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Lady Rebels setting a tough pace in practice
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Her team hasn’t played a game in more than a week, so Tesh Pace has had her Effingham County Lady Rebels softball team working on the little things in practice.

Effingham will open the South Sectional on Friday at 6 p.m. against Thomas County Central at Hampton’s Lovejoy Regional Park. The winner plays at 8 against the winner of the Northgate-Griffin game. The loser begins loser’s bracket play Saturday at 10 a.m. The Lady Rebels (23-5) finished the regular season 7-1 in Region 3-AAAA but were third at the region tournament with two one-run losses to Evans.

“I’m hoping we can work on the little things we missed on the year,” Pace said. “As long as we work on the things we need to work on, they’ll be ready to play.”

They’ve also a few games from the schedule when a tournament was canceled. But their resumé going into sectionals remains strong, including wins over Oconee County, North Oconee and South Effingham.

The Lady Rebels, ranked ninth in the state coaches’ poll, have been working on getting bunts down and getting the bat on the ball to move runners over.

“We should be able to accomplish that,” Pace said.

Given the schedule they’ve played and their previous appearances in the state playoffs, Pace believes her team has been well-tested. The Lady Rebels beat Thomas County Central 6-1 in the sectionals last year.

“I think they’re ready,” she said. “They have been before. There’s only a few who haven’t been in the past. They know what we’re going to face.”

Keeping focus for seven full innings is one of the keys for the sectionals, according to Pace. The top four teams will advance to the state championship round in Columbus. That trip would be a first for the current Lady Rebels.

“We can’t let down, even for half an inning. We know our bracket. They’re going to have work hard, though. If we’re playing our game, we shouldn’t have a problem. They know what it takes,” she said.