Hale County 13, Wilson 2
MONTGOMERY – Hale County downed Wilson 13-2 in the 2018 AHSAA Class 4A State Softball Tournament at Lagoon Park Friday night to win its fourth state championship since 2014.
Coach Lori Wyatt’s team scored five runs in the second inning and four each in the third aknd fourth innings to beat the Warriors (49-5) of Coach Laura Jo McFall. Wilson forced the final game after emerging from the loser’s bracket to beat Hale County 10-7 to force the second game of the finals.
Freshman pitcher Emily LaFoy allowed five hits, walked one and struck out two in the final game to get the win for Hale County (37-18). She was named MVP of the Class 4A state tourney. Senior teammate Olivia McCray had a triple and double and drove in four runs for the Wildcats. Kayla Wyatt had a triple and single and scored twice, Savanna Holmes had one hit and three RBIs, LaFoy had one hit and three runs scored for the winners.
Johnna Staggs started and got the loss for Wilson. McKenzie Walker had a double and Staggs had an RBI to pace the Warriors.
Hale County, which won three state titles in a row from 2014-16, also downed Alabama Christian 1-0, Wilson 18-11 and North Jackson 15-9 in the winner’s bracket.
The Warriors opened with a 5-2 victory over Cherokee County, then moved to the loser’s bracket after the second-round loss to Hale County. Wilson then beat Cordova 10-2, Alabama Christian 7-3 and North Jackson 11-5 before beating the Wildcats 10-7 to force the final game.
The AHSAA 24th annual fast-pitch state tourney will conclude Saturday with Classes 2A and 6A finals set for 2 p.m. The NFHS Network will be live-streaming both over the NFHS Network. Go to www.nfhsnetwork.com to access or subscribe.
CLASS 4A ALL-TOURNEY TEAM
Emily LaFoy, Hale County (MVP); Savanna Holmes, Hale County; Madalynn Langham, Hale County; Olivia McCray, Hale County; Johnna Staggs, Wilson; Taylor Brown, Wilson; Karlee Liverett, Wilson; Sidney Bevis, Wilson; Josie Thompson, North Jackson.
Prattville Christian 7, Geneva 1
Fairhope 8, Spain Park 6
Springville 3, Moody 0
Brantley 5, Sumiton Christian 1
MONTGOMERY – Brantley senior pitcher Leanna Johnson hurled a two-hitter and struck out 10 in the championship game of the AHSAA’s 24th annual State Fast-Pitch Softball Championship’s Class 1A competition and the Lady Bulldogs beat defending state champion Sumiton Christian 5-1.
The championship for Coach Cindy Hawthorne’s girls was the fourth in the last five years. Brantley won the 1A title in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Sumiton, which won the 2A championship in 2015 and 2016, won the 1A crown last year.
Johnson earned MVP honors as Brantley (53-4) went 4-0 at Lagoon Park Wednesday and Thursday. The Bulldogs opened with a 10-0 win over Isabella, an 8-0 triumph over South Lamar and a 3-0 win the Sumiton in the winner’s bracket finals. The Eagles (39-22) beat Sweet Water (27-14) 12-1 in the consolation bracket finals to set up the championship game with the Bulldogs. The Eagles and Bulldogs met in the first round with Sumiton winning 5-4 innings.
The Eagles scored in the top of the first inning in the finals – the only run allowed by Brantley all tourney, when Amber Hayes led off the game with a solo home run. Johnson only allowed on other hit, a single by Taylor Whisonant.
Brantley took the lead with in the bottom of the fourth off Eagles hurler Anna Calloway with two runs. The Bulldogs added two more in the fifth and one in the sixth – all on home runs. Hannah Sims slugged a homer in the fourth, Kayden Dunn had two-run blast in the fifth and Olivia Jones had a solo homer in the sixth. Kassidy Wilcox finished with three hits for Brantley.
CLASS 1A ALL-TOURNEY TEAM
Leanna Johnson, Brantley (MVP); Anna Katherine Kimbro, Brantley; Kassidy Wilcox, Brantley; Hannah Sims, Brantley; Taylor Whisonant, Sumiton Christian; Amber Hayes, Sumiton Christian; Anna Calloway, Sumiton Christian; Eve Myers, Sweet Water.
MONTGOMERY – Baker High School has self-reported a violation of AHSAA eligibility rules and has voluntarily removed its softball team from the South Regional Qualifier tournament.
