Thursday, February 27, 2020






Spain Park Delivers 800th Career Coaching Win to Coach C.J. Hawkins

MONTGOMERY -- Spain Park High School freshman pitcher Annabelle Widra hurled a two-hitter, Lexi Thompson and Maddie Majors slugged home runs as the Jaguars softball team beat Alabama Christian 5-0 in a softball game in late February.
    The victory over the strong Eagles was the 800th career win for Jaguars head softball coach C.J. Hawkins.  That milestone win headlines the first AHSAA Softball Spotlight of the 2018 season.
    “Where did the years go,” said Hawkins in retrospect. “This is my 11th year at Spain Park after spending 11 years at Clay-Chalkville. Throw in three years at the middle school level and it is truly amazing.”
    Hawkins, currently 809-351 in 22 seasons, built Clay-Chalkville into one of the premier teams in the AHSAA. When she moved to Spain Park for the 2008 season, the program had never had a winning season. It took three years before finishing above .500 at 26-24. Since then, the Jags have been among the top teams in the state as well.
      A standout shortstop and multi-sport athlete in high school at Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus, Ohio, she attended Ohio State University where she was an Academic All-Big 10 selection.
     Her first job in Alabama was at Hewitt-Trussville Middle School. She then started the softball program at Clay. Three players off her 1999 Clay team signed college scholarships. Since then, the total number is approaching 60.
    Spain Park finished 48-9 last season and is off to a 14-2 start in 2018. The Jags went 6-0 to win the Sidney Cooper Invitational for the second straight year.
    The milestone win edged out a 21-srtrikeout performance by pitcher Lauren Quigley Guntersville. The senior hurled a 3-hitter and struck out 21 in a seven-inning 7-1 win over Crossville.
     The 21 strikeouts was one shy of the AHSAA 7-inning record (22) set by Eufaula’s India Kornegay versus G.W. Long in 2009. Only three other pitchers have been reported as striking out 21 in a 7-inning game: Kornegay versus Charles Henderson in 2010; Bree Blevins of Spring Garden vs Lynn in the 2009 Class 1A state tournament; and Lauren Webster of Alabama Christian in 2008.

     Other highlights reported include:

ALEA JOHNSON, FAIRHOPE: Slugged two home runs and a single to drive in seven runs as the Pirates beat Lebanon (TN) 11-1.
JORDAN HOLCOMB, MOBILE CHRISTIAN: Hurled 4-2 win over Bayside Academy, allowing six hits and striking out 11. She also had three hits and three RBIs.
SAVANNAH CREEL, ALMA BRYANT: Collected a single, two doubles and six RBIs in a 23-4 win over Murphy.
LORI TERRY, EAST LAWRENCE: Slugged two home runs and had three RBIs in a 10-0 win over Tharptown. The Eagles slugged four homers with Briley Pitt and Anna Kate Segars with one each. Pitt finished with four RBIs and also had four RBIs versus West Morgan.
JOHNNA STAGGS, WILSON: Staggs hit four home runs – two in each game – as the Warriors routed Colbert County and Russellville.
JABBY TERRELL, NORTHVIEW: Slugged a grand-slam home run to highlight an eight-run third inning as the Cougars beat Geneva 9-4 at the Geneva Invitational tourney. She finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs.
OLIVIA WILBORN, DECATUR: Had three hits and five RBIs in a 15-8 win over Brewer.
HANNAH MYNARD, ENTERPRISE: Hurled three shutouts at the Wetumpka Invitational to help the Wildcats reach the semifinals of the tourney. She blanked Central-Phenix City 2-0 on one hit with six strikeouts, whiffed six in a 2-0 shutout over Holtville and also hurled a 3-0 win over Vestavia Hills.
ANNIE LAURA CLAYTON, EUFAULA: Hurled a five-inning no-hitter to bet Lee-Montgomery 5-0 in the Wetumpka Invitational. She had 10 strikeouts and one walk in the win.
LEANNA JOHNSON, BRANTLEY: Was 4-1 in the Wetumpka Invitational with 43 strikeouts and two shutouts. The Class 1A Bulldogs reached the championship game. Brantley improved to 15-1 on the season.
KAITLYN CLARK, GARDENDALE: Pitched 39 innings and posted five wins in the Calhoun CC Invitational. Among the victories was a 1-hit shutout over defending Class 6A state champion Hazel Green.
ALLIE BOUTWELL, DALE COUNTY: Collected four hits, including two home runs, in the second inning, and had two RBIs in a 21-3 win over Abbeville.
HANNAH POPWELL, HEADLAND: Slugged a double, triple and home run to account for three RBIs as the Rams beat Daleville 13-1.
CHLOE NANCE, GENEVA: Had two singles in the first inning to highlight a seven-run rally and the Panthers held on for an 8-0 win over Providence Christian.
Was 7-of-14 with two doubles, a triple, a home run, three walks and five RBIs last week. She also had a triple and homer in an 11-1 win over John Carroll.

