Lakewood Ranch Mustangs clipped 2-1 by Countryside in regional semifinal
CLEARWATER -- Most of the time, good pitching, as the saying goes, beats good hitting.
There is of course, an exception -- when timely hitting beats good pitching.
Hosting Lakewood Ranch in a Class 8A, Region 3 semifinal Tuesday, Countryside got the timely hit and came away with a 2-1 prep softball decision at Countryside Community Park.
With the loss, the Mustangs end the season with a 23-5 mark.
"It definitely hurts," Lakewood Ranch coach Maggie Feix said. "We fought and we played our game. We just weren't able to adjust to the pitching as we usually do. But we never let up and I'm proud of them for that."
The loss offset an outstanding effort from Lakewood Ranch pitcher Logan Newton. The Mustangs left-hander, who started with three perfect innings, recorded 10 strikeouts while allowing just three hits in a complete game.
"She was on fire," Feix said. "I'm very proud of her effort tonight. She couldn't have done a better job."
Countryside's Stella Preston also went the distance, allowing five hits to go with three strikeouts.
"We knew Lakewood Ranch was a great team and they had two pretty good pitchers, but Stella does a great job," Countryside coach Kayly Bayly said. "She just wants to win."
The timely hit for Countryside came in the fourth inning on a bases-loaded, one-out bloop two-run single by Preston just over the head of Mustangs shortstop Kinsey Goelz.
"We had the infield in with the bases loaded and they had that bloop hit," Feix said. "That's what did it for them."
From her perspective, Newton thought she had delivered the perfect pitch.
"It was exactly the pitch we were going for," she said. "We thought she (Preston) would hit it right to Kansey and it would be a catch, maybe even a double play, but she got it just over her head."
Prior what proved to be the game-winning hit, the Mustangs also had a chance, putting two runners in scoring position in the second inning. Preston, however, was able to pitch out of the jam.
"We got some hits here and there. We just didn't string them together like we wanted," Newton said. "But was a good fight."