It was a year to remember on the softball diamond. The Greenbrier-Evans rivalry was stronger than ever thanks to a Lady Knights extra-inning win at Greenbrier's field in regular season play. The Wolfpack avenged the loss by ending Evans' season in the state sectional.
Lakeside's squad had its moments, too. The Lady Panthers knocked off Evans in regular-season play for a big region win.
Harlem, under first-year coach Mike Leverett, put together another strong season with a regular-season subregion title. The dramatic, come-from-behind win at home over Cross Creek marked one of the more exciting moments on the softball field this year.
So we now wrap up this chapter of county softball with our Columbia County News-Times All-County awards.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Masters edged out several other top athletes in a year full of worthy candidates. Masters led the county in RBI (37), home runs (8) and doubles (16). She hit .398 on the season and came through in the clutch several times when the Lady Wolfpack needed it most.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Shepherd's toughest opponent for this award was her own teammate, Laura Brown. Both pitchers were dominant for the Lady Knights, but Shepherd had more wins (14) and strikeouts (192). That complete-game, 14 strikeout performance in a win at Greenbrier also helped her cause.
COACH OF THE YEAR
The Lady Wolfpack enjoyed a No. 1 state ranking for a portion of the season and yet another region championship. Greenbrier was once again the only team to reach the state finals tournament, and its 35 wins topped the county again.
All-County First Team
P - Jenny Shepherd, Evans, So. Not only did she strike out 192 batters and finish the year with a 1.00 earned run average, she also led the Lady Knights in seven different batting categories.
P - Laura Brown, Evans, Jr. She led the county with seven shutouts and four no-hitters this year. Her earned run average of 0.74 is mind-boggling but makes sense considering batters hit only .142 against her.
C - Kacee Camp, Harlem, Sr. Camp spent most of the year at shortstop, but she moved to catcher after Ashley Waites was injured. No matter where Camp was on the field, she dominated with a .435 batting average and 21 RBI.
1B - Kassie Bailey, Greenbrier, Sr. When not dominating from the pitching circle with a 14-4 record, Bailey covered first base and hit .368 with 28 RBI.
2B - Ashlyn Masters, Greenbrier, So. The grunt that accompanied each of Masters' home run blasts this year is the worst noise opposing pitchers and coaches could hear.
3B - Kaitlin Hill, Lakeside, Sr. Hill was injured most of the season but still managed to lead the Lady Panthers with a .333 batting average, 10 doubles and 13 RBI.
SS - Kaila Hunt, Greenbrier, So. She made up the left side of the best middle-infield duo in the county (and perhaps the state) with a .389 batting average and 35 RBI.
OF - Alana Dyson, Harlem, Jr. The best outfielder in the county also played shortstop at times. She led the entire county with a .459 batting average and tallied a 1.956 on base percentage.
OF - Taylor Jones, Evans, Sr. She went the entire season without committing a single error and hit .343 with 15 stolen bases.
OF - Elizabeth Gaston, Greenbrier. Sr. She tallied 10 stolen bases and hit .333 from the plate this year.
P - Brittany Newsome,
P - Katie Tracy,
C - Nicki Kinner,
1B - Kristen Pitchford,
2B - Kristin Hampson,
3B - Rachel Fearneyhough,
SS - Heather Raborn,
OF - Amanda Scruggs,
OF - Alex Johnson,
OF - Sara Orland,
Kelsey Donnelly (E), Valerie Lawrence (E), Kaitlyn Vest (G), Jasmine Butler (G), Chelcy Stanley (G), Liana Wuchte (G), Ashley Waited (H), Kathleen Early (L), Allison Clark (L), Amanda Clark (L), Jesse Wiegers (L), Bethany Anderson (G).
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