Perhaps no single position in any sport can have as big an impact as a softball pitcher. A dominant pitcher can elevate a decent team to greatness, while the absence of an ace can relegate a talented squad to mediocrity.
The Lowcountry had its share of standout pitchers on high school diamonds this season, including one who led her team to the brink of a state title, but we also had some hitters who could make even the strongest pitchers wary of leaving one over the plate.
After soliciting nominations and scouting reports from area coaches, poring over the stats, and applying the good ol’ “eye test” in a few cases, we’ve compiled a list of 22 of the area’s best softball players — 11 on the first team and 11 honorable mention — and hereby present the inaugural All-Lowco Softball Team.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Chris Carr, Battery Creek
In his first season at the helm, Carr certainly inherited a talented squad, but he took them to the next level. After going 15-5 and reaching the district finals in 2017, the Dolphins put together the best campaign in program history in Carr’s first season, going 25-8 — including a perfect 12-0 mark in region play — and advanced to the Class 3A Lower State final. And with only two seniors on the roster, they’ll have a chance to be even better next season.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Alexis Ortiz, Battery Creek
Although she was surrounded by plenty of talent (including three fellow first-team All-Lowco selections) Ortiz was the biggest factor in Battery Creek reaching the Lower State finals. Not only was she dominant in the circle (17-6, 1.20 ERA, 177 strikeouts) but she also hit .386 with seven home runs and 30 RBIs, earning a spot on the Class 3A All-State team. Oh, and the Dolphins get her back for an encore.
ALL-LOWCO FIRST TEAM
C: Kelsey Hill, BCHS
Reliable behind the plate and at the dish, batting .451 with 33 runs and 28 RBIs
INF: Kylee Gleason, MRHS
USC Gamecock commit was unstoppable at the plate, batting .607 with seven doubles, seven triples, five homers, and 30 RBIs
INF: Essence Champion, BHS
Hit .492 with six doubles, three triples, five homers, and 31 RBIs
INF: Olivia Turpin, MRHS
Provided power bat in middle of Sharks’ lineup, hitting .515 with nine doubles, five homers, and 27 RBIs
INF: Emily Crosby, BCHS
Junior third baseman was Dolphins’ top offensive threat, hitting .549 with 10 doubles, eight homers, and 36 RBIs
OF: JuJu Greer, BCHS
Batted .375 with 32 runs, four triples, and 26 RBIs
OF: Hayley Welsch, MRHS
USCB signee hit .430 with nine doubles, five triples, and 21 RBIs, and contributed to the pitching staff
OF: Madison Sanchez, BHS
.484 with two doubles, five triples, five homers, 30 runs, and 18 RBIs
UTL: Gabby Ximenez, MRHS
Anchor of pitching staff (8-4, 3.82 ERA) and key contributor at the plate (.508 BA, nine doubles, 23 RBIs)
P: Alexis Ortiz, BCHS
Coker signee threw two perfect games, two no-hitters, and one combined no-hitter and was one of Dolphins’ top hitters
P: Cheyenne Strong, THA
Went 10-14 with a 2.11 ERA and two shutouts, including blanking Class 3A champion Hanahan, and struck out 222 batters
Ivy Bryan, THA
Emily Cook, BHS
Journeigh Doray, BCHS
Elizabeth Erickson, HHIHS
Alexandra Fisher, HHIHS
Michaux Gee, BCHS
Marissa Majorkiewicz, JPII
Hannah Manley, MRHS
Cassandra Ruhl, HHIHS
Zoe Paulmeier, BLHS
Lillian Sumner, BHS
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