YORK — While the York Comprehensive High School softball team is in the midst of a youth movement and attempting to overcome injuries to key players, head coach Susan Lee Ballard knows the Lady Cougars are capable of winning region games when playing up to their potential.
“If we hit the ball and play solid ‘D,’ we can win games this season,” Ballard said following last Friday’s 15-0 loss to defending region champ Clover.
Though disappointed in the loss to rival Clover, Ballard knows what it will take to get back into the win column.
She would like to see the team clicking in all phases of the game in much the same manner of the Lady Cougars’ recent come-from-behind win over region foe South Pointe.
The YCHS girls were down 10-5 in the South Pointe game and found a way to win.
“We were hitting the ball which allowed us to battle from behind for the win,” noted Ballard. “I thought the win over South Pointe would carry over to other games.
“There’s no way of knowing what will happen with high school kids from game to game.”
The Lady Cougars had opportunities to push a run or two across the plate in the early stages of the Clover game.
Brooke Ramsey singled in the first inning and advanced to second on a bunt by teammate Rachel Petty. Later, Ramsey was cut down at third when Jessica Bolin hit a ground ball.
The Lady Cougars had back-to-back singles in the top of the second inning but were unable to advance the runners.
Ballard and Cayla Campbell made solid contact in the fifth inning but straight to a Clover defender.
Ballard, a junior who is a three-year starter, feels at home roaming the outfield.
“I am more comfortable playing center field,” she said during the York-Clover jayvee game last week. “I can adjust to first-base when there is a need.”
Like most kids competing at the high school level, Ballard said her hitting has been up and down.
“I had three hits against South Pointe and no hits the following game,” she said.
“We have young players who are picking up on the fundamentals of the game. We’ve had players hurt. We need Nora’s bat in the lineup.”
Ballard was referring to power hitting Nora Childers, who is out indefinitely with lower back problems.
Ramsey, a junior second baseman, echoed Ballard’s views pertaining to plate appearances.
“I am hitting the ball pretty good at this stage of the season but I can do better,” she said. “You need confidence that you can hit the ball when you step to the plate.”
Ramsey said a key to future success is for the players to keep their heads up when things go wrong.
“We have a tendency to get down,” she said. “We are playing better as the season progresses. We have a young team that will be better next season and the next.”
Senior mainstay Jessica Bolin said the players have to accept the responsibility that goes with playing the game.
“The team is bonding,” she pointed out. “We are a young team and players are stepping up. We’ll be OK.”
Bolin has taken on a leadership role, especially targeting the younger players.
“They have to learn to keep their heads up when we are struggling,” she concluded.
The Lady Cougars competed in the Cheraw Softball Tournament earlier in the week and will host South Pointe Tuesday in a return to Region 3-AAAA action. Game time is set for 7 p.m.