By Ruben Lowman
The Loris Lady Lions varsity softball team has been on a tear this season, and they hope to continue their winning ways against rival Aynor in a top of the table clash this week.
The Lady Lions have put together a record of 12-5 (5-1 Region VII-3A) that has seen them rise to a top five ranking in the entirety of the state. For a team with no seniors that is quite the accomplishment, and there’s still so much left to play for for the Lady Lions.
“Our softball team is much improved this year,” said Loris Athletic Director Barry Brooks. “Coach David Smith has done a good job of teaching them the game this year.”
The Lady Lions have been able to have so much success this season, which includes a 7-2 record at home, because they have several exceptional softball players, including a couple middle-schoolers. Brooks said the talent they have has been a key factor for the Lady Lions.
“We also have some very talented players,” Brooks said.
Sophomore Karley Hand has led the team from the pitching mound, where she has dominated several games, including a huge victory over Dillon, the number-one ranked 3A team in the state. Junior Bailey Rice has also contributed greatly at second base and as a pitcher. Shortstop Haley Spence and outfielder Caitie Black, both eighth-graders, have been key batters at the plate for the Lady Lions.
Brooks said the level of talent within softball is bursting through the younger age groups in Loris, with the JV team also having a lot of good players. He said that much of that comes from the parents of the players, who instill the desire for the game, as well as the fundamentals.
“The pool of talent coming into Loris in the softball program right now is outstanding,” Brooks said. “A lot of that is contributed to the parents.”
The girls on the softball teams have grown up together, Brooks said, and that has enabled them to have the connection needed to deal with success and adversity at such a young age.
With a big showdown on Tuesday night with the top team in the region in Aynor, the Lady Lions will need to keep their mettle at the plate and on the mound. The team also has a non-region game against a talented 4A team, North Myrtle Beach, on Thursday.
“This team is very young and I’m sure they will be competing for many accolades going forward,” Brooks said.
Asked about state championship aspirations, Brooks was coy.
“You never know,” said Brooks.