Opp’s Ariyon Hightower Drives in 8 Runs in 15-0 Win over Straughn

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:

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.
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.

Guntersville Clubs 6 Homers in First Inning and 8 Overall to Beat Brewer 12-1

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:


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.

Hit a grand slam home run in the sixth inning to end the game as the Patriots beat Hatton 13-2 in the Sparkman Round-Robin tourney. Jarrett, who picked up the mound win, clubbed four homers in the event.
KAHALLEY BROOKS, BALDWIN COUNTY: Was 4-for-4 with a two-run homer, four RBIs and three runs scored as the Tigers beat Spanish Fort 8-3. She also hurled the final 1 2/3 innings to get the save.
HANNAH BORDEN, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: Was 12-of-19 for the week with two home runs, two doubles and 15 RBIs to lead the Huskies to a runner-up finish at the Gulf Coast Invitational tourney.
AMARA MYLES, SLOCOMB: Collected a two-run homer and two doubles to account for five RBIs in the Red Tops’ 13-10 loss to Ashford.
JILL ROBINSON, BAKER: Clubbed a solo homer in the fifth inning to break a 5-5 tie as Baker downed Faith Academy 6-5 to win the Honeybee Invitational tourney.
ASHLYN HOLLAND, FORT PAYNE: Collected 11 hits, including a homer, and had seven RBIs as the Wildcats won the New Hope invitational tourney.
MORGAN WHITE, LAUDERDALE COUNTY: Homered in a win over Central-Florence and had a three-run homer, double and two runs scored in a victory over Athens. She closed out the week with a homer in a win over Cullman and two more home runs and five RBIs to help the Tigers beat Prattville Christian.
ABBY LAND, GENEVA COUNTY: Slugged a home run, drove in three runs and pitched the five-inning victory in a 15-1 first-game win over Zion Chapel. She followed with three hits and three RBIs in a 17-8 win in game two to help the Bulldogs complete the sweep.
KATIE JONES, DECATUR HERITAGE: Had a five hits, including a home run, and drove in six runs in a 22-1, 15-0 sweep of R.A. Hubbard.

Grissom’s Darian Buss Ties AHSAA Fast-Pitch Record for Hits in a Game

    MONTGOMERY – Darian Buss of Grissom High School tied the AHSAA state record for hits in a single game last week going 6-for-6 in a 12-11 loss versus Central-Florence last week. Her hitting barrage thrust the senior into this week’s AHSAA Softball Spotlight.
    Hitting No. 2 in the lineup for Coach Michael Robertson’s Tigers, six collected six singles and scored two runs – highlighting a seven-run ninth-inning rally that fell short when Central came back to plate eight runs in the bottom of the inning, however, to win the game. 
    The six hits ties the AHSAA fast-pitch record held by three others. Carrie Walker of Baker had six hits in a 2004; Shakira Johnson and Tonje Willis, both of Choctaw County, tied the record with six hits each in the same game, a 23-11 win over Milly in 2014.
    The hitting performance edged out a “grand” performance by Hazel Green High School in its 11-0 win over Lawrence County. The Trojans slugged two grand-slam home runs to tie the AHSAA state single-game team record shared by four others.
Haven Hester slugged a grand slam in the first inning and teammate Mackenzie Newcomb slugged a game-ending grand slam in the fifth inning to close out the win. Newcomb allowed one hit and struck out five to get the pitching win.
    Hoover hit two grand slams in a 15-5 win over Pisgah in 2008. Springville socked two versus St. Clair County in a 14-2 win in 2011; Central-Florence slugged two to beat Ardmore 16-1 in that same year; and Winfield had two grand slams in a 13-0 win over Montgomery Catholic at the 2013 state tournament at Lagoon Park.

In the Clutch
Tripled and scored twice in a 7-5 championship game win over Wilson to give Hayden (16-1) the TimesDaily Classic tournament title at Florence. Teammate Gracie Benton also had a triple and two runs scored for the Wildcats. Hayden also had wins over Brooks, Austin and Riverdale (TN).  Wilson (19-2) had wins over Brooks and Florence twice to reach the finals.
ASHLEY WELLINGTON, DESHLER: Slugged a walk-off grand slam to highlight a five-run rally in a 7-5 over Mars Hill Bible at the TimesDaily Classic.
BAILEY BROWNING, WEST LIMESTONE: Slugged two home runs and had three RBIs in a 7-6 win over Falkville.

