AS THE end of the regular season approaches, the Jackson County Comprehensive High School softball team is finding itself in a position to make a post season run.
Boasting a 6-2 region record (12-6 overall) the Lady Panthers are clinging on to the second place spot in the region 8-AAA standings, only one game behind Franklin County.
However, with six region games left on the schedule, the top seed could belong to any of the five teams (Franklin County, Jackson County, Oconee County, North Oconee and Morgan County), which are separated by three games or less.
With such strong competition within region 8-AAA, it’s understandable why head Panther coach Chessie Laird is less worried about tournament seeding, and more concerned with each individual game.
“At this point, we are taking the season game by game,” Laird said. “We cannot let ourselves overshadow the importance of each game. If we make the adjustments, we will be where we need to be at the end of region play.”
With the numbers that the Lady Panthers have put up so far this year, it’s hard to believe there is much room for improvement. Jackson County has only lost one game by more than two runs, and that game was tied before going into extra innings.
While individual Panthers have certainly tallied impressive stats this season, the more impressive numbers are collective.
Through its first 17 games, the team held a .357 batting average and tallied 152 hits on 474 at bats. The Panthers also posted 94 runs scored and 84 RBIs.
Jackson County’s pitching has also been stellar allowing only 29 earned runs and averaging a 1.93 team ERA.
Still, Laird says the Panthers still have some small things to fix if they hope to remain successful down the stretch.
“A lot of the teams in our region are great teams and games could go either way depending on who can be the most productive on that particular night,” she said. “As a team, we are working on the little aspects of the game that have proven to be difficulties for us thus far in the season.”
Laird feels that the individuals on her squad push each other to be the best they can be and create a “great team atmosphere.” The Lady Panthers share a camaraderie that Laird hopes will continue to drive Jackson County’s success.
“Our girls are most definitely a special group of young ladies,” Laird said. “Apart from being in classes together and being teammates, these girls share a sisterly bond and have a friendship with each other outside of softball. The majority of the team have been teammates from youth or middle school teams to present, which I feel like really makes our team chemistry special.”
Jackson County fell to Franklin County 3-1 last Thursday, the bounced back Friday, defeating Collins Hill 6-0, and knocking off South Effingham 5-3.
Saturday, the Lady Panthers fell to Jefferson 5-4 in extra innings.
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