A student-athlete in Baker’s softball program participated in eight tournaments, junior varsity and varsity combined, during the 2018 regular season exceeding the maximum tournaments allowed in violation of AHSAA rules found on page 44 of the 2017-18 AHSAA Handbook, Rule III, Contests, Section 13, Contest/Tournament limitations.
The rule states: A student may participate in the number of contests his/her team is permitted to play in that sport. If a student participates on more than one level of competition in the same sport during the same season, the maximum number of contests that the student may participate in is the number of contests his/her highest-level team is permitted to play.
Schools are permitted to play (a maximum) 18 regular-season games and in seven tournaments prior to area, sub-regional, regional and State Finals play. Consequently, the student-athlete participated ineligibly in Class 7A, Area 1 tournament and one game in the South Regional Softball Tournament. BHS must forfeit all games won in which the ineligible student participated. The season has now ended for the softball team.
MONTGOMERY -- All-star squads for the 2018 All-Star Sports Week’s North-South girls’ fast-pitch softball games have been selected.
A total of 36 outstanding juniors--18 on each team--were chosen from nominations submitted by high school coaches from across the state to participate at the 22th annual AHSAA Summer Conference and AHSADCA All-Star Games competition in Montgomery July 17 -- 19, according to an announcement by Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
The North-South softball doubleheader will be at Lagoon Park Tuesday, July 17, with the first game set for 6 p.m. The second game will following 30 minutes after its conclusion at approximately 8 p.m.
Coaching the South team is Mark Eubanks of Jeff Davis and Todd Clements of Eufaula. Susan Barnes of Elba is the administrative coach. North coaches are Ann Welsh of Spring Garden and Al Rauls of Buckhorn. Kent Chambers of Bob Jones is the administrative coach. Rauls, who led the Lady Bucks to the Class 7A state crown last season, was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame last March in the Class of 2018.
In last year’s all-star competition, the North won game one 12-6 and the South won the nightcap 11-1. The North holds a 25-10-3 edged in the series that was first played in 1997.
The AHSADCA All-Star Games also include in-state games in baseball, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ basketball, volleyball, boys’ and girls’ cross country and football. The 59th North-South All-Star football game will close out the all-star competition Thursday night, July 19, at Cramton Bowl.
The AHSAA Summer Conference is a week-long event that includes sports-specific clinics and special sessions for coaches, principals, athletic directors, cheerleading coaches and officials. Also, an All-Sports Equipment Expo and other related activities are scheduled throughout the week.
Among the week’s highlights will be the Sportsmanship Luncheon honoring all schools that have not had an ejection or fine during the 2017-18 school year and the Championship Coaches Awards Banquet that includes the naming of the 2018 Making A Difference Award recipients, 2017-18 Coaches of the Year and the AHSADCA Athletic Director of the Year. Both banquets will be Friday, July 20.
Concluding the week will be the annual Officials Awards luncheon set for Saturday, July 21.
The softball rosters:
2018 North-South Softball Teams
G. W. Long
Elba - Admin.
Hillcrest - Tusc
Brylie St. Clair
Bob Jones - Admin.
MONTGOMERY – Senior Ariyon Hightower slugged a triple, single and grand-slam home run to lead Opp to a 15-0 win over Straughn in a Wiregrass softball game last week to finish with eight RBIs and landed in the AHSAA Softball Spotlight with the record-book performance.
The talented infielder drove in two runs with s triple in the first inning, two more runs with a single in the fourth inning and four RBIs on a grand-slam in the top of the fifth – the most RBIs in a single game since Good Hope’s Josie McDonald had nine in a 16-0 win over Vinemont in 2015. The AHSAA single-game record (11) was set by Candace Arreola of Central-Florence in a 16-1 win over Ardmore in the 2011 North Regional tournament at Huntsville. Enterprise slugger Sara Hilton had 10 in a 13-0 win over Charles Henderson in 2008, and Danyelle Martin of Springville drove in nine victory over St. Clair County in 2011.
Hightower is now tied with nine others for fourth best all-time in the AHSAA. Her dad Aaron Hightower, the current principal at Opp High School, was a standout athlete in high school who signed a football scholarship at Southern Miss and was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1992 Major League Draft. He spent two years in the Blue Jays minor-league organization.
Ariyon’s RBI assault edged out a home-run hitting barrage by Tuscaloosa County in a 17-10 win over Northside.
