By Alex Byington

Harker Heights Herald

It's been so long, no one could say with any certainty when the last time was.

But all that mattered was the Harker Heights softball team opened the District 12-5A slate with a convincing 14-1, five-inning victory over host Shoemaker on Tuesday.

"It is a big win, it's a big win for our kids, (because) I think the tides have turned just a little bit," Lady Knights head coach Jaime Stephens said. "We have kids that have a little bit more drive and determination ... so it's kind of nice to get that (win) under the belt."

After struggling to just five District 12-5A wins in three years under Stephens, the Lady Knights (4-6, 1-0 12-5A) find themselves on the right side of the win column.

"It feels great. It's a great way to get off to the season and we're just going to keep the momentum, and keep winning games," said junior Brianna Smith, who pitched the complete-game, two-hitter with six strikeouts.

Following a winless run through district in Stephens' first year (2009), Heights has shown gradual improvement with two victories in 2010 and three last season - including a season sweep of Ellison. But throughout that time, the once constant has been the Lady Knights struggles against sister school Shoemaker (1-10, 0-1), including a heartbreaking 9-8 come-from-behind victory for the Lady Grey Wolves in the district opener last year.

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