North and South Split Doubleheader In All-Star Softball at Lagoon Park

   MONTGOMERY – The North girls pounded 13 hits in game one to beat the South 12-6, and the South bounced back to win the second game of the doubleheader 11-1 Tuesday night at Lagoon Park as the 21st AHSAA Summer Conference and All-Star Sports Week all-star competition got underway. The softball contests are part of the AHSAA annual Summer Conference and Coaching School administered by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
     The South salvaged a split in the series that has been dominated through the years by their North counterparts. The North girls, coached by Mortimer Jordan’s Shawn Maze and Josh Graham of Lawrence County, now hold a 25-10-3 edge after Tuesday’s split. The South was coached by Donna Sunnycalb of Saraland and Matt Hendricks of Auburn.
    South MVP was Rehobeth’s Lauren Rase and North MVP was Riley Honeycutt of Northside.
   Game 1: North 12, South 6: Honeycutt, Lauren Hopper of Lawrence County, Taylor Davis of Sparkman and Sidney Wagnon each had two hits for the North. The winners posted eight runs in the top of the third to break the game open. East Lawrence’s Anna Segars doubled to drive in two runs for the big hit of the inning.   Gardendale’s Chaney Phillips also had a double for the North.  
    The South jumped out to a 3-0 lead off starting pitcher Hannah Hayes of Hazel Green, the North winning hurler. Faith Academy’s Lacey Fincher keyed the rally with a two-run single. Hayes pitched the first three innings, allowed five hits and four runs while striking out two.
     Starting pitcher Savanna Holmes of Hale County added a solo homer in the second inning and Baker’s Victoria Ortiz had two hits and two RBIs. Holmes pitched the first two innings yielding four hits and one run. Lacey Spear of Alabama Christian hurled three strong innings to close out the game for the South. She allowed one hit, no runs and struck out five.
    Kerstin Bryant of Spring Garden and Bailey Browning of West Limestone also pitched two innings each for the North. Browning allowed one hit and struck out three.
Game 2: South 11, North 1: Rehobeth’s Rase, who played first base and also pitched one inning, was 3-for-3 with four RBIs in game two as the South closed the 2017 series with a victory – its first in this year’s All-Star Sports Week competition. She had an RBI single in a four-run second inning as the South took control 5-0. She drove in two runs with a double in the fifth inning as the South scored three to build 10-1 lead. Rase doubled in another run.
   The South clubbed 16 hits with winning pitcher Leanna Johnson of Brantley slugging s solo homer and single. Karsen Mosley of Saraland had two hits and two RBIs, Alexis Austin of Wetumpka had two hits and Hope Mynard of Enterprise had a single, sacrifice fly and two RBIs.
   Johnson allowed two hits over the first three innings and struck out one to notch the victory. Holmes, Gracie Deaton of Central-Phenix City, Rase and Spear also pitched one inning each.
    Bailey Browning of West Limestone got the loss. Pacing the North offensively was Jamie Gregg of Hoover with two hits.  

Tanner Burns named Mr. Baseball and Annie Willis named Miss Softball by Alabama Sports Writers Association; Mobile Christian’s Ethan Hearn named Jimmy Smothers Courage award winner

HOOVER – Decatur’s Tanner Burns and Westminster Christian’s Annie Willis were named Mr. Baseball and Miss Softball, respectively, by the Alabama Sports Writers Association on Sunday night at the group’s 46th annual convention at the Hyatt-Wynfrey in Hoover.

