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

2017 ‘Making a Difference’ Award Recipients Named

        MONTGOMERY – Seven individuals who have made an impact as exemplary role models have been selected as the 2017 Making a Difference Award recipients by the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
        One recipient from each of the AHSAA’s seven classifications was chosen from nominations submitted by AHSAA member schools and other support organizations. This year’s recipients are Alan Beckett, Winterboro High School (1A); Lamar Brooks, G.W. Long High School (2A); Bobby Tittle, Ohatchee High School (3A); Charles McCaleb, Bibb County High School (4A); Richard Dutton, Lawrence County High School (5A); Janiece Calhoun, Chelsea  High School (6A); and Alvin Rauls, Buckhorn High School (7A).
        The honorees will be recognized at the Championship Coaches Banquet at the Renaissance Montgomery Convention Center July 21. The 6 p.m. event will close out the 2017 AHSAA Summer Conference and All-Star Sports Week for member schools. The Officials’ Awards luncheon will officially close out the week on Saturday, July 22, at the Renaissance at 11:30 a.m.
        The Making a Difference Award was established in 2011 by the AHSAA and AHSADCA to recognize individuals who go beyond their normal duties as a coach, teacher or administrator to make a positive impact in their schools and communities. This year’s recipients include one  principal, two head football coaches,  head softball coach, two athletic administrators and an associate superintendent of education for the Dale County school system.
        “The recipients in this 2017 Making a Difference class are excellent examples of men and women who take their positions as role models for their students, faculty and community very seriously. They are each outstanding choices for what this award stands for. Each have had a major positive impact in their communities and schools and across the state," said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese.  “This award is the most important honor a professional educator in our state can receive. Characteristics considered for this prestigious award include the recipient’s character, integrity and service, all of which have enabled these individuals to have a life-changing impact on the community or school where they serve.”
        Savarese said this special award exemplifies what makes education-based sports so important.
        “This is one way we can honor them for the examples they set and the life lessons they teach on a daily basis,” he said.
        Following is a brief synopsis of the Making a Difference recipients for 2017:


ALAN BECKETT, WINTERBORO HIGH SCHOOL – Winterboro’s head football and baseball coach is described as a man of strong character and tireless work ethic. Beginning his fifth year at Winterboro, Beckett guided the Bulldogs from an 0-10 start his first year to two straight winning seasons the last two years. He has been a head football coach for 11 years, including six at Collinsville, and has compiled a 59-48 overall record.
    He personally has helped many of his student-athletes through hard times –whether it be a dysfunctional home situation or a problem dealing with other off-the-field difficulties. He personally insures each student can get home from practice – driving countless miles himself to insure they get home safely.
   Short-staffed for many years, this son of a coach has had to carry the weight of rebuilding this school’s struggling athletic program and has done the job well -- with a smile on his face and never complaining. Active in FCA, he does not tolerate cursing or bullying and shows impeccable character in his everyday dealings with students, said principal Emily Harris.
   She said he is constantly providing a vision for his student athletes, then shows them how to fulfill that vision. Harris sums him up, “He is a father to the fatherless, and a mentor to those who need a mentor.”


LAMAR BROOKS, DALE COUNTY SCHOOLS (G.W. LONG HS) – Brooks, who recently retired as Associate Superintendent of Dale County Schools, spent 40 years in education. He has been a teacher, coach, principal, associate superintendent and has served on the District 2 Board, Legislative Council and the AHSAA Central Board of Control, where he served as president from 2013-15.
     “Mr. Brooks has gone above and beyond to serve the students in our community, school and state,” said G.W. Long principal Jason Steed.
    Brooks taught and coached at Abbeville and Ashford before moving into administration. He then served as assistant principal at Ashford, then moved to Carroll-Ozark as assistant principal for nine years and career tech director for another four. He then became principal at G.W. Long 1998-2004 and then became Associate Superintendent of Dale County Schools in 2005.
    An invaluable member of the AHSAA’s core leadership, his maturity, compassion and understanding of the educational mission of high school athletics has helped the AHSAA move forward in addressing such national issues as: Football contact limitations, health and safety issues in all sports, non-tradition student eligibility issues and good sportsmanship.
     He is also a servant in the community – seen regularly at school events, he is also a board member for the Echo Rescue and Fire Squad.


