By BRAD KEITH
BROCK (May 13, 2016) — Stephenville saw the best season in the history of its softball program reach its conclusion Friday, but not until the Honeybees ventured further into the state playoffs than ever before.
Competing in their first regional quarterfinal series, Stephenville dropped a heartbreaker when Kennedale pitcher Megan Calhoun belted a walk-off home run in game one, lifting the Lady Kats to a 4-3 win in the bottom of the ninth Thursday night. Calhoun, a freshman, came back to pitch a shutout in game two Friday, leading Kennedale on to the ‘Sweet 16,’ with a 7-0 win.
Tarleton State will benefit from Kennedale’s success as first baseman Elizabeth Schiele, who signed early with the TexAnns last fall, drove in four runs. She sliced a two-run shot off the right-field foul pole as part of a three-run top of the first that set the tempo for the rest of the day. She later showed off her ability to work both sides of the field, driving a two-run double down the line in left.
Stephenville had its chances. Kali Smith opened the bottom of the first with a double to the wall in left but was stranded at third. Emily Miller and Jessica Howell each had deep fly outs that backed Kennedale outfielders to the fence, but there was little-to-no north wind to help the carry of balls on the plush South-facing Brock High School stadium.
Stephenville won its first district and area championships and set a school record with 25 wins. The Bees soared to No. 7 in the most recent Texas Girls Coaches Association 4A state rankings, the highest in school history.
Stephenville has just two seniors, Smith and Miller, and returns seven starters and 10 total letter winners next season.