In addition, Mobile Christian’s Ethan Hearn was named the recipient of the ASWA’s Jimmy Smothers Courage Award. Named after the long-time sports editor of the Gadsden Times and guiding force in the ASWA, it recognizes his commitment to local and high school sports coverage, and honors a high school athlete who has overcome adversity and shown immense courage.

Burns, expected to be a high choice in the Major League Baseball player draft this week, was selected the ASWA’s Class 6A first-team shortstop and the 6A Player of the Year when the group’s prep committee met last week to select its all-state team. Burns was also the 6A hitter of the year in 2016 as a utility player, a first-team pitcher in 2015 and first-team designated hitter as a freshman.

In 37 games for the 32-5 Red Raiders, the senior hit .467 with 18 homers, 46 RBI, 49 hits and 56 runs. He walked 29 times and struck out just six times. As a right-handed pitcher, Burns went 10-1 with a 0.88 ERA and 116 strikeouts against 22 walks, while allowing eight earned runs in 64 innings. The Auburn signee helped Decatur to the quarterfinals – where the team was ranked 32nd in the nation before its loss to Cullman.

Willis was the Pitcher and Player of the Year in Class 4A in helping her team to a runner-up finish and a 51-4-1 record. With 543 strikeouts this year, she finished her pitching career with 1,975. This year, she went 43-3-1 and had an ERA of 0.40. She pitched five no-hitters, three perfect games and 21 shutouts. Willis allowed 44 walks, 90 hits and 15 earned runs in 259 2/3 innings.

The senior hit .464 this year with 12 homers, 64 RBI, 70 hits, scored 40 runs, walked 23 times and struck out just nine times. She was a first-team all-state pitcher as a junior and sophomore and was honorable mention as a freshman. The Troy signee helped the Wildcats to a high-water mark of 14th in the country.

Hearn was honored for his courage in the face of tremendous adversity. The sophomore returned from football practice on a Thursday night last November to find his mother dead of an apparent suicide. Though his teammates and coaches rushed to his house to comfort him that night, few expected him to make the trip to Oakman early the next morning for the team’s Class 3A quarterfinal playoff game. Not only did Hearn make the trip, he made 8.5 tackles in a Mobile Christian victory and eventually helped power the Leopards to the title game.


(First place votes in parentheses)


Tanner Burns, Decatur                                 (9) 117
Bubba Thompson, McGill-Toolen              (2)   87
Jacob Heatherly, Cullman                                    80
Cody Greenhill, Russellville                                 66
Sam Praytor, Helena                                             57
Connor Jednat, UMS-Wright                               39
Taylor Hayes, Piedmont                                      37
Jonah Smith, Sweet Water                                  17
Brock Guffey, Hoover                                           13
Drew Williamson, T.R. Miller                              11

2017: Tanner Burns, Decatur
2016: Owen Lovell, Cullman
2015: Brax Garrett, Florence
2014: Cody Reed, Ardmore
2013: Keegan Thompson, Cullman
2012: Mikey White, Spain Park
2011: Daniel Koger, Huntsville
2010: Daryl Norris, Fairhope
2009: Luke Bole, Hartselle
2008: Tyler Stovall, Hokes Bluff
2007: John David Smelser, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa
2006: Del Howell, American Chr.
2005: Colby Rasmus, Russell Co.
2004: Patrick White, Daphne
2003: Joey Doan, Baker
2002: Allen Ponder, Lee-Scott Acad.
2001: Eric West, Southside-Gadsden
2000: Wade Miller, G.W. Long
1999: Matthew Maniscalco, Oxford

Annie Willis, Westminster Chr.                  (8) 115
Jenna Ergle, Sumiton Chr.                           (3) 105
Kendall Beth Sides, Sumiton Chr.                      73
Mary Katherine Tedder, Spain Park                  70
Abbey Latham, Demopolis                                  56
Josie Page, Washington Co.                                49
Lacey Fincher, Faith Acad.                                   39
Zoie Emrick, Buckhorn                                         24
Alex Wilcox, Brantley                                            23
Amy Woodham, Slocomb                                    17

