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Young Ashley Ridge team off to good start

Young Ashley Ridge team off to good start

Ashley Ridge senior Maddie Ingram connects with a pitch March 24 during the Lady Swamp Foxes victory over Fort Dorchester.

The Ashley Ridge Softball team won two out of three games against cross-town rival Fort Dorchester last week.

The Lady Swamp Foxes opened their season March 22 at the Fort and lost 6-2. Fort Dorchester pitcher Meryll Dolbeck went the distance in the circle and stuck out four batters while allowing no earned runs. Ally Eubanks pitched for Ashley Ridge and stuck out 13 batters, but surrendered six earned runs.

Fort Dorchester’s Payton Brigman led all batters, going 4 for 4 at the plate with an RBI and two runs scored. Catcher Ellie Rapson led Ashley Ridge, going 3 for 4 at the plate.

The Swamp Foxes bounced back with an 11-10 home victory March 24.

“On Monday we didn’t hit and the hits we had were sporadic,” Ashley Ridge coach Larissa Shannon said. “On Wednesday we came out hitting with a leadoff home run in the first inning. It was a complete turnaround. We had great at bats and made their pitcher work. Defensively though we are making a lot of errors.”

Eubanks fanned seven batters while walking only two during seven innings in the circle to pick up the pitching win. Ashley Ridge outfielder Grace Summerville was 2 for 4 at the plate with three RBIs. Rapson was 2 for 5 with an RBI and two runs scored.

Ashley Ridge won the series finale in North Charleston March 26 by a 7-6 margin. Eubanks again went the distance, striking out nine while only surrendering two bases on balls and four earned runs. Short stop Maddie Ingram was 3 for 4 at the plate with three RBIs and three runs scored. Eubanks and Abby Little were both 2 for 3 and Rapson was 2 for 4. Madison Boyd and Dolbeck led Fort Dorchester, both going 3 for 4 at the plate with an RBI. Aujea Bowman, Abby Briganti and Makenna Adkins all had two hits each.

The preseason tournament Ashley Ridge was supposed to play in this year was cancelled. The team’s season opener against Stratford was also canceled so the team entered this week with a 2-1 record and with some uncertainties.

“We didn’t have many scrimmages so we are a little behind and having to figure things out while we play region games,” Shannon said. “Most years we have players who have been on varsity for four or five years so they know the system and how everything works. This year it is the complete opposite. We have new players getting used to the speed of varsity softball and how we do things so it is going to take them some time.”

Ashley Ridge graduated six starters last year. The only seniors on this year’s team are Eubanks and Ingram.

“We are very young so we are moving some players around,” Shannon said. “We will keep moving the lineup around until we find something that is stable. I have two freshmen in the outfield, one on the infield and an eighth-grader on the infield.”

The team only has two juniors, Little and outfielder Tamiyah Whitlock. Eubanks, Ingram and Whitlock have all been with the program since their freshman season so Shannon is counting on them for leadership. Other members of the team include outfielder Elizabeth Ray, first baseman Caroline Ingram, third baseman Molly Vaughn and second baseman Hayley Knoppe.

This week, Ashley Ridge has a series against West Ashley. The Swamp Foxes will travel to the Wildcats March 29 and April 2 and host West Ashley at 7 p.m. March 31.