South Stanly softball looks to defend 1A state title

Published 4:50 pm Tuesday, February 28, 2023

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Last season for the South Stanly softball team was one of the program’s most successful. South finished with 30 wins and claimed the school’s third state title.

South returns several All-State selections, including the 2022 Yadkin Valley Conference Player of the Year in senior Mattie Poulos (P/1B). Poulos was the District 6 Player of the Year and named to the NFCA’s All-Region’s first team.

Four other seniors return this season, including All-State selections Kassie Swink (SS), Alexis Harward (2B) and Skylar Mauldin (C), along with designated player Jacklyn Almond.

Three other upperclassmen return in All-State selection Cassidy Smith (3B), All-District selection junior Mary Hinson (CF) and junior Riley Dennis (P/1B).

Returning in the outfield is left fielder Kinsley Tyson and sophomore Alana Harward (OF).

New this season are freshman Lily Coakley (OF/Util.), Piper Huneycutt (C) and Ashelyn Tucker (OF/Util.).

Head coach David Poplin said if South can “stay healthy and avoid injury to starters we will be very competitive.”

His expectations for this season, he added, are the same as others.

“We work together to get better weekly, collectively as well as individually. Our coaching staff knows how our progressions are set up to go throughout the season. Then it’s just a matter of implementing the plans to make things work. Assistant Coach Matthew Little does a tremendous job at making our practice plans fit into the scheme of game preparation.”

Winning a state championship in any classification, Poplin said, is difficult.

“Regardless of the sport or when it might come, another state championship at South Stanly will be very rewarding for our school and community,” Poplin said. “It would reinforce that the work we put into our program is on target. It’s definitely not about me as the coach. It’s about the players and the program we have built. We have been very fortunate to have quality players come through South that put our team-first approach into effect on a yearly basis.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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