The Wildcats tied the AHSAA record for consecutive home runs (3) when Maddie Parks, Katie Atkins and Halie Jones hit back-to-back-to-back homers in the fifth inning of their 17-10 win over Northside. Guntersville also accomplished the rare feat earlier this season when Lauren Quigley, Kaylyn Dunn and Katie Wood boomed consecutive homers in the first inning of a 12-1 win over Brewer.
In other highlights reported:
IN THE CLUTCH
MIA KILLEN, FLORENCE: Slammed a two-run homer and drove in three runs in the Falcons’ 8-7 win over defending Class 7A state champion Buckhorn.
MADDISON WATKINS, EAST LIMESTONE: Had a triple, double and single and two stolen bases to score three runs as the Indians beat West Morgan 6-3.
BAILEY MURPHY, BAKER: Had a triple in the second inning, homer in the third, double in the fourth and a single in the fifth to hit for the cycle in the Honey Bees’ 16-0 win over Alma Bryant.
BRIANNA POSEY, CENTRAL-FLORENCE: Posey hit a grand slam home run and finished with six RBIs as the Wildcats beat Rogers 12-5.
MAGGIE WILLIAMS, DESHLER: Hit a grand slam and finished with five RBIs in a win over Colbert Heights.
BAILIE HALL, OAK GROVE: Batted .833 for the week with two homers and two doubles for the Tigers.
MAGGIE WILLIAMS, DESHLER: Had a grand-slam homer and five RBIs total as Deshler downed Colbert Heights 15-7. Teammate Kelsie Myrick also had three hits and drove in five runs as well for the Tigers, who scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning to send the game into extra innings tied at 7-7. Deshler then scored eight runs in the top of the eighth to seal the win.
BAILEE COCHRAN, ASHFORD: Had a single, double and home run to plate five runs as Ashford beat Dale County 14-4.
ALIVIA CLEMMONS, RUSSELLVILLE: Had four hits and two RBIs and Krista Sikes had two hits and five RBIs in the Tigers’ 11-6 win over Haleyville.
LEANNA JOHNSON, BRANTLEY: Hurled a no-hitter and struck out 18 as the Bulldogs (31-4) blanked Pleasant Home 4-0. She also had 15 strikeouts in a 2-1 win over Class 7A Prattville.
HALEY HORTON, GARDENDALE: Hurled 11 shutout innings to get wins over Tuscaloosa County and Cordova as the Rockets won the Sumiton Christian tourney. She had eight strikeouts.
LIBBY BAKER & MORGAN FERGUSON, G.W. LONG: Hurled back-to-back three-inning no-hitters over Abbeville – winning 18-0 and 15-0. Baker struck out eight of nine batters faced and Ferguson whiffed seven of nine – for a combined 15 strikeouts over six innings.
MAKENNA PIERCE, DAPHNE: Was 4-0 with 37 strikeouts in 22 innings pitched for the week. Among the victories was a no-hitter in a win over Kinston.
BAILEY BROWNING, WEST LIMESTONE: Hurled a one-hitter and struck out nine as the Wildcats beat West Morgan 5-0. She also had two hits and three RBIs.
RILEY VAUGHN, MARS HILL BIBLE: Pitched a two-hitter and struck out 11 in a 2-0 shutout over Lauderdale County. Makayla Miller also pitched a two-hitter in the loss for the Tigers.
MONTGOMERY – Guntersville High School’s softball team slugged six home runs in the first inning and finished with an AHSAA state-record tying eight for the game to beat Brewer 12-1 last week to move into this week’s AHSAA Softball Spotlight.
The six home runs also set an AHSAA record and quite possibly a national record. However, the NFHS Record Book only lists team home run records for a season. Coach Capper Reed’s Wildcats opened the game with sophomore Candice Daniel hitting a home run. Lauren Quigley, Kaylyn Dunn and Katie Wood followed with back-to-back-to-back home runs. The inning concluded with Maggie Skaziak and Daniel hitting back-to-back homers.
Daniel, who had two in the first inning, and Skaziak, who had five RBIs, finished with two home runs each in the game to give the Wildcats eight in the five-inning game to tie the state record set by Ider in the 2000 season. Quigley pitched the win striking out 10.
