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Carolina Academy High School
Lake City

Phillips optimistic about Carolina Academy softball

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Lake City – Based on his many years of experience, Carolina Academy softball coach Scotty Phillips feels like his 2020 team is going to be pretty good.

However, due to rain and an extended basketball season, the coach is withholding full judgement.

“We’ve had them on the field, all of them, one time basically,” Phillips said. “The basketball team made the playoffs and we’ve had horrible weather here lately. I think I know what we have, based on who is returning, but we are behind. We’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Hopefully every team we play is having the same issues.”

One thing Phillips is pretty confident of is that his pitching will be a strength. Returning inside the circle is junior Jaimee Epps, the region player of the year in 2019. Sophomore Hayley Hurst and freshman Sara Beth Lynch may also see time in the circle.

“Jaimee will be the workhorse and will pitch most of the games,” Phillips said.

Epps also rates as one of the top hitters in the lineup. In their season opening win over Dillon Christian, Epps had two hits, two RBI and struck out seven in a 9-5 win.

Junior Harley Welch is a returning starter at shortstop and anchors the defense. Freshman Maggie Johnson is the returning starter at second.

On the corners will be junior cleanup hitter Vandi Timmons at first and sophomore Rachel Yarborough at third. Sophomore Cassie McLean will be a first-year starter behind the plate.

Anchoring the outfield defense is returning starter Paxton Bish in center. Bish will hit leadoff and is the lone starting senior. Bish had two hits, two RBI and three stolen bases in the season opener.

Freshman Clare Floyd is in left field as a returning starter. Right field is up for grabs, according to Phillips.

“Offensively I think we have a chance to be pretty good,” the coach said. “We hit well last year and we have a lot of them back. I hope it carries over to this year.”

Carolina Academy is hoping to make a run at the SCISA AA state title. The Bobcats lost in the semi-final round to Pee Dee Academy last year.

“We have good potential but until we practice more and get some games under us, hard to tell how good we can be,” Phillips said. “It’s a good group to work with. I think we will be fine. Just need it to stop raining.”

Both of the basketball teams at Carolina made the SCISA state playoffs this season.

The boys team won the region championship and won 11 of their last 12 games after a 2-4 start. The Bobcats were eliminated from the playoffs with a 44-38 loss to Pee Dee Academy.

The team loses four seniors – Wheeler Floyd, Caleb Matthews, Tyler Galloway and Cody Sauls. Juniors Cade Castles and Matthew Joye will be key returning leaders next season. Castles had 17 points in the playoff loss.

The girls team made a playoff appearance for the first time in several years. They were eliminated in a loss to Oakbrook Prep and finished with a 9-9 record. They won five of their last seven game to make the playoffs.

 The lone senior on the squad this season was Haley Sims so coach TJ Stack will return a wealth of experience next season. Eighth-grader Ruby Kate Amos led the team in scoring and is a key player to watch over the next four years.

 

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