Tittle has spent the last decade as an administrator and the last six as principal at Ohatchee. He has worked tirelessly to bring back the tradition in sports and academics that OHS once stood for. His leadership, said assistant principal Michael Graham, has brought back a real sense of pride in the community. The fans now flock to sporting events at this small Calhoun County school for all sports. The football team reached the semifinals of the state playoffs for the first time in 40 years last season finishing 12-2. Academics, other sports and extracurricular activities are thriving as well. The school received an A+ College Ready Grant – a grant totaling more than $240,000 for his school. Tittle has turned the community’s perception of the school around - making a lasting difference.
   Tittle graduated from Jacksonville State in 1999 and immediately began teaching music education and serving as band director at Carbon Hill High School. He later held the same positions at Walter Wellborn and Clay County. He moved into administration as assistant principal at Talladega in 2007, became principal in 2010 and moved to Ohatchee in 2012. He is active in CLAS and is a University of Alabama ACCESS instructor.


CHARLES McCALEB, BIBB COUNTY – Charles McCaleb knows Bibb County basketball better than anybody. He grew up in Bibb County graduating from the school in Centreville in 1968. He returned after college at Alabama to become a teacher and coach and has worked at the school every year but two since 1973. Always willing to serve wherever he could, he has held the positions of boys’ and girls’ basketball coach and has also served as athletic director, softball coach and was even head football coach in 2004 when the head coach left for another job. To those in the know, he is “Mr. Bibb County High School”. He was the point guard on the first Bibb County team to make the state tournament in 1967, made it back as a boys’ assistant in 1976 and did it again with three Final Four appearances in four years from 1989-1992 as the boys’ head coach with one state championship. After a two-year retirement from the school after the 1996-97 season, he returned for the 1999-2000 school year as the girls’ head coach, leading them to their most successful run in team history for 10 seasons. Forty-eight of his players signed college scholarships.
He retired again in 2010 after years in education and returned as AD in 2012 where he has served ever since.
   He works daily to make sure the school has the best programs possible and has mentored dozens of coaches – including 2017 Class 6A Making a Difference recipient Janiece Calhoun.

Rich Dutton is beginning his sixth season as head coach at Lawrence County High School.  He graduated from Lawrence County in 1994. He played football, basketball, baseball, and ran track and cross-country to become a rare five-sport standout who played football on Friday nights and then ran cross country the next day.   He received his B.S. in Spanish from UNA in 1998 where he ran track and cross-country.  He coached at Lawrence County as an assistant from 1999-2005. He was the head cross-country coach in 1999-2000. He has served as assistant football, basketball and baseball coach and as head softball coach at Lawrence County. He also coached at Speake, Russellville and Austin. He served as defensive coordinator, assistant coach and head softball coach at Austin High School from 2008-2011.
   His nominator, Denton Bowling, a coach at a Hatton High School, wrote about his friend and former coach. “When playing for Coach Dutton, he not only served as a coach but a mentor as well. He always made time to talk to me as a player regarding athletics, academics and life. He has continued that practice, and I have seen first-hand the difference he has made in so many lives.”
    Fluent in Spanish, Dutton is often called on by local law enforcement to become an interpreter in the growing Hispanic community. As head football coach, he has taken the Red Devils from an 0-10 start in his first year (2012) to the school’s first playoff in decade by emphasizing team-building activities. One was having his players dress like super heroes while attending the Lawrence County Special Olympics – creating priceless smiles and joy for the participants and football players alike.




