Mid-Carolina’s softball stock produced record earnings in 2010, and with eight starters slated to return next season the upward trend should continue.
Terry Murphy’s Rebels had perhaps the best performance in program history – ringing up a 16-10 overall record, going 8-2 and finishing in second place in Region 3-2A. In the state playoffs, the Rebels earned a home date in the first round for the first time, earned a postseason win for the first time since 2000 and pushed all the way to the District 2 championship game for being eliminated. It was the program’s first-ever Sweet 16 playoff finish.
Shortstop Lori Fulmer, pitcher Brooke Livingston and reserve outfielder Rasheeda Abney are the only departing Rebels seniors. Fulmer (.356, 26 runs, 16 RBIs, 10 steals) and Livingston (12-4, 2.29 ERA) were two of the team’s four all-region selections. Fulmer has been selected to play in the North-South All-Star Game in June at USC-Aiken.
Junior center fielder Shannon Taylor (.500, 32 runs, 25 steals) and sophomore first baseman Erica Stone (.361, 18 runs, 15 RBIs, five double, five triples, five steals) also earn spots on the all-region team. Moreover, Taylor was named to the CAWS all-state team.
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Middle infielder Lane Branham, left fielder Amber Stone, pitcher/third baseman Stephanie Kinard (6-4, 2.33 ERA), catcher Jessica Traylor (.301, 24 runs, 12 RBIs), right fielder Hannah Livingston, outfielder Katherine Shealy, second baseman Hope Corley and third baseman/shortstop Carli Ruff (.376, 25 runs, 16 RBIs) are the other varsity veterans expected to form the core of next year’s team.
“The team had great chemistry and the results were evident on the field,” said Murphy.
“I told them they now have set the bar a little higher and anything less just won't do. As for 2011, we must fill holes, but Stephanie Kinard should be able to handle the majority of the load, and we are anticipating the return of sophomore pitcher Kelsi Bailey who spent 2010 recovering knee injury. Lane Branham has played shortstop most of her career until switching to 2B this season where she had a great season defensively. She will certainly get a look at there as well as sophomore Carli Ruff, who has played short most of her earlier years.
“We improved hitting as a team this year and must continue to improve to take that next step. If we can improve the consistency of several of our hitters, we should be competitive again, and hopefully contend for a region title.”