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Timberland High School
St. Stephen

Timberland softball ready for breakout season

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

St. Stephen—The Timberland softball team has been on the brink of something special for several years, and head coach Ben Lailson hopes the 2019 edition of the Wolves will finally be the ones to get past the district tournament.

“Our expectations are the same as they have been. We don’t want to look ahead to anybody. We’re going to take it one game at a time and just try to improve on the mistakes that we make. We expect to make the playoffs and the ultimate goal is to get out of the district into Lower State. I want them to play relaxed, enjoy the season and have fun,” said Lailson.

The Wolves are currently 3-1 and opened region play with a 4-3 victory over Oceanside Collegiate Academy. They have a four-game homestand upcoming with contests against Philip Simmons, Andrews and North Charleston.

There are no seniors on the roster, but that doesn’t mean Timberland doesn’t have experience. Only one starter had to be replaced from a season ago, and several players have started for at least three years, including junior shortstop/pitcher Tori Rose, who is committed to Newberry.

“She’s a competitor. She’s going to work hard and motivate everybody. She is one of the heartbeats of the team,” said Lailson.

Junior centerfielder Brooke Moody, a Presbyterian commit, is another veteran that has started the season in a big way.

“She has started the season on fire at the plate. In the outfield, she makes sure everybody is in the right position and has stepped into more of a leadership role,” said Lailson.

Returning behind the plate is sophomore Gracie Prince.

“Everybody is trying to match her level of competitiveness and aggressiveness, and that’s a big asset for us. Her expectations are high so everybody else’s expectations rise,” said Lailson.

Her younger sister, eighth-grader Abby Prince, saw plenty of action at the varsity level a year ago and is more seasoned inside the circle this spring.

“She’s gotten a little bit faster and done a better job of hitting her spots more consistently. She’ll continue to get better and better. She’s going to give the team everything she’s got all the time and do whatever it takes to get better,” said Lailson.

 Junior Payton Sillanpaa is back at third base while seventh-grader Madison Graham and sophomore Hayley Gaskins are at second and first base, respectively.

Eighth-grader Emily Dawson is in left field and freshman Mattigan Nettles earned the nod in right field.

Also on the roster is utility player Peyton Waddey, infielder Rebekah Wyndham and outfielder Alayna Martin.

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