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All-Stars split North-South softball series

MONTGOMERY – The North and South teams split the annual double-header Tuesday at the AHSAA All-Star Softball Series in Montgomery. After the South got a 4-3 win in the first game, the North responded with a 1-0 victory that was cut short due to lightening in the top of the fifth inning. With the split, the North own a 23-10-3 record in the all-time series.

 

Elissa Brown’s two-run double to centerfield gave the South a walk-off victory in the opener. The winning hit came of North pitcher Bailey Murphy, who had just given her team a 3-2 lead with a two-run homerun to right field in the top of the sixth.

 

The South got a baserunner in the bottom of the seventh when Davidson’s Sara Lowther reached on a throwing error to lead off the frame. Leroy’s Brittney Minor doubled to put runners at second and third with no outs. After Murphy recorded back-to-back strikeouts, Brown came to the plate and battled to a 3-2 count. She connected on a ball that went just left of center for the game-winner.

 

Murphy finished the first game 2-for-2 at the plate with a single to go along with her homer. She was named MVP for the North.

 

The South had a 2-0 lead after plating single runs in the bottom of the first and fourth innings. The North finally broke through with a run in the top of the fifth. Wilson’s Madison Daniel led off the inning with a single. She reached second on a sacrifice bunt, then scored when Pisgah’s Hannahstaysia Weaver singled to the pitcher. The South first baseman muffed the throw, allowing Daniel to score and cut the lead to 2-1.

 

The score stayed the same until Murphy’s two-run homer. Brown was named MVP for the South. The Elmore County standout was 3-for-3 at the plate with two RBI and two runs scored.

 

In the second game, Florence standout Ellison Barrett gave the North a 1-0 lead with a single up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. It would prove to be the only score of the game, which featured a 1:18 minute lightening delay in the second inning. With the North holding the one-run lead in the top of the fifth, another lightning strike prompted officials to call the game.

 

Several area players participated in the action. Barrett finished the day 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI. She also pitched two innings without yielding a hit. Daniel was also 1-for-2 on the day.

 

West Morgan’s Sydney Sanders also saw action, along with Hartselle’s Hope Cain and Athens’ Makayley Cain. 


Rules Changes Approved for High School Baseball, Softball

            INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 7, 2015) – Rules changes for the 2016 baseball and softball seasons were made at rules committee meetings last month in Indianapolis. Those changes were subsequently approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Board of Directors.

BASEBALL

Beginning with the 2016 season, umpires will be required to issue a warning to coaches before restriction to the bench/dugout or ejecting them as part of a new penalty progression to promote preventive officiating.  

The revision to Rule 3-3-1 Penalty was one of two changes recommended by the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee at its June 7-9 meeting.

Previously, issuing a warning to an offending coach was optional for umpires, who will now restrict to the bench/dugout or eject coaches who commit a violation after previously being warned for a minor offense. However, coaches can still be ejected on a first offense if it is deemed to be major.

Also part of the modification to Rule 3-3-1 Penalty, coaches who receive a written warning (Rule 10-2-3) will be restricted to the bench and/or dugout for the remainder of the game.

 “The new rule change has initiated a penalty progression, starting with a written warning, restriction to the bench/dugout and subsequent ejection from the contest,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and student services and liaison to the Baseball Rules Committee.

The changes to Rule 3-3-1 Penalty will help to de-escalate contentious situations and allow coaches to dictate their status in the game by their behavior, Hopkins said.

“A successful game official practices preventive officiating, and this new penalty progression will allow the official to issue penalties that give the coach the opportunity to remain in the game and teach his players.”

The other change approved by the Baseball Rules Committee is an addition to Rule 3-3-1. Article “q” will state that a coach, player, substitute, attendant or other bench personnel shall not “have any physical contact, spitting, kicking of dirt or any other physical action directed toward an umpire.” The addition of article “q” serves to clarify other behaviors that would result in an ejection from the game, Hopkins said.

“Bad behavior that is being imitated from other levels has no place in education-based athletics and will not be tolerated,” Hopkins said. “If we are to continue to use sport to teach life lessons, then we have to ensure that appropriate behavior and conduct are modeled from those adults in the role of coach/teacher.”

In addition to the two rules changes, the Baseball Rules Committee approved three Points of Emphasis for the 2016 season. Points of emphasis are developed by NFHS rules committees and should receive special focus and attention by officials, coaches, players, fans and other leaders within the high school setting.

