Athlete of Week: Edwards leads Lady Tiger turnaround

consoft-edwardsaowThe last time the Conway High softball team hosted a playoff game, senior Kady Edwards was still playing rec-league baseball. Six years later, both Edwards and the Lady Tigers program have made a successful transition.

On Thursday, win or lose against first-round foe North Augusta, Edwards and her five fellow seniors will likely play their final home games knowing they helped turn things around, but they hope to accomplish more.

“The seniors set a goal before the season to make the playoffs, and that was our first goal,” said Edwards, who was named the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week. “It’s really special to make the playoffs, but now we want to keep winning.”

Edwards has done more than her share to get the Lady Tigers in position to make a postseason run. Playing both catcher and shortstop, Edwards is batting .600 with 39 hits, 12 walks, 29 hits and three home runs. Not bad for a girl who grew up playing organized baseball with the boys.

“I played T-ball and baseball, and I think that definitely helped me a lot,” said Edwards. “I played JV and varsity (softball) and this group of seniors have been together the whole time. We wanted to go out as winners.”

Edwards has played a pivotal role in helping the Lady Tigers reach this point. Conway coach Mike Skipper credits Edwards’ leadership by example and hitting ability for taking the team this far.

“She has had an amazing season,” Skipper said. “Our whole team looks to her for leadership, even though she doesn’t always feel comfortable accepting her role as a leader. Kady leads by example, but she really has a passion for hitting.

“She takes her turn in the box very seriously. Her greatest asset as a hitter is her ability to make adjustments during each at bat. Kady has been blessed with very quick hands as a hitter. She is rarely fooled and almost never outmatched at the plate. Being a catcher helps her see the game from a different vantage point as a hitter.”

Edwards prefers playing short but accepts either role with a smile on her face, Skipper said. He also credits her play on the girls golf team for developing a sweet swing, whether it’s with a driver or a bat.

“Kady has spent some time on the varsity golf team, but softball is really her sport,” Skipper said. “We are very lucky to have her and she will be sorely missed on the diamond.”

Edwards and her teammates will try to erase a bad memory of last year’s first-round playoff exit, when Conway’s opener at Summerville happened to fall on the same day as the school prom. Several players opted to miss the game, forcing the team to call up members of the JV squad. This year their minds are only on softball.

“We wanted to get a fair shot,” Edwards said. “I think if we can go out and play our best we can play with anybody.”

Conway proved that by making a run through the Grand Strand Softball Classic last week, and now they have the chance to make a little more program history with a win Thursday.

Photo by Chuck Silvey

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