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Laurence Manning High School
Manning

Hussey Returns For Senior Season Hoping To Lead lady Swampcats To SCISA AAA Title

By Billy G. Baker

Publisher

Manning—The good news for the Laurence Manning Academy (3-2) softball team entering the 2019 season is that senior power pitcher Liz Hussey was cleared to resume her stellar career that earned her HSSR-SCISA AAA Player of the Year honors as a sophomore when she mowed down batters like your favorite Saturday afternoon lawn mower at grass cutting time.

Unfortunately, major shoulder surgery sidelined Hussey for her entire junior season when the Swampcats fell back a bit to finish 16-9 under first year head coach Glenda Hodge who moved up from assistant coach when Hall of Famer Maria Rowland (519-170) decided to retire after the team’s second straight state championship in 2017.

LMA has started the season at 3-2 with wins over Robert E. Lee (7-2), Trinity-Byrnes (16-1) and Williamsburg Academy (3-1). They have losses to defending AA SCISA champions Pee Dee Academy 3-2 in their season opener and a 3-2 lost recently to Cardinal Newman.

After five games (March19th) the team in led in hitting by six players hitting .300 or better. Hussey, who plays second base/utility when not in the circle, is also leading the team with a .438 average including five RBI’s and two doubles to her credit. “Liz comes to practice every day and gives 100 per cent and on occasion she can feel a little tenderness in her shoulder but for the most part she has worked hard to get back on the field and we expect she will have an outstanding senior season,” said Coach Hodge. “She looks just like she did a couple years ago before her surgery.

“We are trying to limit Liz’s total weekly pitches in practices and in games to under 400 pitches a week and we are not allowing her to pitch any live batting practices at this time,” said Coach Hodge. Hussey has pitched 19 innings with a 1-1 record and she has fanned 31 batters with a 1.10 ERA.

Right behind Hussey on the top of the hit index is veteran senior left fielder Trinity Harrington with a .400 average. Harrington, a four -year starter, was a key player as sophomore on the state title team and she has four RBI’s as well. “During the off-season we discovered that Trinity could pitch, and our plan is to use her to rest Liz as much as possible,” said Coach Hodge. “It was a nice surprise to discover she could also help us out in the circle after one of our secondary pitchers transferred out of the program.”

 Harrington has 10 innings in the circle and she had 9 strike-outs with a 3.5 ERA.

Starting sophomore shortstop Maddison Truett is the lead-off batter currently hitting .313 with three RBI’s including the team’s only home run. “Madison got our offensive award last year when she batted around .500 and she probably leads the team on base percentage also,” said Coach Hodge. “She’s our most consistent hitter.”

and first baseman McKenzie Truett is second in hitting at .333 that includes one double and three RBI’s early on. Sophomore catcher Hannah Truett is batting .308 with three RBI’s and rounding out the .300 or better index group is second baseman RandiLynn Holcombe batting .333 with one triple.

Coach Hodge said McKenzie Truett has an opportunity to put up some power numbers this season. “She is a house over there at first and nothing gets by her,” said Coach Hodge. “What I like about her is that if she comes to the plate and I need bunt she can lay it down for the team.”

Coach Hodge said that Holcombe does a good job keeping everyone calm. “She keeps everyone on the team calm and even though that might sound silly it is what teams need,” said Coach Hodge. “She is also our surprise hitter. She gets s double or triple when you do not expect it to happen.”

Rounding out the starting line-up is freshman third baseman Madison Rainwater who transferred in from a school in Georgia. Center field is being patrolled by 8th speedy grader Hannah Kate Branham. Right field is being shared by junior Breanna Boykin and sophomore Brooke Reed.

Coach Hodge said that Branham does a great job of getting a jump on balls hit in her direction. “She makes a break on the ball as quick as anyone I’ve ever coached,” said Coach Hodge. “She is an excellent center fielder.”

Coach Hodge said with pitching being a strong suit of the team the Swampcats need the bats to be more consistent. “We have six of our starters who can really hit the ball hard and make good contact at the plate and we are working at developing solid hitting throughout our line-up,” said Coach Hodge. “At this point some of our younger players are ahead on defense and they are still developing their hitting.

