Spring Valley’s 2008 softball season produced a mixed bag of results. The Vikings did win yet another region championship, going through Region 5-4A testing with a perfect 8-0 grade. But SV failed to finish with a winning record for the first time, and failed to advance to the Lower State tournament.
“I was pleased with the work ethic these young ladies brought with them each day to practice, and we improved in most areas in the game of softball,” said first-year Vikings coach Bob Matz. “The biggest improvement was we increased our team batting average by 50 points from (the 2007 season). We graduate five seniors that have committed a great deal of their lives to softball and I can truly say they will be missed. I am looking forward to working with our younger players as we strive to rebuild and add to the tradition of excellence in Spring Valley softball.”
Shortstop Amber Naylor, outfielder Desiree Ware, pitcher Meredith Gill, first baseman Lindsay Hagler and second baseman Sara Hunter are the departing SV seniors.
Hunter batted .408 with 14 RBIs and was second on the team in runs scored (23) and stolen bases (12). Naylor hit .317 with 13 runs scored, six RBIs and five steals. Gill was the mainstay in the pitching circle, finishing with a 7-13 record and 110 strikeouts in 118.2 innings of work.
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The top players expected to return next season are Kara June, Brianna McBride, Morgan Baker and Mariah Sanborn.
June, a catcher and third baseman, led the team with a .415 batting average and 27 RBIs, and also topped the club with 34 hits, nine doubles and seven triples. June was outstanding with the glove, as well. She was charged with only two errors on 156 total chances in the field for a team-best .987 fielding percentage.
McBride hit .333 as a junior, and led the team in runs scored (26) and steals (13). Sanborn, who caught as well as playing third base and in the outfield, had an impressive freshman season – hitting .361 with team-highs in RBIs (28) and home runs (3). She also scored 16 runs and rapped 30 hits. Baker, a seventh-grader, is the obvious choice to take over the workload in the circle from Gill after she went 5-3 with a 2.63 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 45.1 innings. She also hit .309 with 12 RBIs.
The Vikings, who finished with a 12-16 record this spring, will be moving to back the Upstate next season, joining district mates Ridge View and Blythewood along with Lancaster, Rock Hill and South Pointe in Region 4-4A.