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Batesburg-Leesville High School

Panthers Prepare for the Diamond

By: Jay Hendrix

As basketball came to a swift end at Batesburg-Leesville (boys missed the playoffs and the girls lost in the first round), attention quickly turned to the prospects on the baseball and softball diamonds.

 Head Coach Tim Covington returns for his seventh season at the helm of the B-L softball program and has a senior laden roster and high hopes for 2020. B-L has won district championships the past two seasons and last season, with a 16-7 record, was a win away from playing for the Class AA Upper State Championship a year after playing for the Lower State crown.

The Panthers have been led by pitcher Jaylah Barr who has been stalwart in the circle for the Panthers. Barr pitched every inning last season as she compiled an ERA of 2.12 with 135 strikeouts in 155.1 innings pitched. Barr also batted .343 with two home runs and 19 RBI.

Barr can also play third base if one of the young pitchers Maddox Long or Jamie Sheaffer get some time in the circle. Behind the plate has been Ryanne Yarborough, a six year starter also, batted .352 with 13 RBI in 2019.

The left side of the infield is back with Aime Johnson as shortstop and Audreyona Rodgers at third base. Johnson batted .291 in 2019 while stealing a team hit 19 bases and scoring 25 runs as the team’s leadoff hitter. Kaya Patterson will see action at second base while Long will see plenty of playing time at first base as just a seventh grader. Fellow Middle Schooler Sheaffer has position versatility at first base and catcher as well.

Centerfield is anchored by another senior Kiara Quattlebaum who offers the Panthers plenty of range with senior Annabelle Summers in rightfield. Quattlebaum started every game last season and led the team with a .422 batting average, six home runs and 28 RBI. Quattlebaum also stole 12 bases. Patterson and Cassie Covington will play in leftfield.

In baseball the Panthers are coming off an injury ravaged season in 2019 when they went 13-10 and played for the District championship. Head Coach Rob Bouknight, in his eighth season, has had success recently with the 2018 team going 17-7 after a 21-6 team that played for the Lower State Championship in 2017.

Bouknight has several returners back from last year

Reid Watson also started played every game last season and opened the season at shortstop while centerfielder Kolby Craps returns after being third on team with 14 RBI in 2019. LJ Todd will anchor first base this season while Andy Chavez will hold down the hot corner. In 2019 Chavez batted .250 with 13 RBI while playing third base.

Matthew Boozer is the top returning hitter after batting .265 last season with 11 RBI as he started every game for the Panthers in the outfield. Boozer will play leftfield while the speedy Jackson Lorick looks to have a hold on right field after coming up from junior varsity at the end of 2019. Cade Bouknight played significant innings last season as a middle schooler and will again hold down second base for the Panthers. Trevor Jeffcoat will start behind the plate for the Panthers.

Craps and Salter are the most veteran arms returning as Craps was 3-2 with a 3.00 ERA last season in 30.1 innings while Salter was 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA in 26.1 innings. Boozer, Watson and Chavez all pitched last season and will be looked upon to contribute this season as well.

 

 

 

 

 

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