With a new coach, the Dixie High School Lady Hornets are building on the foundation of last year's state championship in varsity softball.
Gary Stone has moved over to Greenwood, and the Lady Hornets are now under the guidance of Ben Snipes.
"It feels great to be the new softball coach but certainly not something I had anticipated," said Snipes last year after he got the call to be the new coach. "I am excited about the opportunity, however, after coaching with Gary in some capacity over the past 14 years (football, cross country and softball). It is certainly not going to be the same without Coach Stone out there with me.
"He has definitely not left the cupboard bare with his departure. We have a very talented group of hard-working players returning and I anticipate us continuing to be successful.
"We are looking forward to the upcoming season," Snipes said Tuesday. "We return seven of the nine starters from last year's State Championship team. We have had a wet but productive pre-season. We have played three scrimmage games so far in which everyone has been able to participate in an attempt to evaluate the players.
"We defeated TL Hanna 4-3, St. Joseph 15-0 and lost to Fort Mill 1-4. On defense, we will be led by seniors Alex Taylor/centerfield and Tallie Clamp/third base. Junior Makinzie Ware will split time at 1B/catcher. Tenth grade Weslyn Bensel/shortstop Alana Mitchell/right field and Savannah Brock/outfield; ninth grade Lauryn Foster/left field Ashton Crocker/second base, Meagan Hill/1B and Haley Hill/center.
"At pitcher we return 8th grader Caylee "Bug" Brown (2019 Class A player of the year) and ninth grader Mati Cox. Both girls have pitched very well in our pre-season games.
"We are hoping to be able to follow up on last season's success and compete for another region title and make the playoffs.
"We play in a pre-season tournament at Greenwood Christian School beginning Friday, March 6.
"We open up the regular season on Monday, March 9 at Abbeville."