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Early success for South Paulding softball
by E. Marcel Pourtout
September 03, 2014 11:42 AM | 2228 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Samantha M. Shal<br>South Paulding senior Maddy Appleby fields a ground ball while warming up before a recent game against Lithia Springs.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal
South Paulding senior Maddy Appleby fields a ground ball while warming up before a recent game against Lithia Springs.
After finishing second in Region 5-AAAAA last season, the South Paulding softball team has begun its 2014 campaign with victories in six out of its first eight region contests though Aug. 30 and sits one game out of first place.

“We’ve been successful so far in region contests,” ninth-year head coach Janet Oglesby said. “I’m pleased with what we’ve been doing.”

The Spartans made the quarterfinals of the state playoffs in 2012 and made the postseason last year.

“We’ve grown and our level of play continues to get better each year,” Oglesby said.

This season, the South Paulding offense has been prolific, averaging eight runs per region contest. Leading the charge have been several seniors including leftfielder Kelsey Dietz, who leads the team in hitting, outfielder Ansley Wilbanks and junior Caelyn Elwin.

The coaching staff noted another factor for South Paulding’s early success.

“Our defense has been our strength so far and we’re continuing to improve,” Oglesby said.

Senior third baseman Amber Green has had a strong season defensively.

The team’s top pitcher has been senior Madison Messer.

“She has good control and hits her spots well,” Oglesby said.

The Spartans have struggled in non-region tournament contests this year with only one victory but the games have served a purpose.

“It’s beneficial to play other teams and face the best competition to get ready for region,” Oglesby said.

South Paulding has also used the tournament games to make adjustments to the batting lineup and defense on the field.

“We’ve focused on working together and communicating in practice so we’re prepared during games,” Wilbanks said. “I have no doubt that we’ll be in first place by the end of the season.”

Messer said “we’re taking it one game at time and have a chance of going far but we have to stay focused.”

The Spartans return to action Thursday at East Paulding.

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