Defense makes a difference.
The young Storm Lake-St. Mary's softball team has struggled at times this summer in the field, but appears to be putting things together defensively with tournaments just a week away.
The Panthers used a strong defense and just enough offense to edge Aurelia 3-1 Wednesday night in Storm Lake.
"This was a great game for us," said St. Mary's coach Courtney Berg. "The girls played with a lot of heart and I'm proud of them."
On the mound, Panther ace Ashley Langner scattered eight hits, allowing just one earned run. She walked seven but struck out two.
Coach Berg added that senior centerfielder Colleen Smith made a pair nice catches, holding down Aurelia rallies in the fourth and seventh innings.
"Our defense was great all night long and we scored runs when we needed to and despite only having five hits," she said.
Aurelia lefthander Sara Husman also pitched well, but was the hard-luck loser.
Becky Lenhart drove in a run for the Panthers with a single, while Abby Richardson hit a double. Sophomores Jess Lussman and Janie Imming each hit singles, and Ashley Schultz scored twice.