Daniel now shares the AHSAA record for homers in an inning with 12 others, including
Demopolis’ Alex Abrams and Fairhope’s Sam Yarbrough, who accomplished the feat in 2017. Tiffany Burks of Gardendale and Delaina Franklin of Pleasant Grove set the record originally on consecutive days in 2005. According to the NFHS Record Book, the national record (3) was set by Sherri Wright of Nashville (TN) Overton in 1989 and tied by Stefanie Berecz of Chicago St. Benedict in 2002.
Quigley pitched five innings with 10 strikeouts. With the win, the Lady Wildcats improve to 10-7 on the season. They played Boaz last Thursday.
Goodman Logs Milestone Coaching Win
Guntersville’s home run barrage shared the spotlight with Alabama Christian Coach Chris Goodman, who registered the 1,300th career coaching victory when the Lady Eagles beat Montgomery rival LAMP 15-0 earlier this week. His overall coaching record after the LAMP win is now 1,300 wins, 618 losses and eight ties including tenures in baseball, boys’ and girls’ basketball, according to records compiled by ACA historian Paul Payne.
ACA (21-4) went 3-2 last weekend at the Sparkman Round-Robin Invitational tourney, then beat Montgomery rivals Saint James on Monday and LAMP on Tuesday. Goodman has served as head softball coach at ACA since 2007 compiling a 470-165-8 fast-pitch record overall with Class 4A state championships in 2007 and 2009 and runner-up finishes in 2010, 2013 and 2014. His 2017 team finished with a school-record 58 wins en route to a third-place finish at the AHSAA State Tourney. The Eagles won six other fast-pitch titles (1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006) and one slow-pitch championship (1995) for nine softball state crowns overall.
“It is all about the kids,” said Goodman, who compiled a 389-192 record as Alabama Christian’s baseball coach from 1986-2006. His baseball program produced state titles in 1995 and 2000 and finished second in 1994 and 2004. He was first coach in AHSAA history to win state titles in softball and baseball. Buckhorn’s Alvin Rauls accomplished that feat last season winning the 2017 Class 7A softball crown. Rauls, who was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame last month, won a baseball title at New Hope in 1992.
Goodman also compiled a 216-168 boys’ basketball record at ACA from 1986-2001 and was 225-93 coaching girls’ basketball from 2002-2012.
He said he has enjoyed coaching all sports, but will treasure coaching his daughters in softball. “I left baseball for softball just so I could coach them, and it has been an incredible experience,” he said. “I have been blessed to have the chance to coach so many outstanding kids. The wins are about them. I never counted them.”
In other reported performances:
IN THE CLUTCH
TAYLOR ROSS, NORTHVIEW: Slugged a grand slam home run igniting a seven-run third inning as the Cougars beat Northside 13-0 in four innings in their first game of the Northside Invitational Tourney as Northview opened with three wins. Ross also drove in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning with a fielder’s choice as the Cougars beat Brookwood 5-4 to win the championship. She also took a0 throw from teammate Collier Peaden to tag out the potential go-ahead run in the top of the inning to snuff out a Brookwood rally. Peaden also had four hits in the final game. Jaala Torrence pitched all eight innings allowing five hits and striking out 14 to get the win.
MADISON PLUNKETT, THOMPSON: Singled in two runs to give the Warriors the lead for good 3-2 in the bottom of the final inning as the Warriors (30-5) capped a 10-win run in the Gulf Coast Classic tourney finals to beat Hewitt-Trussville 4-3.
DEVAN FULMER, FAIRVIEW: Clubbed a two-run homer in the fifth inning to put the Aggies ahead for good in a 4-3 win over Good Hope.
MACEY OGLE, JOHN CARROLL CATHOLIC: Compiled a 4-1 record and struck out 30 for the week and also had 10 hits, including four doubles, and drove in five runs while hitting .625 over seven games last week.
LAURA HUDSON, BRANTLEY: Tossed a no-hitter and struck out six to beat Highland Home 6-0 to complete a doubleheader sweep. Leanna Johnson struck out 12 in a 17-0 win in the first game with Hannah Sims clubbing s two-run homer, two doubles and a single to plate five runs.
RILEY VAUGHN, MARS HILL BIBLE: Hurled all 10 innings in the Panthers’ 10-9 win over Washington (IL) and drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the final to bring in the winning run. She also threw a 5-inning shutout with 12 Ks against Central Magnet and struck out 7 batters in a 4-inning win over East Limestone.
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