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Chester High School
Chester

Chester softball ready to contend for region title

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Chester—Head coach Chris Dodson took over the Chester softball program in 2017 and guided the Cyclones to an appearance in the district finals last year.

The team is made up of mostly sophomores this season and has a bit of rebuilding to do after losing nearly half the lineup to graduation last spring. Chester is 3-1 early on and 2-0 in conference play with victories over Camden and Keenan.

“A lot of them are jayvee kids that came up. They were 15-1 last year on jayvee. We’re young but we’re talented,” said Dodson. “This is my third year with the program so most of them started with me in seventh or eighth-grade. Everything I’ve been telling them, they’ve bought in. That was what created their success at the jayvee level and that’s what we have going on now on the varsity.”

A pair of seniors has led the way at the plate and in the field for the Cyclones. Gloria Williams is a three-year starter at pitcher and batted over .400 last year.

“She’s been clocked at 60-62 (miles per hour) with her fastball and she has pinpoint accuracy hitting the corners. She’s got about five pitches in her repertoire,” said Dodson.

Shortstop Zoe Mapp-Brown posted a .380 average a year ago and has good speed. She can be used in a number of ways to help her team.

“She has the ability to play anywhere on the field. Last year she was at third, short, second, first, and even caught when we played teams that tried to run so we could throw them out at second. She could probably outfield if we really needed her to,” said Dodson.

 Other starters returning in 2019 include senior catcher Cam Price, junior centerfielder Monique Griffin and sophomore first baseman Layla Morgan.

Newcomers to the group are left fielder Ariana McCree, third baseman Sha’Coreia Minter, second baseman Abby Wishert, right fielder KeKe Wilmore and designated player Hayley Hunter. Sammi Ryckeley and Pam Givens are the reserves.

The Cyclones travel to Fairfield Central March 22 and still have two games with defending region champion Indian Land.

“It’s a real good rivalry,” said Dodson.

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