Flashes holding firm to first place in Region 7-AA
By C.R. Cumbee
Johnsonville—Although the Johnsonville softball team had to somewhat revamp its roster this season, the Flashes haven’t taken a step back in the win column.
Midway through the region schedule, Johnsonville holds a 12-2 overall record, including a 6-1 mark in conference play. The only defeat came to Latta, but the Flashes defeated Andrews to sit atop the standings.
“We’re a young team and we didn’t know what to expect going into the season, even though they had played a lot. They’re playing well and I’d say 12-2 is not a bad start,” Johnsonville head coach Terry Welch said. “Hopefully playing in this tough region will get us ready for the playoffs. That should prepare us for the competition we’ll see down the road.”
With no seniors on the team, a pair of juniors have stepped up and led the way. Pitcher Jada Parsons started 10 of 12 games inside the circle and has been able to work out of trouble. The Florence-Darlington Tech verbal commit is also one of the team’s top hitters.
“She’s done well. Her ERA is 2.19, which is real good. She’s keeping us in every ballgame and mostly kept the other team at bay,” Welch said. “She’s struck out a good many, but she’s still walking more batters than we’d like. She gets outs when we need them and we’ve played good defense behind her when they hit the ball.”
The other top performer is third baseman Maggie Leviner, who has feasted on opposing pitching throughout the year.
“She’s made some good plays at third base for us and has the top batting average on the team. She’s come through with some clutch hits this year,” Welch said.
The rest of the veterans have played up to their potential as well, including catcher Kirby Blakely, shortstop Maelyn Thompson, second baseman/pitcher Brook Thames and centerfielder Karlee Smith.
“The bottom of the lineup has done well getting on base and we’ve been able to turn the lineup over at the top. It’s been pretty much a team effort, top to bottom. Everybody has been doing their job,” Welch said.
Welch has also been impressed with some of the newcomers to the starting lineup. First baseman Olivia Powell and left fielder Laney Evans have each made their marks at a young age and will continue to get better.
“They’re both eighth-graders and they’ve adjusted to the varsity level very well so far,” Welch said.
Right fielder Jada Cox is also only a freshman while sophomore Emily Eaddy and freshman Logan Cribb are other options in the outfield.
Johnsonville still has plenty to work on before the postseason, but with every victory, they gain added momentum. Both Andrews and Latta will try to knock them off their perch, but the Flashes will be battle-tested when the Class AA district tournament begins.
“We’re just trying to improve. You’d like to have some home game or two in the playoffs, but it’s probably going to be a dog fight down to the end between us, Latta and Andrews. All I can ask for is attitude and effort, and we’ll let the results fall where they may,” Welch said.