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Batesburg-Leesville High School

Batesburg-Leesville Enjoys Great Success In Spring Sports

By Jay Hendrix

Special Writer

Leesville--The Batesburg-Leesville spring sports season will come to a close with 12 athletes competing in the track and field state championships and two golfers competing in the state golf championship on May 15th. The Panthers wrapped up their school year with eight Region 5-AA championships out of a possible 16. In the spring that included both boys and girls track and field as well as girl’s soccer.

The girl’s soccer team wrapped up their season with a 4-1 loss in the third round of the Class AA playoffs at Gray Collegiate Academy. The Panthers had defeated Andrew Jackson 7-0 in the second round as the #3 seed in the lower state. The Panthers were led by five seniors Meredith Black, Megan Cobb, Paige Kaiser, Nicole Lee and Eve Robison. Of these seniors three are going to play collegiately. Cobb will play at Newberry College while Robison is headed to Erskine College and Kasier will take her talents to Lander University. From last season’s team the Panthers also had three college signees and another that will be on scholarship this fall. This is an impressive feat for a program that has won five straight region championships in its five years of existence and second season under head coach Maggee Ellis.

The B-L softball team finished the season 14-6 overall and second in region 5-AA before falling in the District VII championship at Andrews. The Panthers defeated Philip Simmons to advance to the district championship where they needed to defeat Andrews twice. The Panthers won the first game 2-0 with two runs in the seventh inning while Jaylah Barr pitched her best game of the season with just one hit over seven innings. In the second game the Panthers and Jackets went back and forth with B-L forcing extra innings as Aime Johnson tripled and scored to make it 3-3 in the seventh. Both teams scored in the ninth before Andrews won 6-5 with two runs on an error in the tenth inning. The Panthers were led all season by Barr, catcher Ryanne Yarborough, Kiara Quattlebaum, Johnson and Gracie Louk. With no seniors the Panthers will be a contender in 2019 as they return to the upper state for Head Coach Tim Covington who completed his fifth season as head coach.

The baseball Panthers also fell in the deciding game of the District VIII championship as Academic Magnet came to B-L and won both contests. The Raptors blanked the Panthers 6-0 in the first game before winning the nightcap 4-2 with two runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead and claim the win. The Panthers had fought back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game 2-2 with a run in the second and the third. In the fifth the Panthers gambled with a suicide squeeze but the batter couldn’t reach the outside pitch and the runner was out. The Raptors scored two in the sixth to win as B-L finished the season 17-7 overall and were third in Region 5-AA. The Panthers were led by seniors Cameron Peterson, Tristan Wheeler, Cooper Gettys and Jaylen Derrick. The Panthers do have a solid core returning next season as Head Coach Rob Bouknight has established a deep program in his six seasons.

The Panthers won the Region 5-AA championship in track and field and will be sending a song contingent to the state championships. At the qualifier event the Panthers had two girls win their events as Lauren Caughman won the pole vault with a height of 10’6” and Ty-Layshia West won the shot put with a throw of 44’10”. Wells Hallman won the discus for the boys with a throw of 136’6”. The Panthers also have two more girl throwers going to state in Nyfashia Merrit and Ashanti Gilliam will also compete. Caughman will also compete in the high jump while West will also compete in the discus. Lay Gates qualified as part of the 4x100 team and also qualified in the 100 and 200 meters. On the boys side Draven Prior will compete in the pole vault while KeShaun Williams will compete in the long jump. The Panthers are led by head coach Omar Collier in his first year at B-L.

The golf team finished third in the region meet behind Bamberg-Ehrhardt and Barnwell but did have two individuals qualify as Shelton Shealy shot a round of 83 while James Eidson shot 91. Shealy tied for the Region Medalist but lost out in a tiebreaker. The Panthers are coached by longtime coach Eddie Hopper.

 

 

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