Points of Emphasis developed by the Baseball Rules Committee for the 2016 season are as follows:

 

 

  1. INTERMEDIATE PENALTIES/RESTRICTION TO THE BENCH/DUGOUT
  2. PROPER CATCHER’S EQUIPMENT
  3. SPORTSMANSHIP – CELEBRATIONS AROUND OR NEAR THE PLATE AND POST-GAME EJECTIONS

 

SOFTBALL

In softball, one rule change was recommended by the NFHS Softball Rules Committee at its June 15-17 meeting. In the new Article 4 of Rule 2-57, the committee provided a standard definition of a “projected” substitute.

Rule 3-3-3 prohibits the use of a projected substitute, which is now defined in the new article as “a player who does not immediately participate in the game.”

“There has been some confusion among both officials and coaches about substitution procedure,” said Theresia Wynns, NFHS director of sports and officials education and liaison to the Softball Rules Committee. “Therefore, the committee felt it was necessary to clear up that process and provide coaches and officials with a standard definition of a projected substitute.”

            The following Points of Emphasis were approved by the Softball Rules Committee:

  1. STRIKE ZONE (FP)
  2. DP/FLEX EDUCATION
  3. PITCHING (FP)

 

According to the NFHS Athletics Participation Survey, baseball is the fourth-most popular sport for boys at the high school level with 482,629 participants in 15,789 schools. Fast-pitch softball is the fifth-most popular sport for girls with 364,297 participants in 15,225 schools during the 2013-14 season.


Class 4A State Softball Championships Curry Comes Out of Loser’s Bracket To Win Title

MONTGOMERY –   Curry High School clawed its way out of the loser’s bracket Saturday by winning three straight games to capture the AHSAA Class 4A state softball championship at Lagoon Park.
    Coach Phillip Smith’s Yellow Jackets (44-6) beat West Blocton 2-0 and Westminster Christian 6-2 to reach the winner’s bracket finals. Northside (46-10) handed Curry a 5-1 loss, but the Jackets roared back with a 5-1 win over west Blocton, then beat Northside 7-3 in 10 innings and 2-1 in eight innings in the championship game.
    Junior Ashlee Swindle pitched all six games for Curry with two one-hitters. She hurled all 10 innings in the first game of the double-elimination finals. She scattered seven hits and struck out nine. She pitched all eight innings in the final game allowing five hits and striking out five.  She finished the tournament with 45 innings pitched, allowed 31 hits, 12 runs and struck out 31.
    Class 4A state tournament MVP  Haleigh Lane, a senior first baseman, had three hits in the finals and finished the six games hitting .550 with 11 hits in 20 at bats with six runs scored and seven RBIs. She had a homer and double in the 10-inning win over Northside, a double and triple in the 5-1 win over West Blocton and a home run in the tournament opener against the same Tigers.
    Kaylee Norton had a double, two singles and one RBI, Taylor Rowe had two hits and an RBI and Gabby Englebert had two hits in the final game for Curry.   Destiny Noble had one hit and an RBI for Northside, coached by Tommy Honeycutt.
   Class 4A All-Tourney Team: Haleigh Lane, Curry (MVP); Courtney Howze, Curry; Taylor Rowe, Curry; Ashlee Swindle, Curry; Destiny Noble, Northside; Haley Barnette, Northside; Regan Malone, Northside; Annie Willie, Westminster; Chloe Deerman, West Blocton.

Class 6A State Softball Championships Wetumpka Downs Southside 3-2 in Final Game

MONTGOMERY –   Wetumpka edged Southside-Gadsden 3-2 in the AHSAA Class 6A state softball tournament championship game Saturday night at Lagoon Park to capture the school’s first state title.
    Coach Randy Belyeu’s Indians 42-8-1) reached the finals with a 6-4 win over Oxford, 5-1 victory over Saraland and a 6-1 win over Southside. The Panthers (42-7) of Coach Angie Sanders came out of the loser’s bracket to beat Wetumpka 5-4 to force a second game in the finals.
    Lauren Lett gave up nine hits and struck out one to get the win that sealed the state title for Wetumpka.  Class 6A state tournament MVP Destiny Brewer had three hits and two stolen bases to key the victory. Brewer finished 9-of-16 at the plate with six runs scored, a triple, five walks and six stolen bases in the Indians’ five games.
    Savannah Reaves added a double and single and Lindsey Johnson, who pitched two wins, had two hits each.  Claire Graves and Paiden Kircus had two hits apiece for Southside.
   Class 6A All-Tourney Team: Destiny Brewer, Wetumpka (MVP); Alex Christian, Wetumpka; Savannah Reaves, Wetumpka; Lauren Lett, Wetumpka; Paiden Kircus, Southside; Claire Graves, Southside; Savanna Yancey, Southside; Claire Jenkins, Cullman; Aspyn Goodwin, Daphne.

