Being Effingham County’s sole senior, Marie Fogle wanted to start her team’s season with a bang.
Boy, did she ever.
With one out in the top of the first inning, Fogle crushed South Effingham pitcher Allison Kirkland’s fastball over the left field fence for two runs, scoring Whitney Smith from second base.
It was all the offense the Lady Rebels needed in the 2-0 win.
“I was relaxed, went out there and played ball,” Fogle said. “I wasn’t tense, I just went with the pitch.”
That wasn’t the only heroics Fogle displayed in the win.
In the seventh inning as the Mustangs threatened with runners on first and second and no outs, Fogle caught three consecutive pop-ups of bunts.
“I had butterflies in my stomach,” she said. “It was nerve-wracking, but on the final pop-up I knew it was over.”
In Fogle’s first three years, she only beat the Lady Mustangs once. As a senior, she badly wanted a win.
“I wanted to come out and prove that whether we have nine seniors starting or one, we still have a ball team that will stick together, work hard and beat a team that has beat us in the past,” she said.
Fogle wasn’t the only player turning heads at a packed South Effingham field.
Effingham’s starting pitcher Shelby Duff pitched a complete game, often digging deep to escape jams.
Duff allowed eight hits, but the Lady Mustangs could not bring in the runners and stranded eight on base.
In the sixth inning, South had runners on first and third with two outs, but Duff calmed her nerves and struck out the batter.
In the final inning, with runners on first and second and no outs, she focused on the batters.
“It took a lot. I was nervous but I had a defense behind me and they kept us in the game,” Duff said. “I’ve been thinking about this game all week and I really had to dig deep to pull it out.”
ECHS coach Tesh Pace is proud of her team.
“The girls did a really good job,” she said. “They stayed positive and still went out there and continued to play. They did not let up.”
SEHS coach Donnie Ussery admitted that the loss was a hard pill for his team to swallow.
“We missed opportunities and the girls are upset because this team doesn’t like to lose, no matter who it is,” he said.