A bumper crop of softball talent in Columbia County has helped all four area teams - Greenbrier, Evans, Lakeside and Harlem - reach their state sectional tournament.
Evans High School's Chelsey Glass works on her fielding during practice.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
At Evans, the Lady Knights have found their own way of getting there.
"We don't go by statistics," Evans senior left fielder Abby Donnelly said.
Donnelly's words couldn't be more accurate. Ask a Lady Knight batter about her batting average or a pitcher what her earned run average is and she'll give a confused look.
"I have no idea," senior pitcher Cayla Hale said. "It doesn't matter."
Evans head coach Colette Cassedy is behind it all. For the past 17 years, she's coached without revealing her players' statistics to anyone.
The players play, the pitchers pitch, and throughout the entire season, no one knows anything about the team's individual statistics.
Evans' Cayla Hale fields a ball. The Lady Knights softball team has qualified for the state playoffs. Head coach Colette Cassedy puts an emphasis on the team over individual statistics.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Cassedy said it's not a cover-up but a unique way of emphasizing the team over the individual.
"A number doesn't show what a hitter is doing wrong," Cassedy said. "It's not about the numbers."
Cassedy does keep statistics. Coaches are required to turn individual statistics in to the GHSA at the end of the season for All-Region and All-State considerations.
On a rare occasion, Cassedy said, she will give out individual stats to a senior with college prospects or for a scrapbook collection at the end of the season.
With those few exceptions, Evans players will never see their stats. They're fine with it.
"I like it better that way," junior pitcher Andria Batchelor said. "If you have a good ERA you're too worried about it. ERA doesn't determine whether you're a good pitcher or not."
Cassedy said an occasional parent or opposing coach doesn't respond to the team's policy as well as her players.
"I've had parents who wanted to know their daughter's stats," Cassedy said. "Other teams will try to post the stats from a game on the Internet. We'll go in and take them down."
Despite some resistance, Coach Cassedy's rule is working.
The Lady Knights have reached the AAAA South State Sectionals 11 times in the past 12 seasons.
This season, Evans once again reached the state playoffs. After beginning the season with a 1-4 record, the Lady Knights have rebounded to finish 19-15 including a second place mark in the Region 2-AAAA Tournament.
"That's what we've been practicing for," Cassedy said. "It's not about our record. It's what we do at the end of the season."
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