SPRINGFIELD — In her first career start as a varsity pitcher, Effingham County’s Rylee Mills didn’t disappoint. The freshman helped the Lady Rebels drop South Effingham 6-0.
Mills was ecstatic that she earned the victory in the Aug. 14 rivalry game that also featured another freshman phenon, Nevaeh Herrod. She was surprised to learn that she broke a two-year hold that the Mustangs had on the series. She allowed just four hits and contributed two of her own to Effingham County’s attack.
“It feels really good,” Mills said. “It feels amazing. I was a little nervous but I was excited.
“I didn’t get super nervous because I’ve played with a bunch of the girls at South. We’ve been working really hard and our ultimate goal was to beat them. Now that we’ve done it, it’s a big encouragement to keep going against the teams in our region (2-AAAAAA).”
Mills is still working on developing weapons in her arsenal. She’s most confident in her change-up.
“I can get people really off balance with it,” she said.
The softball community in Effingham County is like no other. Fans, parents and the student body have embraced the game in ways some places don’t. And this season, people in and around the area are watching freshmen step up to the plate and on the mound in a big way. Mills doesn’t overlook their support and took notice of fan base.
“It’s a lot different that middle school,” she sid. “And in the student section — it’s exciting to see all the people out there. Our families all come, and our friends.
“The Rebel Rousers come and they stayed for the Bradwell game until ten (o’clock on Aug. 20.”
Mills understands that there is a strong rivalry brewing with Richmond Hill and the Wildcats are another team Mills wants to have the edge over.
“I’m excited to play against Richmond Hill (on Sept. 25) because that’s another rivalry,” Mills said. “I’m excited to see the energy from the team.”
Now that she has a few starts under her belt, Mills sees the potential within herself and the team.
The Lady Rebels are 8-1 overall and 6-0 in region play.
“(Before I got to high school, I thought it) would be cool if I made varsity but I’ll stick with JV if I have to,” Mills said. “(Against South), I just knew it was going to be a big competition. I knew they were going to bring their A-game and we were going to bring ours.
“It makes us realize how good of a team we actually are and we can go out there, win our games, hit the ball and we can do whatever we put our minds to.”