Thursday, February 28, 2013
The Ashley Ridge softball team has to replace some high-caliber athletes who graduated last year, but coach Angi Brush is optimistic about this season.
“If these girls are willing to put in the work I think this team will go as far as it wants to,” Brush said. “If everyone maintains the right attitude we should have a great season.”
The team’s biggest hit from graduation was the loss of all-state pitcher/shortstop Paige Deschaine. However, the Swamp Foxes do return another all-state player in catcher Aubrey Rabun. The junior, who is verbally committed to the University of South Carolina, led the team at the plate last season with a batting average just below .500.
The team also returns seven other varsity lettermen: pitcher Camryn Alverson, infielder Kayla Bass, utility player Sierra Robinette, and outfielders Nicole Snow, Sara Butler, Rhiannon Williams and Nicki Young. Robinette and Snow were also among the team’s leading hitters last season and Butler has already signed with USC-Sumter.
While they all have considerable varsity experience, this season they are being pushed by a group of young athletes Brush says shows great promise.
“Some of the younger girls really want playing time and I think some of them may take some of the starting spots,” Brush said. “I love this young group. They are always happy plus they are committed and don’t mind working hard. They want to improve and want to play. They want to learn.”
Freshmen Alyssa Atienza, Emily Hutt and Annika Ponton have all shown potential at the plate and as infielders.
“They will likely play a lot,” Brush said. “Alyssa is really strong at the plate. She can hit and she is quick so when she bunts she can beat out the throw.”
After serving primarily as a backup to Deschaine last year, Alverson is expected to be the Swamp Foxes’ starter in the circle this season. Brush says the 13-year-old should handle that role well.
“She has hit a growth spurt and it is helping her in the circle,” Brush said. “She has more confidence this year.”
Sophomore Kendall Zeski and eighth-grader Valerie Frank may also pitch some.
Rabun may see some time at third base this season. If she does, Hutt or Ponton will likely play behind the plate.
Freshman Kelly Cousins is also new to the team. She is hoping to earn some playing time in the infield.
Brush says the addition of Bluffton makes Region 8-AAAA even more competitive, but she thinks her team will be in the mix again this season.
“One of our strengths is how well the girls get along,” she said. “There is a big age difference between some of our players but this team still has great camaraderie. They believe in each other and work together.”
Contact Roger Lee @ 873-9424 ext. 213 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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