PETTICOAT JUNCTION, — For five seasons, there was always next year for Laini Frye.
Frye played softball on Silver Bluff’s varsity team for six years, emerging as a main contributor in statistics and leadership.
As a seventh grader in 2008, Frye hit three triples and batted .150 against older competition. This season, as a senior, Frye hit .404, drove in 38 runs and was an All-State selection, making her The Augusta Chronicle’s All-Area South Carolina Softball Player of the Year.
“It was a pleasure coaching her,” Lady Bulldogs coach Eric Hofstetter said. “She really developed into a good leader both on the field and in the school. She really liked the game and she did well offensively and defensively, and it culminated into a scholarship. I expect nothing but good things at the next level.”
While on the varsity squad, Frye went from an admittedly scared youngster in seventh grade to a skilled hitter, who also coached on the field as the catcher.
At the plate this season, Frye had as many home runs as strike outs (three). She was also error-free defensively and called pitches. Frye helped Silver Bluff win the Class AA District VI title, a triumph that made the Lady Bulldogs one of the last four teams in the Lower State playoffs.
“I’m not really the kind of person that likes to brag about myself,” said Frye, who will be playing college ball at Georgia Regents. “But when somebody asks me if I’m good, I say, ‘I like to think I am.’ ”
But after playing for Silver Bluff for so long, Frye has to move on to college. She’ll miss putting on the Lady Bulldogs’ uniform and the teammates she’s grown up with.
Her coach is going to miss her leadership, her offensive talent, and her ability to work well with any pitcher.
“The key to winning and losing are those two positions,” Hofstetter said about pitcher and catcher. “You can find a lot of good pitchers, but it’s hard to find a good catcher. It’s going to hurt, losing her.”