Melissa Dickie, Buford: Threw a complete game with nine strikeouts, while going 3-for-4 with two doubles and five RBIs in two wins last week.
Karly Fullem, Buford: Threw two complete games, including a perfect game, while striking out 15 and hitting a double, a two-run home run and driving in four runs in two wins last week.
Stephanie Satterfield, White County: Earned the win from the circle, while hitting a three-run home run in a win over Franklin County on Tuesday.
Katy Womack, Gainesville: Threw a complete game with 10 strikeouts in a win over Johnson on Tuesday.
Nicolette Ashley, West Hall: Had 45 digs, eight aces and a kill in two wins and two losses last week.
Liz Darden, Buford: Had 57 digs in four wins last week.
Jenna Falletta, Buford: Had 40 assists and 10 digs in four wins last week.
Laykin Herford, West Hall: Had 42 assists, 11 aces and two kills in two wins and two losses last week.
Maggie Roper, Buford: Had 33 digs, 28 kills and nine aces in four wins last week.
Anna Walker, Gainesville: Had 18 kills, 14 aces and seven digs in two wins and a loss last week.
Cody Barger, North Hall: Set a personal best time of 15 minutes, 22 seconds to win the individual title at the Asics Invitational on Saturday.
No matter the sport, there are certain traits that cannot be coached or taught.
Size, speed and instinct are among these, but even if all three are present, they will be for naught if the athlete doesn’t have the most important: work ethic.
Just ask Jessica Stewart, the coach of Class AA’s second-ranked Union County softball team.
The Lady Panthers are 20-1-1 and 10-0 in Region 8A-AA. Seventeen of those wins have come with junior Angie Hughes in the circle.
Stewart credits Hughes’ work ethic as the reason the pitcher has a 17-1 record this season.
“She puts in long hours at practice and on her own,” Stewart said. “She’s just a really hard worker and dedicated to becoming the best pitcher that she can be.”
Last week, Hughes earned her 17th win of the season in a 10-2 victory over Fannin County in the Lady Panthers’ final regular season game.
With the win, Union County secured the No. 1 seed in the Region 8-AA tournament and ensured a bye for the first two rounds.
Hughes had nine strikeouts in the game to add to her season total of 233 and the junior is averaging 14 strikeouts per game with a 0.69 earned run average.
For her efforts, Hughes is The Times’ Athlete of the Week.
Hughes agrees with her coach, stating that the work she has put in to become a better pitcher is why she has dominated so often this season.
“I’ve really just worked harder in the offseason than I have in the past,” Hughes said. “And it has paid off.”
The only loss that Hughes and the Lady Panthers have suffered this season was a 3-2 defeat at the hand of Class AA’s top-ranked Buford Lady Wolves on Aug. 27.
Hughes also stated that it hasn’t been her alone working harder, the Lady Panthers as a whole have been.
“We all have worked harder than before to get done what it takes to win,” Hughes said. “We’ve played together forever so we are really close and everyone has worked hard in the offseason and during the season.”
In addition to working hard, Stewart believes that Hughes’ leadership in the circle has been a big asset to the Lady Panthers this season.
“She takes control of the game and has a big effect on everybody else,” Stewart said. “If she’s having a good game, everyone seems to play better.”
Despite being ranked No. 2 in the state, Stewart doesn’t think her girls have allowed themselves to become complacent.
“They’re more focused on winning the region championship and making it into the state playoffs,” Stewart said. “They haven’t done what they want to do, yet.”
The Lady Panthers will begin the drive for a region championship and a state playoff berth when they play Dawson County at 3 p.m. Thursday at North Oconee in the third round of the Region 8-AA tournament.