Patriot softball team is out to 'take it'
The Fort Dorchester softball team enters this season with the mentality that the prizes are theirs for the taking.
“We’ve had talent the past five years but we have struggled with our mentality,” Patriot coach Shae Mansor said. “I’m hoping we will be more aggressive this year. We have focused a lot on that. We have the ability so now it is time for them to go out and take it.”
The team lost three players from last season so it has a few holes to fill. However, it returns six starters: Kaitlyn Kerley (third base/catcher), Jessyca Calhoun (catcher), Mackenzie Broughton (pitcher), Ashley Rogers (shortstop), Savannah Ferguson (left field) and Madison Ferguson (moving from right field to center field).
“We have a very knowledgeable team in the sense that we have seven seniors and six of them have played together with me since their seventh-grade year so we all have a very comfortable understanding of what the expectations and capabilities are. We have a lot of drive. A lot of those seniors aren’t planning to play in college, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing because they know this is it; it’s now or never.”
The seniors are Broughton, Calhoun, Kerley, Rogers, outfielders Brittany Jessee and Danielle Lash and utility player Micaela Still.
Other members of the team are junior Amber Perry, sophomore Alicia Ward, freshmen Claudia Varella and Erica Lawson and seventh-grader Alison Muschek.
Broughton will be comfortable in the circle as she did most of the pitching last season. Varella also has pitching experience.
Calhoun, Rogers and Kerley, who has already signed with Erskine College, were the Patriots’ top three batters last season in terms of production. Mansor says she expects big things from them this year as well as from sophomore Madison Ferguson.
“Madison hit a growth spurt and is stronger so I’m looking for her to be more of an offensive threat this year and to kind of take control of the outfield.”
She is also excited about an increase this year in the number of middle school students coming out for the varsity and JV teams. Muschek is the only one who made the varsity roster, but the coach says having others starting out at a young age should help her program down the road.
Lindsey LaPrad, a former all-state infielder for the Patriots, joins the FD softball staff this season. Both she and Mansor led their college teams (Erskine and College of Charleston) to a conference championship.
The Patriots will face stiff competition in their region as Summerville and Ashley Ridge return some talented players from teams that made deep playoff runs last season. Bluffton, which has also fielded some strong teams in recent years, joins Region 8-AAAA this season.
Contact Roger Lee @ 873-9424 ext. 213 or firstname.lastname@example.org