The past two weeks have been busy. Spring sports are winding down, just the same as the school year. A group of Senior student athletes are going to be turning the page to a new Chapter in their life and leaving behind their beloved alma-mater. Like all good things, baseball and softball season has come to an end, and today I wanted to shine a little light on those squads.
“Leaving it all out on the field” may be one of the most overused clichés in sports. My question is, do you ever really leave it all out on the field? I certainly didn’t. I took memories with me. Memories that I will cherish until my last breath. I took lifelong friendships with me, I took scars, life lessons, heartbreak, and more joy and fiery passion than I ever knew I had. I took all of that with me when my playing days were over. So, while I gave my best effort, I’ve received more in my life from sports than I ever gave to the game. I think if we polled the players on this years baseball and softball teams, they’d probably answer the same.
The varsity baseball team, led by first year head coach Nick Milford finished the season with a 15-7 record. They achieved a six game winning streak at one point in the season and finished just one game out of first place in the region. There were home runs, walk-off wins, amazing catches, timely hits and outstanding pitching every single week. There were 14 players on this years varsity team. Only four of those fourteen were seniors. Kale Thompson, Jay Marshall, Bryce Jackson and Zach Overholt are the only four players not returning for next years season at Charles Powell Park-Mark Smith Field. They were all very instrumental in taking the Panthers to the District 4 championship game. Usually the athletic banquet is the place to hand out awards, but I wanted to give a virtual shoutout to a few folks today who played like a Panther, and Represented the A with class and dignity.
Big Bat Award goes to Bryce Jackson – He finished his Senior season with a team leading .449 batting average. He also led the team with 3 home runs and 24 RBI’s and finished first on the team with eight stolen bases. Congrats on a great season and the College of Charleston Cougars are getting a good one.
Golden Arm Award goes to Zach Overholt – He threw 48 innings from the mound this season. 19 more innings than anyone else. He finished with a final record of 7-1. He struck out 75 batters, that’s 1.56 strike outs per inning. He allowed the opposing team to hit .196 against him and finished the season with a 2.188 ERA. By comparison, that ERA would be 9th best in the major leagues as of today. Those aren’t just everyday, run of the mill numbers. Zach will continue his playing career at Erskine College next season, and we wish him all the best!
New Comer of the Year goes to Thomas Beauford – This was a tough one because there is a ton of young talent on the team this season and they all contributed greatly. However, Beauford finished with a .291 batting average, 7 RBI’s and scored 15 runs. He never flinched in pressure situations whether it was at the plate or one the mound. He appeared in five games on the mound and only started one. That one happened to be an elimination playoff game where he threw a gem. Beauford is set to be one of the young leaders on this team going forward. The future is bright.
The 2018 Lady Panthers Softball team fought tooth and nail with some of the most elite teams in the state, regardless of classification. The youth on this years squad is evident with one glance at the roster. The lone Senior was Molly Beauford. Steady in the field and a terror at the plate, #14 led the team with class and dignity, and with sportsmanship and a sheer will to win. Molly finished her Senior season with a .324 batting average, one homerun, 34 RBI’s and three stolen bases. All the best to Molly in her future endeavors.
Big Bat Award goes to Kaleigh Lollis – Lollis, a Junior this season had a tremendous season at the plate. She hit .486 for the season and had an on base percentage of .580. That means, 58% of her at-bats, ends with her safely on base. She hit six doubles, three triples, one home run and had 15 RBI’s. Lollis scored 31 runs, which also led the team and had an eye popping 24 stolen bases. The Lady Panthers will definitely be leaning on Lollis for her senior season.
Golden Arm Award goes to Reghan Steifle – As a freshman, Steifle was the work horse of the pitching staff. She threw an incredible 129 innings this season striking out 160 batters. That’s 1.24 batters per inning. Speaking of opposing batters, they only mustered a .226 batting average against Steifle. She finished her freshman year with a 3.34 ERA. Again, the future is bright for Coach Collins and Lady Panthers moving forward.
Newcomer of the Year goes to Talissa Cannady – Cannady made the varsity team as an 8th grader. That’s just hard to do all in itself. Standing out on a team of talented ladies, as an 8th grader, is even harder to do. Talissa played in 20 games this season. She finished with a batting average of .300. She had six RBI’s and scored 11 runs. Next season, she’ll be a veteran on the varsity squad and the sky is the limit for her.
Congrats to both teams on a great year, and I look forward to covering them again next season. Until next time….
God Bless and Go Panthers!