In other top performances reported:
LEANNA JOHNSON, BRANTLEY: Struck out 17 in a 4-0 shutout win over Pleasant Home. She collected a double at the plate.
ANNABELLE WIDRA, SPAIN PARK: Out-dueled Daphne’s MaKenna Pierce to win the championship game 1-0. Widra allowed two hits and struck out eight. Pierce allowed just one hit in the setback.
MADISON HOLTZAPFEL, THOMPSON: Tossed a no-hitter in the finals to beat Calera 5-1 for the Calera Invitational tourney title. She allowed on unearned run, one walk and struck out three.
SYDNEY SIMPSON, ETOWAH: Hurled two wins and also picked up two saves as Etowah went 4-0 to win the Etowah Invitational tourney. Kacie Byrd got the win in the finals as the Blue Devils beat Ashville 2-1. Simpson hurled the final two innings striking out three.
GEORGIA HUGHES, MONTEVALLO: Hurled two shutout wins allowing only two hits and striking out 17. She also collected five hits, including a double and homer, for six RBIs.
MOLLY COBB, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: Went 3-0 with wins over Moody, Daphne and Jasper, striking out 16 and allowing no earned runs. She also hit .438 with a team high eight RBIs.
TAYLOR BRADLEY, DOTHAN: Hurled a five-inning no-hitter with six strikeouts for the Tigers.
KENNEDY CRONAN, DAPHNE: Was 11-of-26 with four doubles, three homers and six RBIs as the Trojans (19-7) posted a 7-2 record for the week. The Trojans were 5-2 to finish second at the Oxford Spring Sting tourney. Pitcher Makenna Pierce (14-2) went 5-0 with 28 strikeouts in 30 innings. She allowed just 10 hits and no earned runs.
STEPHANIE SCHOONOVER, REHOBETH: The Rebels (16-7) of Coach Summer Chandler won six straight games to win the Dothan High/Terry Collins Memorial Tournament with Schoonover allowing no hits through four innings in the finals. She finished with a two-hitter and five strikeouts to beat Geneva 7-0.  Rehobeth won earlier games over Charles Henderson 7-3, G.W. Long 3-1, Cottonwood 16-0, G.W. Long 7-2 and Eufaula 4-2. Blake Gibson had two hits and four RBIs to lead Rehobeth’s offensive effort. The Rebels had back-to-back-to-back homers to plate seven runs in the first inning of their 9-2 win over G.W. Long.  Chasilyn Sawyers slugged a three-run blast, followed by Macie Cross and Honor Slayback with solo home runs.
BROOKLYN WALLACE, HARTSELLE: Slugged a homer and drove in five runs as Hartselle beat Elmore County in a spring break tourney game at Gulf Shores.
KATIE JONES, DECATUR HERITAGE: Collected a triple, double and single to drive in four runs in a 10-2 win over Woodville. Teammate Abby Terry also had three hits with a homer and three RBIs.
RAEGAN CLEM, WEST LIMESTONE: Had a homer and four RBIs in West Limestone’s 7-6 win over Falkville, added two hits, three runs scored and two RBIs in a 13-0 win over Cherokee and collected a double and two singles and one RBI in a 10-1 victory over Whitesburg Christian.
SHANNON CASSIDY, SHEFFIELD: Had two hits and two RBIs in the championship game to beat Covenant Christian 8-3 to win the Eagle Classic tournament. The Bulldogs
also beat Vina 12-1, Hackleburg 17-0 and Covenant Christian 5-4 to go 4-0 in the tourney.
ALLISON HAND, COLBERT HEIGHTS: Had a grand slam in a 9-0 win over Belgreen and Caroline Clark socked two homers to drive in five runs in an 8-2 win over Hamilton in the Red Bay Classic tournament. Emma James also had a three-run homer in an 11-3 win over Red Bay. Colbert Heights (16-0) remained unbeaten after the three wins.
LAUREN HASKINS, THOMPSON: Had a big week with seven home runs, four doubles, and a triple as the Lady Warriors outscored seven opponents 70-6 for the week, including winning the Calera Softball Invitational. She was 18-of-27 overall and was perfect on seven stolen-base attempts.
TORIE DENKERS, OAK MOUNTAIN: Had three home runs and 10 RBIs in a win over Cullman and finished with four homers on the week.
ABBY WILLIAMS, PROVIDENCE CHRISTIAN: Had three hits, including a three-run homer, and finished with five RBIs in a 14-4 win over Ashford. Twelve hitters had at least one hit for PCA.
LAKYN PRATT, ARITON: Slugged two home runs and two doubles to drive in six runs as Ariton downed Zion Chapel 20-2. Hannah Hughes also contributed a grand slam to highlight a 16-run outburst in the top of the fourth inning.
GABBY STAGNER, FAITH ACADEMY: Hit a grand slam homer in the fourth inning to lead Faith Academy to an 18-0 four-inning win over St. Paul’s Episcopal. The Rams and four homers in the game with Tempest Hebert hitting two and Taylor Robinson hitting one.

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.

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 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.

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.