Class 2A State Softball Championships Sumiton Christian Beats Ider 8-7 in Finals

MONTGOMERY –   Sumiton Christian posted three straight one-run wins to capture the Eagles’ second state softball championship Saturday at Lagoon Park.
      The Eagles (48-11) opened play Friday with a 15-5 win over Zion Chapel and followed with a 5-4 victory over Mobile Christian to set up Saturday’s 6-5 win over Ider in the winners’ bracket finals and an 8-7 win in the AGSAA Class 2A state softball tournament championship game.
      Sophomore Jenna Ergle pitched the two wins over Ider Saturday, and sophomore Kendall Beth Sides hurled the first two wins Friday. Coach Jessica Aderhalt’s Eagles slugged 12 hits in the championship game with Ergle, the 2A state tournament MVP, collecting a double and single and two RBIs. Kendall Beth Sides, Savannah Langston and Abbie Brewster added two hits each in Sumiton’s 12-hit barrage.
    Ider (44-12), coached by David Hughes, was paced by Kayla Norman, who had a home run and single for three RBIs.
     Ergle was 8-of-14 with six RBIs and five runs scored over the four wins in the tourney. Kendall  Hamm was 7-of-15, including a 4-for-4 performance in the 15-5 win over Zion Chapel that included three doubles.
     The state title was the second Sumiton Christian. The Eagles’ last championship came in 2010.
   Class 12A All-Tourney Team: Jenna Ergle, Sumiton Christian (MVP); Holly Murray, Sumiton Christian; Kendell Hamm, Sumiton Christian; Kendll Beth Sides, Sumiton Christian; Savannah Hood, Ider; Kayla Norman, Ider; Courtney Blevins, Ider; Hannah Brenton, Mobile Christian; Claire Boston, Hatton.

Class 1A State Softball Championships Brantley Wins 4 Straight to Claim 1A Crown

MONTGOMERY –   Brantley High School outscored four opponents 25-4 en route to four straight victories as the Lady Bulldogs won their second straight Class 1A state softball championship Friday at Lagoon Park.
      Coach Cindy Hawthorne’s Lady Bulldogs (33-10) opened the 1A state tournament with a 4-2 win over Spring Garden, beat Isabella 6-0, Athens Bible 5-2 and Isabella in the championship game 10-0.
      Winning pitcher Leanna Johnson hurled all four wins, including a two-hit five-inning shutout in the final game. She struck out nine. She finished the tournament with 42 strikeouts in 26 innings pitched with only 16 hits and four runs allowed.
     Johnson, a freshman, got plenty of hitting support from her teammates. Kassidy Wilcox had a home run, two doubles and two RBIs in the final Isabella win. Olivia Jones also had two singles and Alex Wilcox had a run-scoring double.
      Chelsea Cox got the loss for the Mustangs (21-13). Caley Booth and Cox got the only hits for Isabella.
     Kassidy Wilcox finished the tournament 8-of-14 with four doubles, a homer and five RBIs for Brantley to earn MVP honors.
   Class 1A All-Tourney Team: Kassidy Wilcox, Brantley (MVP); Leanna Johnson, Brantley; Sydnee Bryan, Brantley; Jessica Hermeling, Brantley; Caley Booth, Isabella; Chelsea Cox, Isabella; Kacie Adams, Isabella; Payton Traffanstedt, Spring Garden; Megan Davidson, Spring Garden. 

Class 3A State Softball Championships Hale County Beats Pisgah in Finals 9-3

   MONTGOMERY –   Hale County rode solid pitching and some clutch pitching to roll through the AHSAA Class 3A state softball tournament undefeated to claim the school’s second straight state softball championship Friday night.
     The Wildcats (34-10) pounded 11 hits in the championship game to beat Pisgah 9-3. Savanna Holmes pitched 4 2/3 innings to get the victory. She allowed four hits and struck out four.  Halle Payne pitched the final 2 1/3 innings allowing one hit and no runs.
      Sophomore Harley Stokes earned MVP honors collecting two hits and an  RBI in the finals.  Her solo homer in the eighth inning in the winners’ bracket finals gave Coach  Lori Wyatt’s Wildcats a dramatic 1-0 win to send them to the championship game.  Her solo homer in the top of the sixth inning  tied Hale County’s second win of the tourney, a 3-1 victory that went 10 innings over Colbert Heights. Kayla Wyatt drove in the winning runs in that contest with a single in the final frame.   Hale County also beat Oakman 3-2.
     Olivia McCray had three hits and Dakota Morrow had two home runs and three RBIs in the championship game win over Pisgah.  Baylee Rogers had two hits and two RBIs for the Eagles (39-10).
   Class 3A All-Tourney Team: Harley Strokes, Hale County (MVP); Dakota Morrow, Hale County; Kayla Wyatt, Hale County; Savanna Holmes, Hale County; Halle Payne, Hale County; Ashley Keith, Pisgah; Lily Womack, Pisgah; Baylee Rogers, Pisgah; Madi Moore, Winfield; Kaelyn Holt, Colbert Heights.