2017: Annie Willis, Westminster Chr.
2016: Ashlee Swindle, Curry
2015: Lacey Sumerlin, Baker
2014: Madi Moore, Winfield
2013: Kasey Cooper, Dothan
2012: Haylie McCleney, Mortimer Jordan
2011: Shelby Holley, Pisgah
2010: Leigh Streetman, Hueytown
2009: Hilary Phillips, Ider
2008: Lindsey Dunlap, Hueytown
2007: Whitney Larsen, Vestavia Hills
2006: Anna Thompson, Grissom
2005: Tara Donaldson, Baker
2004: Anna Thompson, Grissom
2003: Holly Currie, Pisgah


2017: Ethan Hearn, Mobile Chr.
2016: Alex Wilcox, Brantley

CLASS 5A STATE SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP Finals: Springville 2, Scottsboro 0

     OXFORD – Springville High School captured the AHSAA Class 5A state softball championship Monday with a 2-0 win over Scottsboro in a game played at Oxford’s Choccolocco Park. The game was resume at Oxford after inclement weather forced suspension of the contest on Saturday night at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park.
    The Tigers (45-11-1) of Coach Brandon Easterwood battled out of the consolation bracket Saturday to beat Scottsboro (44-17), which emerged undefeated in the winner’s bracket to reach the championship game.  Springville won 11-1 in the first game, which forced the “if” game Saturday night. Rain interrupted the “if” game in the third inning with Springville leading 1-0.

    The contest resumed Monday morning at Choccolocco Park.  Springville won its third straight Class 5A softball championship behind a strong pitching performance from MVP Abby Swaney and stellar defense in the 2-0 victory.

     Swaney, who was selected the Class 5A state tourney Most Outstanding Player, struck out eight and scattered five hits in the shutout. The defense was superb, including a game-ending double-play when second baseman Courtney Long grabbed a fly ball in shallow left field, and then threw to first base to nab the Scottsboro runner who had strayed too far.
     Piper Long drove in the only run during Monday’s play with an infield single while Kaylee Chapman supplied the first RBI in Saturday’s action.
    Piper Long and Ashlyn Perrin each had two hits for the Tigers. Lexie Bennett led the Scottsboro offense with three hits.
    Swaney also hurled a four-hitter in the five-inning 11-1 Saturday win that forced the final game. Kaley Chapman had a home run and triple and four RBIs, including a home run, and Anderson Nolan had a homer, single and three RBIs to lead the Tigers in that win. Macy Kate Petriske had a single and RBI for Coach Robyn Johnson’ Wildcats.
   Springville finished 5-1 in the tournament with win over Marbury (3-0) and Rehobeth (15-7) before falling to Scottsboro 2-1 in the winner’s bracket finals. The Tigers then beat Moody (6-4) to set up the two final contests.  Scottsboro posted wins over Faith Academy (3-0), Hayden (10-2) and Springville to reach the championship contests.  

     All state-tournament boxscores are available on line at The final was live-streamed and is now archived at
Class 5A All-State Tournament Team
Abby Swaney, Springville (MOP); McKenzie Brown, Springville; Kaylee Chapman, Springville; Anderson Nolan, Springville; Loren Grider, Scottsboro; Macy Kate Petriske, Scottsboro; Kylie Thackerson, Scottsboro; Shelby Waldrop, Scottsboro.

CLASS 5A STATE SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP Finals: Springville vs. Scottsboro postponed until Monday

     MONTGOMERY – The 2017 Class 5A state tournament softball championship game between Springville and Scottsboro at Lagoon Park Saturday was suspended in the third inning Saturday and will resume Monday at 11 a.m. at Oxford Choccolocco Park. No admission will be charged.
    Scottsboro beat Springville 2-1 in the finals of the to the winners’ bracket, but the Lady Tigers came out of the loser’s bracket to beat the Lady Wildcats 11-1 Saturday to force the “if” game of the double-elimination tournament.
    Springville was leading 1-0 in the top of the third inning when rain forced suspension. The schools agreed to play the rest of the championship contest  Monday at Oxford.
    The NFHS Network, which live-streamed the first championship game Saturday, plans to live-stream the remaining innings Monday.
    The other six classifications completed championship play with Sumiton Christian winning the 1A state title; Hatton in 2A; Pisgah in 3A; Northside in 4A; Hazel Green in 6A; and Buckhorn in 7A.

