Abbeville softball ready for tough region stretch
By C.R. Cumbee
Abbeville—Having young players in critical positions hasn’t stopped the Abbeville softball team from achieving success early on this season. The Panthers are 12-5 overall and a perfect 4-0 in conference play under head coach Tim Collins.
“We’ve been real pleased. We lost to Dixie three times, who is the No. 1 team in 1A. We’ve played some good teams and we’re pleased with where we’re at, but we’re still trying to move forward. We’d like to make a run at a region championship and win some playoff games. That’s really our goals this year,” Collins said.
Abbeville has a middle school combination in eighth-grade pitcher Reghan Steifle and eighth-grade catcher Kristen Smith, who has been one of the top hitters in the lineup. Sophomore Kayleigh Lollis has pitched significant innings as well.
“It’s been a pretty good situation. We feel like we’ve got two good pitchers, but Reghan’s done a good job so far. She’s still learning the ins and outs of the game. She’s got all the basics down, but it takes a while to learn how to pitch. She’s worked real hard at it,” Collins said.
Hitting has carried the Panthers throughout the year, with six different players recording a home run.
“We’ve played some teams where we’ve been able to score a lot of runs, so our average is probably higher than it normally would be. Across the board we’ve hit the ball well, and different girls have stepped up. Some nights the bottom of our lineup hits better than the top,” Collins said.
However, the team is still trying to improve on defense. Shortstop Kaitlyn Polatty is the only senior on the infield while first baseman Savannah Price and second baseman Molly Beauford are juniors. Freshman Sara Beth Ferguson is at third base after starting at catcher in 2016.
In the outfield, senior Alyssa Sellars is in left, senior Heather Fields is in center, and freshman Sydney Broome is in right. Sophomore Meghan Hall is also on the roster, but has been out for most of the year with an injury.
“We still have a small margin for error. If we make a defensive mistake, it seems like it turns into runs for the other team. We’ve got to eliminate those mistakes,” Collins said.
Abbeville faces its toughest region foe when it hosts Liberty April 7. They also have Ninety Six remaining on the schedule.