J.L. Mann’s softball team began the season last week with three games in three days, winning two of the three.
The Patriots began with a 4-2 loss against Byrnes on March 6; the Rebels scored three unearned runs in the first inning.
“We didn’t hit the ball well, and they just flat-out beat us,” Mann coach Tammy Pace said. “Matty (Moss) pitched well enough to win. We just couldn’t get the job done.”
Mann got the job done the next night in its Region 1-AAAA opener, defeating Westside 17-3, and again the next night when the Patriots beat Easley 9-0.
Against the Green Wave, Moss struck out 13, Jessica Burks was 3-for-4 and Burks and Morgan Smith each hit a home run.
“We are young in a couple of positions, but I think we will be OK,” Pace said. “The young kids I have are experienced on the field. They play travel ball, so they know the game really well.”
Mann has a strong pitching staff led by Moss, a sophomore transfer, senior Carson O’Donald and sophomore Lauren Evans.
“We are fortunate to have three good pitchers,” Pace said.
Behind the plate is sophomore Jessica Burks. O’Donald is at first base when not pitching.
“Carson is one of the best first basemen I have ever seen,” Pace said.
Freshman Meghan Majeski plays second base.
Pace said Madison Templeton can play anywhere on the field, but this season she’ll play shortstop, and Smith is at third base.
The outfield consists of Evans in left field, Kolby Harrison in center field and Haley Thorton in right.
On the bench the Patriots have freshman Kara Hatley, junior Kaylin Gealy, freshman Hope Majesky (Meghan’s twin sister, who will play in the outfield and likely run for the catcher) and sophomore Katelyn Payne.
Realignment moved Mann to Region 1-AAAA, but Pace said she will continue to play several teams from Region 2, its former home.
“Our outside-the-region games will have to be really stout teams,” Pace said. “I don’t know a lot about the teams in the new region. I will continue to play Mauldin, Boiling Springs and Byrnes. The only way to get better is to play stout teams.”