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Lady Rebels boast strong nucleus
Sydney Newberry
Effingham County shortstop Sydney Newberry fires the ball to first base during a 2018 game. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff


Wednesday — Screven County, 5 p.m.

Aug. 13 — Statesboro, 6 p.m., doubleheader

Aug. 14 — South Effingham, 6 p.m.

Aug. 20* — Bradwell Institute, 5 p.m., doubleheader

Aug. 22* — at Bradwell Institute, 7 p.m.

Aug. 27* — Glynn Academy, 4 p.m. doubleheader

Aug. 28 — at Southeast Bulloch, 4:30 p.m.

Aug. 29* — at Glynn Academy, 6 p.m.

Sept. 6-7 — Cancer Awareness Tournament at Greenbrier, TBD

Sept 10* — at Brunswick, 4:30 p.m., doubleheader

Sept. 12* — Brunswick, 4:30 p.m.

Sept. 16 — at South Effingham, 6 p.m.

Sept. 17 — at Screven County, 5 p.m.

Sept. 18 — Southeast Bulloch, 6 p.m.

Sept. 21  — Greenbrier, 1 p.m.

Sept. 23* — Richmond Hill, 6 p.m.

Sept. 25* — at Richmond Hill, 6 p.m.

Sept. 26* — Richmond HIll, 6 p.m., doubleheader

Sept. 30 — vs. South Effingham at Josh Reddick Stadium, 6 p.m.

* — Region 2-AAAAAA game

SPRINGFIELD — The Effingham County softball team is different from top to bottom.

Jane Trzaska was named the Lady Rebels’ head coach this past spring. The Armstrong State graduate was an assistant for the Rebels but now she’s calling the shots.

“I am very excited to get games going,” Trzaska said. “There are definitely some nerves there. I am more excited than anything. I love our seeing our girls play. 

“Obviously, there are always improvements we can make but I am excited.”

This is Trzaska’s first head coaching position. She’s been under the tutelage of former Effingham County head coach Johnny Coleman, who led the team to two consecutive Region 2-AAAAAA titles.

If there’s one thing she’s learned, it’s keeping her team calm in the midst of a wild game. Still, Trzaska wants to bring her own personality to the mix and that includes a fiery spirit. 

“I am loud, I have a lot of energy and I bring that (to the game),” Trzaska said. “I don’t yell at them but when a good play happens, I’m up in the dugout (yelling). I want my girls to see that but I want to bring that sense of calmness as well.

“I am very intense when it comes to winning ball games. I get fired up.”

Offensively, Effingham County must find its spark quickly. The Rebels graduated Bailee Wilson, a powerful hitter who stepped to the plate nearly 100 times last year.

Wilson was undoubtedly the Lady Rebels’ biggest weapon with a batting average of .484 and nine home runs. Rising senior Jaci Coleman could be the heir to her throne.

In 2018, Jaci Coleman belted 33 hits, collected eight RBI and finished with a .388 batting average. She, along with Addie Reynolds, who was second on the team last season in RBI (13) and home runs (3), should have the same, if not more production this season.

“We have a very strong core still,” Trzaska said. “A lot of them play together in travel ball and it helps even more with the chemistry and being around each other. I think we will be strong with our seniors.

“I think they are going to have to take the reins.”

The Lady Rebels return a good nucleus of seniors, including Jaci Coleman, Francie Gaskin, Ashley Wilson and Sydney Newberry. The defending region champs hope to breeze through regular season yet again. They were 11-1 in 2-AAAAAA games last year and finished 21-9 overall.

Effingham County will host Screven County, Statesboro, South Effingham and have a doubleheader against Bradwell Institute to start the season.

“I think our schedule is pretty strong and that’s something you want as a coach,” Trzaska said. “You don’t want to play teams you know you can beat. You want to challenge yourself and your girls. Later on down the road, you’ll be prepared for anything.”

Trzaska is hopeful the opening four-game homestand will help the Lady Rebels start the season on a good foot. They kick the season off today against Screven County.

“I think it’s a comfort thing,” Trzaska said. “Starting off the season and being at home and getting used to everything, you’re on your field, you have your fans and you are being supported by your community.”

The decision as to will replace Bailee Wilson as the team’s pitching ace remains undetermined. The Lady Rebels also lost Gracie Whaley, Jayden Maennche and Makenzie Crews. 

“It always hurts when you lose seniors because you lose the leadership you get from them, but we are going to find a way to fill those holes,” Trzaska said.