“Right now, we are still working on developing good team chemistry and unity that all teams need to play at a championship level,” said Coach Hodge. “We have been working a lot of team building exercises.

“Our goal is to compete and win a state championship and we will be disappointed if we do not reach that goal,” said Coach Hodge. “Our focus is to work hard and make a run in the playoffs and to get another state title. I coached with Coach Rowland on the two state titles we won in 2016 and 2017 and it is time to get another one.”

The team will not participate in a Spring break tournament this season.

 

 

 Laurence Manning Enters 2019 Season With Goals To Compete For A SCISA AAA Championship

By Billy G. Baker

Publisher

Manning—After starting off the season at 4-0, beating teams by a combined score of 40-9, Laurence Manning dropped their last games to Williamsburg Academy and Cardinal Newman to find themselves at a respectable 4-2 early in the 2019 season.

Considering the Swampcats came into the 2019 season looking to replace 8 starters a 4-2 start out of the gate shows great potential for the rest of the season.

The HSSR was on hand to witness the Swampacats 9-3 win over cross-town foe Manning on March 14th.

After the Manning game LMA assistant coach Russ Jordan was pleased with a team that is undefeated after four games, despite coming into the season needing to replace so many starters from a talented team last year. “We have a lot of younger guys who have waited their turn to start and they have bought into what we are trying to do and right now we are executing really well on offense,” said Coach Jordan.

Utility performer and ace pitcher Andrew Boyd is the lone returning starter for the Swampcats. Boyd is the only all-region starter back as well. “Boyd does a little bit of everything for us,” said Coach Jordan. “He is our ace pitcher, plays first and shortstop and is also our designated hitter”.

New starters are right fielder Aaron Carlton and third baseman Britton Morris who bat 3-4 in the LMA lineup and both have power to all fields. J.T. Stanley is playing solid defense at first base and Burgress Jordan is a steady glove at second base.

To date center fielder Brewer Brunson, Boyd and Carlton along with talented junior shortstop Chase Lee are all batting .400 or better for the Swampcats.  Seth Stamps is the starting catcher behind the plate. Jake Jordan is playing well in left field and pitching also.

“We know we have to keep working hard and improving because once the playoffs start, we know from last season just how hard it will be to play against teams like Cardinal Newman,” said Coach Jordan. “We are excited about how the younger players have stepped up so far this season. It has been a real team effort.”     

Against Manning LMA broke open a 2-2 tie in the 6th inning sending 11 batters to the plate, collecting five hits along with two walks to push across seven runs. The big hits in the uprising came on a stand-up double by Boyd, a single by Lee that put runners on first and third with one out and then with Seth Stamps at the plate the catcher over-threw second base scoring Boyd and moving Lee to second. Stamps drew a walk and two batters later Burgress Jordan walked.

A two base throwing error scored Lee from second. After Carlton reached on a walk Britton Morris reached on a single that plated courtesy runner Kyle Horton. Then a double by Jordan brought in two more runs to make the score 8-2.  J.T. Stanley, who had led off the inning, then singled in Jordan to give LMA a commanding 9-2 lead.

 

The team is head coached by veteran Barry Hatfield who was coaching in the Manning game a day or two after his father had passed away. Coach Hatfield asked assistant coach Russ Jordan to handle this interview about the team, but Coach Hatfield managed to say, “We have a good blend of older players mixed in with newer players and we are working hard to be a championship team by the end of the season when we hope to be playing our best baseball,” he said. Coach Hatfield has over 30 years of coaching experience.

Coach Jordan summed up the team’s goals and expectations with these comments, “Every year we want to win our region and get to the final championship round and compete for a state title,” he said. “Competing for state titles is expected around here. The conference is tough this year. Orangeburg Prep has a good pitcher, but we have a lot of good players also.

“We think offensively we are a little ahead of ourselves in recent years,” said Coach Jordan. “Right now, our top three pitching rotation are Boyd, Buddy Gales and Jake Jordan. We have had a large group of younger players who waited their turn behind a large group of senior last year. They are hungry and working hard to prove themselves.”

The team’s four wins were over Pinewood Prep twice in scores of 9-1 to 11-1. The Swampcats beat rival Wilson Hall 11-0 and then Manning.

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