Coach Calhoun has spent more than 22 of her 24 years in education at Chelsea where she has coached basketball, softball and volleyball. She is currently serving as assistant athletic director. Principal Wayne Trucks estimates more than 10,000 student-athletes have been affected positively by her leadership and example during this time – and she continues to make a difference each new day, he said.
    The Thompson High School and University of Montevallo graduate is known for her “look” or pat on the back that helps guide students in a positive direction. Trucks added, “She always puts the needs of our student-athletes first and always wants what is best for them. She also handles all eligibility reports, scheduling for games and practices, tickets and transportation, drives a bus when called upon and can be found at the end of the night sweeping the gym or lending her ear to someone who has a question.”
    She now mentors younger coaches – something she said she learned from this year’s Class 4A Making a Difference recipient Charles McCaleb at Bibb County High School where she got her first job as a teacher and coach.

This former Central Board member has been a trailblazer of sorts as a teacher/coach and is one of the most respected coaches in his district (8) – serving on the Legislative Council and District Board. He has been an outstanding role model for all students and is well respected by his peers. Coach Rauls, a strong advocate for good sportsmanship,  became the first black head coach to win an AHSAA state baseball championship when he led New Hope to the 1992 state 3A championship. In 2017 he guided Buckhorn to the Class 7A state softball championship – becoming the first black head coach to win a fast-pitch softball title in the AHSAA. He is also just the second coach in AHSAA history to win baseball and fast-pitch softball titles.
    A native of Albany, Ga., Rauls attended college at Florida A&M playing second base on the Rattlers’ baseball team with former teammate and Hall of Famer Andre Dawson.
     He moved to Madison County after college and became the Director of Parks and Recreation at Triana and the first black parks and recreation director in Alabama. He has also served as Alabama A&M head baseball coach, has been an AHSAA basketball official and has had coaching stints at Butler, Sparkman and Bob Jones. His teams have won more than 300 baseball games and 345 softball games.

2017 North-South Cross Country All-Star Teams Announced

MONTGOMERY -- All-star squads for the 2017 North-South boys’ and girls’ cross country competition have been selected.
     A total of 40 outstanding rising seniors --10 on each team -- were chosen from nominations submitted by high school coaches from across the state to participate at the 21th annual AHSAA Summer Conference and AHSADCA All-Star Games competition in Montgomery July 17-21, according to an announcement by Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
     The North-South Cross Country race, making its debut on Wednesday morning, July 19, is the newest all-star completion added to the annual All-Star Sports Week competition will be the first ever conducted by the AHSADCA. The teams are comprised of 10 runners each. The girls’ teams will run at 7:30 a.m., at the course at Auburn University-Montgomery. The boys will follow at 8 a.m.
     The AHSADCA All-Star Games also include in-state games in soccer, baseball, softball, boys’ and girls’ basketball, volleyball and football. The 58th North-South All-Star football game will close out the all-star competition Thursday night, July 20, 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 2016-17 school year and the Championship Coaches Awards Banquet that includes the naming of the 2017 Making A Difference Award Recipients , Coaches of the Year and the AHSADCA Athletic Director of the Year. Both banquets will be Friday, July 21.
      Concluding the week will be the annual Officials Awards luncheon set for Saturday, July 22.
      Coaches for the South cross country teams are Joe Swagart of Bayside Academy (girls) and Dan Norton of Auburn (boys). Ron Peters of Smiths Station will be the administrative coach. North coaches are Lea Bryant of Huntsville (girls) and Lars Porter of Homewood (boys). Mountain Brook’s Michael McGovern will serve as North administrative coach for both teams.
       The rosters:





Rebecca Billman

American Christian

Yesenia Hernandez


Caroline Saul


Sydney Steely


Rachel Jones


Lindsey Granier

John Carroll

Lori Holmberg


Kourtney Shuler


Hannah Tarwater

Whitesburg Christian

Phoebe Moon



Lea Bryant


Michael McGovern

Mountain Brook, Adm.




