SOCIAL CIRCLE – By Social Circle softball standards, last season was a little underwhelming. Riding high off a state title, the Lady Redskins faced a rebuild and missed out on earning a spot in the state playoffs.
But what the Lady Redskins did earn in 2019 was valuable experience which head coach Audra Thomas hopes will be beneficial this season as Social Circle drops down a classification to Class A-Public.
“I feel after last year our whole squad learned some valuable lessons and each one of them are ready to ‘break out’ and produce some really good numbers,” Thomas said. “According to what I have heard and researched, Commerce will be the team to beat. We are looking forward for the opportunity to represent our region at the state tournament.”
The Lady Redskins’ new region features some familiar foes. Social Circle spent many years in Region 8-A with Commerce as a rival, but now will also face Greene County, Lake Oconee Academy, Lincoln County, Towns County and Washington-Wilkes.
Social Circle returns nearly its entire starting lineup including Aubrey Garrett, Tara Poole, Emma Swider, Macy Langley, Gracie Jones, Ana Allen, Savannah Thomason and Halie Richardson. The Lady Redskins also return Alexa Wykoff, who started for Social Circle during its 2018 state title run.
Poole led the Lady Redskins at the plate last year with a .429 average followed by Langley at .377, Allen at .361 and Wykoff at .352. Langley led the team in RBIs with 15, while Poole and Jones had 12 RBIs each.
Thomas hopes her team can do a better job of manufacturing runs this season, especially with runners in scoring position.
Pitching wise, Macy Langley saw most of the action in the circle in 2019, logging just over 50 innings last season. But Garrett also saw significant time in the circle, pitching 34 innings in 2019.
But like most teams in the state, Social Circle will have to battle against the coronavirus to be able to complete the 2020 season.
“Our kids just want to play,” Thomas said. “They still have that innocence that doesn’t register the severity of our current situation. They have done a great job dealing with the setbacks and have shown a new appreciation for our privileges as athletes.”
For Thomas and her staff, not having the extra time in the summer to practice and gel as a team has been a struggle.
“They are ready to play but we have not had enough time to really feel our groove,” Thomas said. “So I think they are confident, but unsure at the same time. Not seeing the kids with the ball long enough and not being able to have scrimmages has also been a challenge.”
Social Circle was scheduled to kick off the season Tuesday on the road against Washington-Wilkes. The Lady Redskins will host Monroe Area for their home opener on Aug. 19.