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|McElwee, Hall lead All-Parish Softball Team|
Vidalia High senior Chelsie McElwee has been a big part of the Lady Viking softball team for four years, playing centerfield as a freshman before anchoring the infield at shortstop her final three years.
But there was something more special about her senior year, besides the fact her team was playing for a district championship for the first time since she took the field and in a higher classification.
"It was different knowing it was my last year," McElwee said. "I gave it all I had every game knowing this would be it."
McElwee, the 2008 Parish Player of the Year, certainly responded to the challenge, hitting .415 with a .662 slugging percentage, while driving in 10 runs for the Lady Vikings, who finished second in District 3-3A before falling to Berwick, 5-0 in a Class 3A first round playoff game.
"'Chelsie Mac' was definitely a leader for us," said Lady Viking coach Jeannie Hall, who earned Coach of the Year honors for the second straight year. "I wish I had her back next year."
Vidalia's season was filled with a lot of ups and downs. The Lady Vikings, who were the lone school playing softball in their 2A district, started out 5-0 in district before finishing 7-3 in the competitive district and 16-11 overall.
"There are a lot of ifs looking back at the season," McElwee said. "But it was fun playing in a district, knowing we had to win to get to the playoffs."
McElwee said playing softball helped her learn had to work hard, time management and discipline.
"A lot of discipline," she said. "I will never forget running all the time on the basketball court getting ready for softball. But I'm going to miss it."
Hall said she enjoyed playing in a competitive district for the first time since taking over the program as head coach two years ago.
"We started off the season sloppy, but the girls started playing together," Hall said. "Starting out 5-0 in this district for me was big because it was really a tough district. But we didn't play well near the end. We couldn't hit on all cylinders, our hitting went cold, our pitching struggled and we made some errors in our last two or three games we had not made all year."
Hall said when the team came out playing with confidence, they were as good as any other 3A team in the state.
"I liked it when they came out on fire ready to battle and playing with a lot of confidence," she said. "That's a big thrill for a coach to see and makes our job a lot easier. But that's the thing with high school athletes. Some days they show up, and some days they don't. But I'm looking forward to next year. We'll be strong again. We need the younger kids to step up."
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