Summer Kerley, a senior on the Wando softball team, patrols the infield.
The Wando softball team is taking one step at a time toward its ultimate goal.
“As you start each season, your goals start small,” coach Steven Legette said. “We would like to win both tournaments that we are playing in, and then move onto a conference championship. We hope to play for the Lower State championship, as well as the state championship, but it is a long way away from the starting point we are at now.”
The Warriors finished 23-8 last season, winning their conference and capping the year among the top six teams in the state. Five starters return as seniors: pitcher Danica Newton, shortstop Tori Frink, third baseman Emily Stafford, center Cadie Limbaker and left fielder Mary Margaret Taylor.
The regular season tournaments Legette referred to are in late February against strong competition, including Bishop England and Timberland, and the other is in early April in Aiken.
Wando's games against Region 7 foe Stratford – March 22 and April 12 – figure to preview the battle for first and second in the conference. The Warriors open the regular season at Bishop England, March 8,.
“They have an understanding how this hard work will pay off,” Legette said.
The Bishop England softball team have “lofty” goals this season, supported by the return of two all-state players.
“Our goals are lofty each season, and it's on a four-tier type approach: win region, win district, win Lower State, win state,” coach Mark Pender said. “This year, our confidence is high at the region and district levels. If we survive there, let's see what happens.”
Last season, the Battling Bishops finished 16-9 and were eliminated in the district round of the state playoffs. Eran Artigues, a junior shortshop who batted .576, and Sophie Berg, a sophomore second baseman who batted .509, lead Bishop England's 2013 run at a state title.
Sophomore pitcher Gabie Pinollos and sophomore first baseman/catcher Ann Marie Corder will be relied on as returning all-region selections.
But, Pender maintained that senior leadership shouldn't be overlooked.
“The key to our success will be the play of our seniors: Stephanie Johnson, Mariah Humphrey and Sam Manucy,” he said. “We will go as far as they take us.”
Bishop England and Academic Magnet figure to battle for the 2A-Region 6 title. Pender noted challenging games against Summerville, Georgetown, Wando, Brockport (N.Y.), Middlesboro (Ky.) and Cuyahoga Valley (Ohio).