2008 FDTC Lady Stingers Softball - "Bracing for an explosive season"
Head Coach Heber Watson (2007- Region X Coach of the Year) and Assistant Coach Amber Harvey, continue to be pleased with the improvements of the softball program and 2008 should be another step in the right direction for the young program.
Last year the Lady Stingers improved once again in the conference and Region X standings by finishing the season at 27 wins and 24 losses with 15 (W) and 10 (L) record in region play to earn a third place finish for the season. The Lady Stingers capped a strong season with wins over USC- Stalkehatchie, Spartanburg Methodist College and Pitt CC in the Region X Tournament. Although they made great improvements over last year, they were eliminated by Aiken Tech, a team they swept earlier in the year, to fall just short of the Region Championship game with Louisburg College.
Coach Watson is ready to get started with a talented group of returning players and experienced recruits. This year the Lady Stingers have five returning players that will help to “jump start” the program. All Region X Pitcher , Shannon Mitchell should lead the team this year as she completed the 2007 season with 103 strikeouts, and a 3.4 ERA. She also was a great contribution at the bat hitting .308 with 5 home runs . Jackie Campbell, another strong returning player for the Stingers was a solid number five hitter, batting .396 , with a .888 fielding percentage. Other returning players, Alex Blackburn, Carma Horton and Brittany Owens (2006 SC H.S. All State and Region MVP) will contribute with leadership and experience. Brittany's bat should be a big asset to the team this year as she will hit for power and hopes of improving her 4 home run total for 2007.
This year's group of freshmen are the most talented that FDTC has had in it's 4 year history. Many of the players are from successful high school programs which tend to help make the jump from high school play to college level play. The infield will consist of Tomecka Wilson (South Florence H.S.- 2007 State Champions- 2B/ South Florence H.S. All Region) starting at second base and getting some work in the outfield. She has the ability to make something happen with her 2.7 speed to first base. Jessica Shields (South Florence H.S.- 2007 State Champions- Pitcher/ SC H.S. All State Athlete/ SC North-South Allstar) will give us some needed depth on the mound and in the outfield. Bridget Carter (West Florence H.S.- Lower State Runner Up- SS/ West Florence H.S. All Region) will stabilize the outfield and she will give us speed and versatility on the bases. Danielle Gibson (Kershaw H.S.- 2006- 2007 3A State Champions- Catcher) has all the abilities and experience in handling the catcher position, as she has caught good pitching in route to earning two state titles. The Stingers continue with talented players from Darlington High School with Blair Warren and Blair Spinks. Warren (SC H.S. 2007 All Region Player/ SC H.S. North-South Allstar/ Dixie World Series Champions) is considered a very good hitter and the stabilizer of the Darlington High School team. Blair Spinks (Darlington H.S.- Catcher / Dixie World Series Champions) will give us more strength in the infield (3B) and the catching position. Whitney Kimball (Hartsville H.S.) may be needed to assist on the mound, but her abilities are better suited for the infield (1B). From Hephzibah H.S., in Georgia, Jessica Albright (2007 Georgia H.S. - All Region Infielder) will be one of our key infielders and we expect her to control the defense (3B / SS / 2B). Tech also has two transfer players that will be key performers this year. Candace Sasnet (2005 Meredith College - Female Athlete of the Year) will be a good addition to the team as a middle infielder and will strengthen the middle of the batting lineup. Jessica Waters (South Florence- 2006 SC H.S. State Champions- Pitcher/ SC H.S. All State Allstar / 2005 SC H.S. State Runner-up Team / Armstrong Atlantic University- Runner-up Mid-Atlantic Region) will add tremendous strengthen to the pitching team and should be a dynamic addition to the power section of the batting line-up. Shannon Mitchell, Jessica Shields, and Jessica Waters make up the Tech pitching staff that is superior to most NJCAA teams and would challenge many NCAA programs. Their experience will help keep us in the game and hopefully, the offense will plate a few runs to take the pressure off the pitching staff.
The 2008 game schedule is set to include fifty-two games. This year's addition of three new NJCAA Region X teams, consisting of USC- Sumter, Stanly CC, and Rockingham CC, will bring the total number of region games to thirty-two. FDTC will participate in three spring tournaments to give players some game experience before region play begins.
Coach Watson feels that Tech has the talent to end up in Florida at the NJCAA Nationals, this year. His focus will be on finding the right mix of players to accomplish the task. Watson says, "This year should be our year to make a run for the Region X Championship and a trip to the nationals". "Team chemistry and leadership will determine the real outcome for the 2008 year."