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Stingers sign AJ's Phillips

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By Robert Howey

KERSHAW – The Andrew Jackson Lady Volunteers’ softball connection to Florence-Darlington Tech added another solid link Monday afternoon.

Caroline Phillips, the Lady Vols’ standout third baseman and three-sport performer, joined former AJ ace catcher Danielle Gibson in the Stingers’ program.Gibson signed with FDT last spring.“I really like the school,” Phillips said. “It’s a small school, but that’s what I was looking for in choosing a college. It’s a small campus with a small-town atmosphere,  not too far from home.”AJ softball coach Steve Middleton praised Phillips.“Florence-Darlington has a young program and going there will give Caroline a chance to play early,” Middleton said. “She’s been a solid senior leader for us this season. I’m happy for her.”Phillips has a .371 career batting average with 58 runs batted in. She is hitting .318 with 14 RBIs this spring for the 20-10 Lady Vols, who are bidding for a third straight Class AA state softball title.Middleton noted Phillips is solid on defense with 61 putouts and 12 assists.A five-year player for the Lady Vols, Phillips had 26 RBIs last season for the state champion AJ team, and drove in 14 runs as AJ’s designated player, or pinch hitter as a sophomore.Phillips caps her AJ softball career playing in the annual North-South All-Star softball game next month.An all-region pick in all three sports, Phillips received the Most Aces Award in volleyball last fall and was presented the Orange and White Award for girls basketball last winter.“Caroline is most deserving of her chance to play at the next level,” AJ assistant principal Scottie Phillips said. “She’s worked hard and this is a grand opportunity to continue her education.”Stingers’ coach Herber Watson is glad to have Phillips.“She worked out with us and I was impressed,” he said. “Caroline has a good glove and comes from a good program, so I feel she will help us.”