CLASS 4A STATE SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP Finals: Northside 4, Westminster Christian 0

     MONTGOMERY – Northside High School beat Westminster Christian in the winner’s bracket finals 2-1 and then beat the Wildcats again the championship game Saturday to claim the AHSAA 2017 Class 4A state softball tournament.
      Winning pitcher and 4A state tourney Most Outstanding Player Savannah Stamps hurled a four-hitter in the finals, walking none and striking out two for the Rams (43-17-1) of Coach Tommy Honeycutt. Carson Beatty was 3-for-4 with a double and RBI and Savannah Tidwell also had three hits with a solo homer. Catcher Destiny Noble also had a double for Northside.
   Westminster senior  Annie Willis scatter eight hits and struck out nine and got the loss. Amy Tillman had two hits including a double for Coach Mandy Lowman’s Wildcats (51-5-1).
    Northside also had wins over Cordova (12-4) and Alabama Christian (4-2).
    The Class 5A tournament was still underway Saturday with Springville and Scottsboro battling in the finals. All championship games have been live-streamed over the NFHS Network. All state-tournament boxscores are available on line at
Class 4A All-State Tournament Team
Savannah Stamps, Northside (MOP); Riley Grace Honeycutt, Northside; Carson Beatty, Northside; Gabby Hilliker, Northside; Destiny Noble, Northside;  Annie Willis, Westminster; Olivia Aycock, Westminster; Lauren McCoy, Westminster; Macy Kate Toon, Westminster.

CLASS 1A STATE SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP Finals: Sumiton Christian 9-9, Brantley 3-8

     MONTGOMERY – Sumiton Christian, competing in Class 1A after capturing the Class 2A state championship the last two seasons, came out of the loser’s bracket to beat Brantley twice, 9-3 and finally 9-8, Friday night to clinch the 2017 AHSAA Class 1A state softball championship at Lagoon Park.
    Coach Jessica Adderholt’s Eagles (56-9) finished 6-1 in the tourney.  They opened with an 11-1 win over Marion County but lost in the second round to Pleasant Home 6-5. Sumiton then battled back to the finals with wins over Ragland (13-4), Spring Garden (13-6) and Pleasant Home (5-1) to set up the championship with three-time defending champion Brantley.
    Taylor Whisonant sparked the 9-3 victory with three hits and five RBIs. She had a homer, double and single and winning pitcher Kamree Lay also had three hits. Lay scattered eight hits and struck out one to get the win. Losing pitcher Leanna Johnson had two hits for Coach Cindy Hawthorne’s Bulldogs (51-5).
    Sumiton Christian trailed 8-6 after  Brantley rallied to post six runs in the top of the fifth. Olivia Jones delivered the big hit, her second triple of the game. The Eagles ralled for three runs in the sixth to seal the win.
     Whisonant drove two runs with one hit in the final game. Teammate Abbey Bice socked a solo homer, Anna Kate Tyree collected a double and three RBIs, Angel Whitlow doubled in two runs and Savanah Langston had two hits. Lay got the win again allowing eight hits and striking out six over seven innings.
    Losing pitcher Kassidy Wilcox had a double, single and two RBIs for Coach Cindy Hawthorne’s Bulldogs. She gave up seven hits, eight walks and struck out four in the loss. Jones finished with two triples and three RBIs. Brantley outscored Waterloo, Spring Garden and Pleasant Home 39-0 in three winner’s bracket victories before losing to Sumiton twice to close out the tournament.
   The state tourney continues Saturday for Classes 4A and 5A at Lagoon Park with all championship games set to be live-streamed over the NFHS Network. In one schedule change, the finals for both classes are scheduled to start at 1 p.m., with the “if” game to follow if needed at approximately 2:30.
Class 1A All-State Tournament Team
Taylor Whisonant, Sumiton Christian (MOP); Jenna Ergle, Sumiton Christian; Kendall Sides, Sumiton Christian; Savannah Langston, Sumiton Christian; Anna Calloway, Sumiton Christian; Leanna  Johnson, Brantley;  Kassidy Wilcox, Brantley; Olivia Jones, Brantley; Anna Katherine Kimbro, Brantley.


