Hurricanes turn up the heat in softball

The South Carolina Hurricanes 10-U softball team has been a busy bunch.

As part of the one of the state’s oldest and most successful girls softball travel programs, the 10-U team of the South Carolina Hurricanes is taking its game to a higher level this summer.

The Hurricanes organization started in 1994 and also fields competitive travel teams in 18-U, 16-U, 14-U and 12-U. The 10-U team, coached by Nolan Howell, Dwayne Price and Kevin Condon, is cranking up a busy summer and fall schedule that will include 10 more tournaments in addition to the six tournaments they competed in during the spring.

“We keep them busy playing but because of the economy, we try to keep our team as local as possible,” says Howell, who began coaching with the Hurricanes a year ago. “All but two of our players are from right here in the Lowcountry and there are some quality tournaments throughout the year right here in the area.”

In their most recent tournament, the Hurricanes placed second in the WFC Memorial Day Fast-Pitch Classic. The team has played in the top four in four of the six tournaments played to date, including two runner-up finishes.

While winning is clearly important, Howell says the most important aspect of 10-U travel softball is teaching and development.

“Of course we want to be successful and competitive but if we can learn something from a loss, it’s not a bad thing,” said Howell.

“At this age level, our job is to teach the game and develop the individual player’s skills. It’s human nature to be as competitive as we can but not at any cost.

“We want to develop these players so they can be ahead of the game once they get to the upper levels.”

While most of this year’s team is comprised of nine and 10-year old players, the Hurricanes do have one of the youngest players in the state in this age group. Abby Prince is a seven-year old starting outfielder for the team and already has displayed advanced skills.

“She hits leadoff for us and she has an on-base- percentage of .500 for the first six tournaments,” said Howell. “She is a very talented young player and she is going to be a star in the future.”

The team’s leading hitters through six tournaments include Emme McCutchen (.460), Rebecca Dinkins (.459), Gracie Prince (.432) and Hailey Howell (.320).

Other members of the team this summer include Rori Condon, Payton Waddey, Spencer Condon, Payton Lee, Catelynn Riley, Kylie Smith, Tori Rose, and Madison Waddey.