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Lady Comets ready to face season’s obstacles

South Boston News
Members of the HCHS varsity softball team are, clockwise from bottom, Carol Fears, Jeri Tyler, Lauryn Chappell, Sydney Wilborn, Skyla Strohm, Peyton Lowery, Abby Martin, Autumn Younger, Raegan Ridgeway, Dee Dee Jeffress, Shekeria Chandler, Kaitlyn Richardson, Katie Cole and Karina Velazquez. (David Conner II photo) / March 12, 2018

Halifax County High School varsity softball has one major recent issue to deal with, as head coach Woody Bane has been sidelined by sudden and unexpected open heart surgery.

And all-star catcher Mackenzie Lawter has elected to leave Halifax early, to start her college career at Virginia Tech and play NCAA Division 1 softball.

Halifax softball also still remembers the late Olivia Noblin, who would have been a senior this season.

But coach Jennifer Rutledge, who has taken the reins of the program with assistant Curly Marstin, still has considerable talent on this year’s squad.

“Softball in this county has always been such sense of pride. What people don’t always see is the inside of the team and that it is more than just ball. We have to overcome the many obstacles that comes with a new season. We are still mourning the loss of one of our seniors, Olivia Noblin. She brought so much fire and intensity to the field that cannot just be replaced. Her carefree spirit and love for the game was always uplifting to the team,” said Rutledge.

“We are also so proud of our Mackenzie Lawter that graduated early in December in order to follow her dream of playing Virginia Tech softball. Mack was all-State, all-Regional and the 2017 Piedmont District Player of the Year. She is an excellent example what it takes to be best and leaves behind big shoes to fill. Recently our Coach, Woody Bane, underwent open-heart surgery. Although he would be adamant that we not discuss this, it still weighs heavy on all of our hearts. We are sure he will sneak over to the ball field as much as he can, against his doctor’s orders,” said Rutledge.

Halifax has a core group of very talented veterans.

“Returning are Carol Fears, Karina Velasquez, Jeri Lynn Tyler, Lauryn Chappell and Kaitlyn Richardson. We will be looking to these veterans to help shape this year’s season. These girls have experienced both highs and lows of this softball program and we feel confident that they will be able to weather whatever is brought to to the table,” said Rutledge.

“Even though we are a young team, we feel confident that we can develop chemistry that will bind this team for a winning season. Curly Marstin is back again to help mold the varsity team and Reagan Cannon will head up the jayvee squad. Kirk Barnes is also helping the jayvee team as a volunteer coach.

“As we all miss Coach Bane, Olivia and Mack, we will do our best to honor them by playing the best we can and exuding the characteristics of a team that goes by the old Journey song, “Don’t Stop Believing,” said Rutledge.

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