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Latta High School

 Lady Vikings reloading for run at another state title

By Neill Kirkpatrick

Staff Writer

Goose Creek – Last year the Lady Vikings fell short of their goal to defend their AA state championship as they lost in the Lower State Championship Bracket, going 1-2, even with some key losses head coach Stephanie Ard expects her team to be in the mix again this season.

“We are in the process of building some confidence with some of our new starters, but the talent and ability is there. We still have a long way to go, and I feel that we aren't playing to our potential right now, but I still have high expectations for this season,” said Ard.

The fourth ranked Lady Vikings are currently 4-2 on the year with their losses coming to Hartsville (#1 AAAA team) and Dillon (#5 AAA).

“I feel we can play with both of those teams,” Ard said.

Winning the region VII championship may be tougher than getting to the playoffs when you consider the past two AA state champions have come from that region, Latta and Andrews. In the lower state championship bracket 3 of the 4 teams were from region VII. s

Coach Ard said, “I love that our region is so competitive.  It makes the game so much more fun.  I feel that our team can win the region, but so can a couple of the other teams.  We will have to work hard and stay focused on playing our game.”

The top returning players for the Lady Vikings are Arica Gandy, Kaleigh Caulder, Jayla Jackson and Lauren Webster. Gandy is the team’s ace and one of the tri-captains along with Caulder (LF). Both are one of six girls hitting over .400 on the year. Gandy is at .429 and Caulder is at .471 and she leads the team in runs scored at 11.

Jackson (RF) is the team’s leading hitter at a blistering .833 average. Webster (C) is hitting .364 and is the team leader in walks with 7. She is also the Lady Vikings relief pitcher.

Bailey Wiggins is the teams other captain and plays third base. She is hitting .312.
Jena Stutler and Jesselyn Bryant are also hitting over .400, with Stutler at .467 and Bryant at .429. Stutler leads the team in RBI’s with 11 and home runs with three.

The rest of the starting nine are second basemen Rayne Nolan and center fielder Riana Green.

“These girls work hard, and they want to succeed.  I know they have the potential to go far.  I'm just waiting on them to see it,” said coach Ard.















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