Madelyn Watkins


Mary Branyon

Bayside Academy

Audrey Clark


Lexie WIlliams


Grace Phung


Grace Jenson


Savannah Karl


Sailor Miles

Saint James

Kaelyn Horn

St. Luke's Episcopal

Mackenzie LeGrand

Trinity Presbyterian


Joe Swagart

Bayside Academy

Ron Peters

Smiths Station, Adm.




Taylor Ray

American Christian

Daniel Tully


Zach Howard

Briarwood Christian

Hamza Abusammour


Patrick Vaughn



John McCrackin


Cameron Cox


Charles Slaughter

Mountain Brook

Matthew Estopinal


Andrew Sweeney

Saint Bernard


Lars Porter


Michael McGovern

Mountain Brook, Adm.




Andrew Mingus


Cody Becker


Won Heo


Will Franklin

Montgomery Academy

Nathanial Erwin

Pleasant Home

Jake Maddox

Saint James

Tyler Harman

Smiths Station

Conner Moore

Spanish Fort

Dawson Oliver

Trinity Presbyterian

Wells Rutland

Trinity Presbyterian


Dan Norton


Ron Peters

Smiths Station, Adm.

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 www.ahsaa.com. The final was live-streamed and is now archived at www.NFHSnetwork.com.
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.

AHSAA CLASS 7A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Hoover Sweeps Games 2 & 3 to Capture Class 7A State Baseball Championship

     MONTGOMERY – Hoover High School senior left-handed pitcher Brock Guffey hurled a 2-hit shutout to beat Auburn 4-0 in game two of the AHSAA Class 7A State Baseball Championship Series Saturday, then hurled the final 1 1/3 innings in game three to earn the save as the Bucs captured the state crown.
   Guffey (11-0), the 7A Series MVP,  struck out 11, walked none and faced just one batter over the limit in the first-game win Saturday for Coach Adam Moseley’s Bucs (41-11). He set the pace early striking out the first three batters he faced.  Auburn center fielder Trey Woodham got a double but was thrown out at third and first baseman Carter Phillips managed a single to also reach base safely.
    Third baseman Peyton Wilson had two hits and an RBI and left fielder Brandon Agsalud had a single and two RBIs to pace Hoover.
    Hoover picked up where it left off in game three with senior Devin Cole (5-2) hurling five strong innings as the Bucs built a 6-0 lead. The Bucs shut out Auburn for 11 consecutive innings on Saturday and ran the streak with 13 counting the final two innings Friday night in game one.
     Junior first baseman Sonny DiChiara doubled in a run in the first inning to give Hoover a quick 1-0 lead. The Bucs scored five runs in the third with DiChiara doubling in another run, Drew Guffey, Brook’s brother, singling to plate another run and Ty Robinson driving in two with a double.
     Auburn, coached by Matt Cimo, finally got on the board with two unearned runs off Cole in the fifth. Cole, who got the win, allowed just one hit, walked two and struck out three before yielding to Hoover reliever Griffin Lape in the sixth.
     Woodham singled and scored to highlight the fifth for the Tigers. Auburn closed to 6-3 in the sixth and Moseley turned to his first-game winning Guffey to come in to close out the win. Guffey allowed three hits and two runs in his relief stretch but pitched out of a seventh-inning jam to get the save. Auburn’s Rowdey Jordan drove in two runs with a single to give the Tigers one last chance at the win.
    DiChiara’s two doubles paced Hoover’s eight-hit attack. Tyler Williams also had two hits while Robinson and DiChiara each had two RBIs. Shortstop Garrett Farquhar scored two runs.
    Ryan Lambert (6-2) started for Auburn and got the loss.
    Hoover’s baseball title was the school’s second. The 7A Series closed out the 2017 State Baseball Championships.

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 www.ahsaa.com.
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.