Class 5A State Softball Championships Springville Beats Hayden 2-0 in Finals

   MONTGOMERY –   Springville High School pitcher Abby Swaney pitched four straight wins in the 2015 AHSAA Class 5A state softball tournament to lead the Tigers (38-12) to their first fast-pitch state championship.
     Swaney, an eighth grader, beat Clay County-Central 2-1, Beauregard 10-1 and then blanked Hayden 3-0 in the winner’s bracket finals and 2-0 in the championship game.  The Wildcats (34-7) was the North Central Regional No. 1 qualifier and Springville was No. 2.
     Swaney had 14 straight shutout innings to close out the tourney for Coach Chris Williams’ team to earn MVP honors. She pitched 28 innings, allowed 17 hits, 2 runs, one earned run, walked five and struck out 26 for an 0.25 ERA. She allowed just two hits, no walks, struck out six in the championship game – facing only 23 batters.
     She allowed two hits in the final game, singles to Savannah Woodard and Meleah Hargett.  Sharley Miller started for Hayden and pitched two scoreless innings before yielding to Chloe Kirkland, who hurled thde final five innings allowing four hits and two runs.
    Springville got both runs in the top of the seventh with Meg Sullivan doubling in a run and Katie Emmal singling in Sullivan.
   Class 5A All-Tourney Team: Abby Swaney, Springville (MVP); Meg Sullivan, Springville; Hanna Walker, Springville; Rian Brown, Springville; Sydney Daugherty, Beauregard; Megan Hill, Lawrence County; Sharley Miller, Hayden; Brooke Meadows, Hayden; Tori Knighten, Hayden; Savannah Woodard, Hayden.

CLASS 7A STATE SOFTBALL FINALS Baker Beats Sparkman in Finals 12-1

     Baker of Mobile pounded 13 hits in the championship game Friday to beat Sparkman 12-1 in the AHSAA Class 7A state softball tournament at Lagoon Park. The 7A state championship was the fourth in school history for Coach Tony Scarborough’s Honey Bees (47-6-1).
        Baker went through the 7A competition unbeaten with four wins. Jordan Holifield hurled all six innings to get the championship game win. She allowed six hits and struck out three.  Lexie Mathis had three hits and drove in three runs to earn Class 7A state tournament MVP honors. Her ground-rule double in the top of the third inning drove in two runs as Baker scored six runs to take control. 
       Amberly Montgomery also had three hits and two RBIs, Lacey Sumerlin collected two hits, scored three runs and had two RBIs, and Delaney Thomas also had two hits and drove in two runs. Lead-off hitter Mary Hannah Smith had a double and scored twice.
    Taylor Davis had two hits for Sparkman, the Class 6A state champions in 2013 and 2014.
    Class 7A All-Tourney Team: Lexie Mathis, Baker; Lacey Sumerlin, Baker; Mary Hannah Smith, Baker; Taylor Davis, Sparkman; Page Bannerman, Sparkman; Amanda Shikoh, Sparkman; Destiny Wright, Buckhorn; Haley Crumpton, Thompson.

CLASS 7A Girls State Soccer Championship

Oak Mountain 2, Auburn 1, 2 OT (3-1 in shootout)
     Oak Mountain High School downed Auburn 2-1 Saturday to win its second straight girls state soccer championship.
    The Lady Eagles (24-3-1) of Coach David DiPiazza won the 6A state crown in 2014 and won in the AHSAA’s first-ever Class 7A state championship match on Saturday at Huntsville’s John Hunt Soccer Complex.
     Auburn (17-1-1) pushed Oak Mountain to the limit, however, tying the match 1-1 in regulation and then forcing two scoreless overtimes before falling 3-1 in the shootout.
    After Shelby Wall made Auburn’s first shot on goal, Eagle senior goalkeeper Katie Denney blocked three straight Auburn kicks to seal the win. In the meantime, Oak Mountain made its first three tries with Alexandra Dunn, Nealy Martin and Julia Pack each scoring on their tries.
       Denney, named the Class 7A championship match MVP, finished with five saves.
       Pack scored the first goal of the match at 54:47 in the second half to give Oak Mountain a 1-0 lead. Her shot was set up by Julia Buckner’s assist.  Auburn, coached by Chris Blight, tied the match just 21 seconds later when Abby Meadows delivered on a direct kick.
     Oak Mountain has now won three girls’ state soccer titles – all coming in the last four years.