Rain didn’t stop a group of Lowcountry athletes from shining in Aiken last week.
Inclement weather forced the South Carolina Coaches Association of Women’s Sports to cancel half of the games scheduled for the 2019 North-South Softball All-Stars Series at the University of South Carolina Aiken June 17-20, an event designed to award some of the best softball players the state has to offer and give them a chance to showcase their skills in front of college coaches. However, the four all-star softball teams comprised of recent high school graduates from all classifications across the state did manage to play a game each on the final day of the series.
Some 12 years ago, Lindsey LaPrad played in the series following her senior year at Fort Dorchester High School. This year, she returned to coach the 5A/2A/1A South All-Star team during the event. She and Henry Martin of Green Sea Floyds High selected the players for the team and then led them in practice as well as in a 12-2 victory over the 5A/2A/1A North All-Stars June 20.
“The college does a great job putting it on,” LaPrad said. “They keep the focus on fun and softball. I really enjoyed playing in it years ago and it’s an honor for sure to get to coach there. We had a great group of girls and they seemed to have a good time.”
While this year’s all-stars didn’t get to compete as much as all-stars have during years when the weather cooperated, they still had unique experiences during the week-long event.
“For years these girls spend so much time competing against largely the same players so it’s nice for them to get to play on the same team as some of those players and to play with, and against, players from different classifications,” LaPrad said.
Ashley Ridge pitcher Katie Freeman, who has signed with the College of Charleston, threw four innings of shutout softball and had a base hit during the 5A/2A/1A South victory. Fort Dorchester second baseman Bricelin Balcer, a Lander University signee, had a two-run double for the team. Summerville shortstop Sarah Barnhill, a Columbia College signee, also contributed at the plate and in the field.
Other Lowcountry athletes who helped the team to its victory include Cane Bay’s Mallena Wright, Charleston Math and Science’s Mollie Carter and Berkeley’s Brooklynn Stueness and Haylee Wilkerson.
Rounding out the team were Kayla Oswell (River Bluff), Morgan Marlowe (Green Sea Floyds), Kryston James (Lake View), Carli McCants (Andrews), Maelyn Thompson (Johnsonville), Kenly Daves (Hannah-Pamplico), Andrea Lyon (White Knoll), Hannah Goodwin (White Knoll), Hannah Kumiyama (Lexington) and Skye Bailey (St. James).
Kumiyama was named the team’s MVP.