For the fourth consecutive season, South Effingham’s softball team has completed the regular subregion season undefeated.
The Lady Mustangs swept Hephzibah in a doubleheader, winning both games 10-0, to finish 10-0 in Region 3-AAA (A).
The undefeated season was not a surprise to SEHS coach Donnie Ussery.
“I would say with the talent we had coming back, we felt like if we played well we had a good shot of going undefeated in the subregion,” he said. “We’re on a little roll and I’m excited about the way we are playing.”
Seniors Alison Kirkland, Crystal Sellers, Ciara Knowles, Lindsey Brichacek and Laura Bryant can proudly say they were the class that went 40-0 in the subregion over four seasons.
Wednesday’s doubleheader seemed more of a formality than a contest.
In the opening game, Sally Faircloth picked up her seventh win of the season, pitching five scoreless innings and striking out 10 batters while walking only one and allowing only two hits.
Kirkland closed the game in the sixth inning.
Katie Rietkovich, Crystal Sellers and Jamie Ray led the Lady Mustangs at the plate with two hits apiece.
In the second game, the Lady Mustangs kept pounding hits; recording 11 in the 10-0 win. Alexis Mercer went 3-for-3 with three RBIs and Ray proved her first game wasn’t a fluke by going 2-for-4.
Casey Johnson was dominant on the mound, allowing only two hits in the five-inning complete game shutout. She improved her record to 8-0.
Ussery said the way his team’s playing now is in stark contrast to the way they played early in the season when they struggled.
“It was just getting them back into my system,” he said. “Now, they’re playing well and doing the things I want them to do and the competition we’ve played has got us to this point.”
South Effingham is expected to qualify for the Class AAA state sectional tournament, which starts Oct. 19 in Dublin.
“Last year I was scared to death going into sectionals and this year I’m more relaxed than I’ve ever been,” Ussery said. “They’ve been in wars, I’ve prepared them and now they have to go out and perform.”
With it being the last home game of the season and the last home game for five seniors, the Lady Mustangs made the most of it.
The team joked around and had a good time with a bottle of white spray paint. Kirkland turned her black cleats white and spray painted some of her teammates’ cleats.
Kirkland, who only had five at-bats before the game, showed she could swing a bat as well as she can spray paint. She rifled a grounder through the infield for her second hit of the season.
“I wanted them to stay aggressive, but have fun doing it,” Ussery said. “That’s the mentality I want them to carry over (to region and state). Have fun and be aggressive. If we do that, then we’ll be all right.”
HHS 000 000 — 0 3 3
SEHS 203 212 — 10 11 0
W — Sally Faircloth (7-4). L — Katelyn Domzalski.
Leading hitters: SE: Katie Rietkovich, 2-4, 2R; Crystal Sellers, 2-3, 3R, 2RBI, BB; Jamie Ray, 2-3, R.
SEHS 321 31 — 10 11 2
HHS 000 00 — 0 2 3
W — Casey Johnson (8-0). L — Katelyn Domzalski.
Leading hitters: SE: Katie Rietkovich, 1-2, 3R; Alison Kirkland 1-1, RBI; Alexis Mercer, 3-3, 2R, 3RBI; Jamie Ray, 2-4, 2R, RBI; Shelby Simonin 1-2, R.