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Jefferson Davis High School

Tough Early Season Schedule Should Prepare Jefferson Davis For Softball Playoff Run

By Billy G. Baker

Publisher

Blackville—Despite getting out of the 2018-19 softball season gate at just 1-6, second year Jefferson Davis Academy coach Greg Fanning feels like a tough early season schedule against teams in the Pee Dee Pitch-off will prepare his team for the battles to come in region play.

Coach Fanning’s Lady Raiders lost to AAAAA public school member Conway 4-2 and AAAA member Marlboro County 3-2 before also losing to solid public-schools like Class A power Lake View and talented Hannah-Pamplico. The tournament was played at Freedom Park in Florence in early March.

“We wanted to face strong competition in the Pee Dee Pitch-Off so we could get prepared for region play and the state tournament later on,” said Coach Fanning. “Our goal is to get better every time we practice and every time we play. Everything we do is building towards the end of the season.

“Right now, we are not getting timely hits when we get runners on base,” said Coach Fanning. “We need for our hitting to come around. We need to put the ball in play better. Our defense has improved, and our pitching has got better but hitting is our biggest concern right now.”

 After seven games of the season veteran senior HSSR all-state catcher Becca Fogle, is leading the team at the plate at .335 batting hitting in the third spot. Fogle has a strong arm to second and she has been on the varsity for five years. She also has four RBI’s and is a team captain and she is very dedicated to the sport of softball and most base runners respect her throw to second on steal attempts.

Junior returning all-region performer Kiersten Phillips is pitching and playing third base and she has a .325 average. Her two-run homer against Andrew Jackson Academy earlier this season led the Raiders to a 9-6 win in that rivalry. The third top hitter so far is Edisto High transfer Allyssa Phillips who is batting around .280 and she pitches and plays first base.

Freshman Natalie Creech, a transfer from Blackville- Hilda, is playing second base while junior Abby Siegler is starting at shortstop and she leads the team in stolen bases. The out-field is patrolled by Caroline Robenson in center, sophomore Abbie Weeks in right and sophomore Alexis Ray holds down left field.

Some key reserves include junior Kiersten Kight who can pitch, play third or first along with senior first baseman/outfielder Betsy Boyce and senior Blake Pritchard, a part time starter at first base depending on who is pitching.

The JDA team will practice just a little over their upcoming Spring break but they will not participate in any tournaments. “We’ll come back off Spring break rested and ready to refocus on the remainder of the season and our goal will continue to be steady improvement with each practice and each game,” said Coach Fanning. “I honestly feel like we will be a much better team by the end of the season. In the early season we were making the transition between basketball and softball seasons and it takes a few weeks to make some adjustments. We are getting better all the time.”

The Lady Raiders will be away at Andrew Jackson Academy for a game on March 25th. They host Orangeburg-Prep two day later Thursday. The Raiders close out the week on the road at St. Johns Christian on March 29th.

Coach Fanning is assisted by Kelvin Phillips and Bart Owens.

 

Jefferson Davis Academy Baseball Gets First Win Of Season Over Holly Hill Academy

By Billy G. Baker

Publisher

Blackville—Seven games into the 2019 regular baseball season Jefferson Davis Academy head baseball coach Matt Lightsey is hoping his team can cut out the errors and be more consistent on the mound, now that the bats are starting to come around.

The team gained some confidence in their 13-8 win over Holly Hill Academy on March 19th. In that game pitcher Lance Ray scattered three hits and fanned four batters in the Raiders first win of the season.

Against Holly Hill Academy Ray went 2-3 with a double and a single. Junior center fielder McKinley Procter went 3-4 with a single, double and a triple collecting three RBI’s and he also had two stolen bases. Procter also came into the last inning and saved the game on the mound.

Jimmy Bozard, a senior shortstop, also had a double that scored two runs against Holly Hill Academy. Bozard walked four times and had four stolen bases in the game as well. Bozard has moved into the team’s number two pitching slot and he held Colleton Prep down to a 4-2 score after four innings, but errors set in and they lost 11-2 in the late innings.

“We seem to stay with most teams three or four innings and then the wheels fall-off,” said head coach Matt Lightsey. “We start making errors and we lose our focus.”

Other starters making good contributions are Nick Darnell who has been moved to catcher. Former catcher Tyler Renew is now playing in the outfield. “Tyler has been doing a good job putting the ball in play the past few games,” said Coach Lightsey. “Our hitting in general is coming around. We just more consistently on the mound with our pitching.”

Mitchell Webster has also been seeing time in right field. Through March 20 the top hitters are Ray around .330 with 5 RBIs and Bozard around .360 with 5 RBI’s. Procter is at .450 with 9 RBI’s and Renew is around .300.

Some other contributors on the team include middle infielder Tony Fernandez, freshman Seth Ray at second or center field, and football prospect Garrison Owens (6-8, 346) at first base. Tyler Sauls is a senior reserve right fielder long with 8th grader Ben Pena and Hunter Laird is a back-up catcher.

On March 26 the team will be at Andrew Jackson Academy before travelling to St. Johns Christin on Friday.

 “We just need to go out there and have fun and have few errors and be more consistent on the mound,” said Coach Lightsey.

 

 

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