Stillwater High has proven itself a quality softball team against most of its foes.

The eighth-ranked Lady Pioneers are 14-4 and have to be considered one of the favorites to claim the inaugural Centennial Conference title.

But No. 6 Enid is the other favorite.

The Pacers are 2-0 against Stillwater this year and handed SHS its only loss of the conference slate thus far. Enid is led by pitcher Alex Jones, who threw a four-inning perfect game against Lawton on Friday.

Jones’ fast arm has shut down the Lady Pioneers — she has not allowed a run in 14 innings against SHS, as she won a 1-0 decision in the gold-bracket finals of the Broken Arrow Tournament on Aug. 18 and a 2-0 matchup in Enid last Tuesday.

“We have worked a little bit in practice on swinging at some quicker pitches,” said SHS coach Angela Knott, whose club hosts Enid on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. “We don’t face it very often. It’s hard to make the big adjustment from most the pitchers we see, around 48 miles per hour, to Jones at 60.”

She added, “It’s a huge adjustment for our hitters. We’re facing slower pitchers and you’re telling them to wait, wait, wait and they get impatient. Now they have to make the adjustment to be quick.”

This game could be make-or-break for SHS’s hopes of winning the Centennial title.

Stillwater has already swept Bartlesville and Sand Springs and is 1-0 against Sapulpa. SHS also run-ruled Ponca City in the Stillwater Festival, so the Lady Pioneers have to be favored in both of their Centennial meetings with PCHS.

Put it all together and it appears Stillwater can either get back on equal footing with Enid on Tuesday, or the Pacers can give themselves a two-game lead that would be virtually insurmountable.

“I don’t want to just hand it over to them,” Knott said. “(A loss) could definitely be enough (to give Enid the title). It wouldn’t take much more.”

The coach admitted her team finds it “aggravating” that half of its losses have come against Enid. She also said Stillwater mistakes have led to EHS’s runs in their meetings.

“We’d like to come out a little more efficiently and play the game more mistake-free,” Knott said.

As they haven’t played since last Tuesday, the Lady Pioneers have used extra practice time to work on things like communication and aggressiveness on defense.

“We’ve had too many balls hit that we haven’t made plays on,” Knott said. “We have to go get the ball.”

After Tuesday, Stillwater heads to the OU Tournament, where it hopes to impress some teams from the west side of the state and improve its ranking.

That would increase its chances of hosting a Regional Tournament.

SHS then visits Tulsa Union on Sept. 11 and hosts Jenks on Sept. 13.

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