Softball season began this week in Georgia as the first regular-season games of the year got under way.
In the only two games scheduled in Columbia County, Evans' softball team began the season with a 2-1 win against visiting Elbert County, while Lakeside first-year coaches Donnie Burch and Christine Gisler had to postpone its debut.
The Lady Panthers were scheduled to play Baldwin on Tuesday at 5 p.m., but administrators at Baldwin High School had to call the game off.
"Their school system doesn't have air-conditioned buses," Burch said. "So their administrators wouldn't let them get on the bus to travel here when it's this hot."
Elbert County did manage to make the hot trip to Evans on Tuesday for a 5 p.m. game. Evans Athletics Director Kevin Kenny said he read a 98-degree heat index at game time, when Lady Knights starter Laura Brown was pitching.
"It was all right for the first game. Definitely better than I expected," Brown said.
The junior pitcher gave up only two hits in four innings of work and struck out seven Elbert County batters. Sophomore reliever Jenny Shepherd jumped in to start the fifth inning and threw three innings of two-hit ball.
"I'm pleased with the pitching," Evans coach Colette Cassedy said. "You never know what it's going to be like the first game."
Shepherd also contributed at the plate where she went one-for-two with an RBI. After Evans scored the game's first run on an error by Elbert County catcher Sarah Fuller in the first inning, Shepherd immediately followed with an RBI sacrifice fly to score Brown and take an early 2-0 advantage.
Elbert County later cut the lead in half with a run on an error in the fifth inning, but that's as close as the visiting team got. Even with the near-triple-digit heat, senior Taylor Jones out of the lineup because of a family commitment and two freshmen starters, the Lady Knights started their season off with a win.
"It's a good win to start off the season, but it's also a real big eye-opener of what you need to work on," Cassedy said. "It's just a lot of little things."
Evans participates in the South Gwinnett Tournament this weekend and will return to the softball diamond Thursday when Cross Creek comes to Evans for a 5 p.m. game.
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