Stuewe has relied on the duo of Christina Andrews and Alex Schneider to carry the team throughout the season.

That hasn’t changed in the postseason. Stuewe said he plans on starting Schneider in the opener against Lubbock Coronado. Andrews is scheduled to pitch the second game. And then everybody likely would be available should a season-on-the-line third game be played.

Stuewe isn’t one of those coaches who will refer to matchups when it comes to determining his rotation. He’s going to go with his instincts.

“It’s more of a feel thing,” he said. “I want to watch them work throughout the week before I really know. I do that with my batting order. I see how things are going in batting practice before I really know which way I want to go.”

Briefly…

The Lady Dragons’ use of the running game has served them well during the season. They have six players who are in double digits in steals led by Andrews’ 14 and Schneider’s 13.

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