St. John’s Christian softball off to good start
By David Shelton
Moncks Corner – Though still a small sample size, things are clearly looking good for the St. John’s Christian Academy softball team in 2017.
The Cavaliers opened the season with a 6-1 record, including a win over perennial power Holly Hill Academy. St. John’s has moved into a more competitive region this spring but coach John Ellis feels his team is prepared to contend for a region title.
“We have been fairly young for a few years but we’re finally getting to the point where we have juniors and seniors on the field and we’re prepared to be good,” Ellis said. “We have high expectations for this team and, so far, they are playing very well. We know the region we are in this year is very competitive but we feel we have a team that is talented and experienced.”
Among the top returning players is junior first baseman Claire Gilmore, who began playing in the program as a sixth-grader. Gilmore is off to a torrid start, hitting .750 with three homeruns in the first six games. Gilmore had two homers in the win over Holly Hill Academy.
“She’s the leader for us,” Ellis said. “She’s been playing a long time here and she’s very confident at the plate.”
The team has only two seniors this season. Cheyenne Oliver is a utility infielder who also can play in the outfield, while Brett Baty is the starting catcher and is hitting better than .500 this season.
“Brett is the brick and mortar for us defensively and Cheyenne can literally play anywhere on the field,” Ellis said. “Both also are great leaders.”
Junior Sara Mitchum starts at second base and is hitting .462 early on. Junior Hope Glover starts at shortstop and has hit .417 early. Morgan Ellis hits cleanup and plays third base when not pitching. She threw a three-hitter in the circle against Holly Hill.
Freshman Hannah Roberson is the team’s other worker in the circle and also plays in the outfield. Junior Natalie Shuler plays in center and junior April Moody is playing in right field.
Eighth-grader McKenzie Ellis is also seeing time in the outfield and is hitting over .400 early on. Madi Hourihan, Lexi Perry and Nikkie Clarke round out the squad.
“We are excited about the start and we hope to continue to improve,” Ellis said. “I think we have a chance in the region but we have a long way to go. We have to keep working and not be satisfied.”
St. John’s will play Dorchester Academy on April 18th and Holly Hill again on April 21st. Dorchester handed St. John’s their first loss. The region will likely be decided that week.