     MONTGOMERY – Buckhorn High School (43-11) rolled to four straight wins at Lagoon Park to capture the 2017 Class 7A state softball championship Friday. Coach Alvin Rauls’ Lady Bucks beat their Madison County arch-rivals and defending state champion Sparkman 5-0 in the championship game.
     Zoie Emrick pitched 4 1/3 innings in relief to get the win. She allowed no hits or runs and struck out two. Starter Lauren Harbin started and allowed two hits over 2 2/3 innings.
    Emrick, was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Class 7A state tourney.
    Buckhorn took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning and then scored four in the fifth frame with Jordan Evans’ three-run double the big hit. Courtney Marlow also had two hits and one RBI and scored twice. The Bucks also beat Fairhope 12-1, Tuscaloosa County 10-2 and Spain Park 7-1 to outscore all four opponents 34-4 in the state tourney.
     Cassidy Duskin got the loss for Sparkman (54-11). Taylor Davis and Amanda Shikoh each had a hit for the Senators, who lost in the first round to Baker 7-5 and then won four straight games in the loser’s bracket to reach the finals.
   The state tourney continues Friday and Saturday at Lagoon Park with all championship games set to be live-streamed over the NFHS Network.
Class 7A All-State Tournament Team
Zoie Emrick, Buckhorn (MOP); Sidney Edwards, Buckhorn; Kaylee Combs, Buckhorn; Laura Harbin, Buckhorn; Taylor Davis, Sparkman; Cassidy Duskin, Sparkman; Lily Calvert, Sparkman; MacKenzie Nutt, Buckhorn.


     MONTGOMERY – Hazel Green rolled through the winner’s bracket undefeated at 3-0, then rebounded from a 4-0 setback to Daphne to win the AHSAA Class 6A state softball championship 4-2 in the finals Thursday night at Lagoon Park.
     Daphne, 5-2 in the state tourney, rebounded from a loss to Gardendale in the second round to win four straight games – including the win over the Lady Trojans that forced the “if” game.
     Winning pitcher McKenzie Newcomb allowed nine hits but only two runs to lift Hazel Green to title. She also was 3-for-3 with an RBI. Hannah Hayes also had three hits while Maddie Cartron had a double and single to drive in one run.  Kelsey McPeters and Audrey Lewis added two hits each.
   Four players had two hits for Daphne – M.C. Sweatt, McKenna Pierce, Karsen Pierce and Jessica Stevens. McKenna and Karsen Pierce each had a double.
   The state tourney continues Friday and Saturday at Lagoon Park with all championship games set to be live-streamed over the NFHS Network.
Class 6A All-State Tournament Team
McKenzie Newcomb, Hazel Green (MOP); Hannah Haze, Hazel Green;  Catherine Crabb, Hazel Green; Aubrey Lewis, Hazel Green; MaKenna Pierce, Daphne; Kennedy Cronan, Daphne; Lauren Ledbetter, Daphne.


     MONTGOMERY – Winning pitcher Ashley Berryman hurled a four-hitter and struck out three in the AHSAA Class 2A state tourney championship game to lead Hatton to a five-inning 11-1 win and the state title at Lagoon Park Thursday.
    Berryman, who earned Class 2A state tourney Most Outstanding Player honors, also collected two doubles at the plate for the Hornets.  Bailey Dawson supplied the big power, however, going 3-for-3 with three runs scored and five RBIs. She had a home run and double.  Emma Latham also had three hits with double, RBI and three runs scored, and Laney Jeffreys  had a double, single and two RBIs.
    G.W. Long’s Abbykate Chancey got the pitching  loss. She socked s triple to lead the Lady Rebels offensively.
     Hatton beat New Brockton 6-1, G.W. Lonh 5-1 and Horseshoe Bend 8-2 to reach the final game unbeaten.
Class 2A All-State Tourney Team
Ashley Berryman, Hatton (MOP); Katelyn Williams, Hatton; Emma Latham, Hatton; Mallory Lane, Hatton; Olivia Baker, G.W. Long; Morgan Long, G.W. Lon; Jordan Childers, G.W. Long.