His South Effingham Lady Mustangs softball team has closed the regular season strong, which is just the way Donnie Ussery wanted it.
South Effingham enters the Region 3-AAA tournament at Paulsen Softball Complex as the No. 1 seed from the South subregion. The Lady Mustangs (18-10-1, 10-0) finished the regular season with two 10-0 blankings of Hephzibah on Wednesday.
“They’re ready,” Ussery said of his team, which has lost only one game in the last month. “We’re excited about playing this weekend and in October. We’re looking forward to it.”
The Lady Mustangs know they open the region tournament Friday at 2 p.m. against Washington County. Their second-round opponent remains to be seen.
But whatever happens, Ussery believes the difficult schedule his team played before jumping into the region has prepared them well. The Lady Mustangs lost to Hardaway twice, but they knocked off longtime Class AAAAA power Harrison. They also lost 2-0 to defending Class AAA champs Oconee County and 2-1 to reigning Class AA state champs North Oconee.
“Early in the season, I took them to the most competitive tournaments I could find,” Ussery said. “I wanted them to see competition they hadn’t seen before. I thought we peaked too early last year.”
“I wanted us to go through some battles and some wars. It’s starting to pay off,” he said. “I’m excited, because I know we’re ready.”