Dillon Softball Ranked 4th In HSSR Ranking, Wildcats Hoping Tough Non-region Schedule Will Prepare Team For Upcoming AAA Playoffs, Baseball Team Also Competing For Playoff Spot
By Billy G. Baker
Dillon—A tough non-region schedule against teams like Hartsville, East Clarendon, Darlington and Latta should bode well in preparing the Dillon Wildcats (11-3) softball team for the fast approaching AAA playoffs under second year head coach Kelvin Roller.
“All three of our losses have come by one run and we will continue playing a tough non-region schedule to get better prepared to face good pitching and good teams in the playoffs” said Coach Roller. “The two losses against Aynor (6-5 and 2-1) recently were really big because it puts us in second place in the region. One of the losses came off a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 7th inning and that a tough way to lose that game.
“Last year against Aynor we got the breaks and won close games and this year they got more of the breaks and beat us twice, and that is the way it goes sometimes,” said Coach Roller. “The frustrating thing about our three losses is several times during those games we got a runner to third and simply couldn’t get a timely hit to get the run across. We have to find a way to drive runs with runners on second and third.”
The team was scheduled to play at Hartsville on April, 6 but bad weather was threatening to postpone the game as the HSSR went to press. The Wildcats have a home region game against Lake City on April, 7 and then they are on the road to Darlington on the 10th at Georgetown on the 12th before playing at Waccamaw on the 13th. The team will close out the regular season on April, 25 with a game against Darlington and they have a make-up game with Latta on April, 24.
“Right now it looks like second place will come down to us or Georgetown and it is very important that we finish second get a home game or two in the playoffs,” said Coach Roller. “Our pitcher Tori Grimsley is having a great year but we are not getting timely hits behind her. She has had three tough luck losses this year.”
Grimsley has 85 K’s in 83 innings of work this season and she sports a 10-3 over-all record. She has a 1.27 ERA. At the plate she is hitting .350 with 7 RBI’s.
On April, 4 in the Wildcats latest game resulted in a 11-1 win over Loris. In that game senior shortstop Johanna Rogers collected four RBI’s and Grimsley tossed a four hitter. The Wildcats bats were active with 13 total hits.
Leading the hit index as of April, 5 is DP and sometimes first base starter Brittany Miller at .409 including two doubles and two triples. Right behind her is talented senior center fielder “Lefty” Smiling at .405 and she has signed to play at Florence Darlington Tech. Rogers is batting .372 with 12 RBI’s
The team’s power hitter with six home runs is sophomore first baseman Skyler McCoy who is batting .348 with a team leading 15 RBI’s. Senior third baseman Taylor Blackmon is batting .306 with six RBI’s.
Other starters contributing include junior Emille Price at second batting .289 with 9 RBI’s and two triples. Speedy 8th grader Jayla Goodwin has five RBI’s and uses her speed to get to balls in right field. Versatile junior switch hitter A’doshia Graves does a good job in left field. Senior Ashley Phillips is doing a good defensive job behind the plate and she has 7 RBI’s thus far.
“We have been battling some injuries this season and last week was the first time all year we have been at full strength,” said Coach Roller. “We feel good about being very competitive over this final part of the season and our goal is to playing our best softball once the playoffs start.”
Dillon Baseball Update
As of April, 5 the Wildcat baseball team was 6-9 and still fighting for a playoff spot in a region full of parity.
The team’s top hitters are junior center fielder John Mitchell Carter, senior shortstop Ladarius “Pee Wee” Wilson and junior left fielder Tramale McKoy.
The pitching staff has been hurt by injuries to Billy Ray McGirt and Tristan Brigman’s back injury has sidelined him for the season. McGirt hopes to get back at some point. The pitching has been picked dup senior Andrew Rowell, Wilson and Carter.
Some of Dillon’s win have come over Loris, Hannah-Pamplico, Georgetown and Latta.
Another bright spot for the team has been the paly of 8th grader Noah Carter who has played third but recently moved to catcher. Carter can hit for power and he has had several timely hits of late and he is batting around .300.
Dillon will host Lake City on April, 7 before going to Georgetown on April, 12 and then they go to Waccamaw the following day.
Head coach Gregg Dozier is in his 23rd year at Dillon and he has coached the Wildcats to four Lower State titles.