MONTGOMERY – The North swept the South 9-3 and 3-2 Tuesday night at Riverwalk Stadium to sweep the all-star baseball competition at the 21st AHSAA All-Star Sports Week.
North-South All-Star competition in softball and boys’ and girls’ soccer was also underway Tuesday night. Boys’ and girls’ cross country, added to the all-star slate this year by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) , will compete on the campus of Auburn University-Montgomery at 7:30 Wednesday morning, and the North-South boys’ and girls’ basketball games will be played at 6 and 8 p.m. at AUM Wednesday night.
North-South volleyball competition will commence at 4 p.m. Thursday at AUM. The 58th North-South Football Game will close out the week of competition Thursday night at 7 at Cramton Bowl.
Outfielder Garrett Bodine of Sparkman had a triple and single and two RBIs in game one for the North and had a game-winning sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh inning of game two to plate the game-winning run. The North trailed 2-1 heading into the final inning of game two but scored twice to take lead. Winning pitcher Christian MacLeod of Huntsville closed out the game facing six batters in the final two innings. He struck out two.
Carson Skipper of Hewitt-Trussville hurled the first three innings for the North while Will Morrison of Cullman and Brody Syer of Oxford combined with MacLeod to limit the South to just three hits overall.
Drew Jennings of Auburn, Joey Wozniak of Northview and Jonah Smith of Sweet Water allowed just three hits combined over the first six innings and struck out six as each hurler worked two innings apiece. Ethan Wilson of Andalusia pitched the final inning and got the loss.
Smith had a double and RBI for the South in game two and Jon Horton of Hale County singled and scored a run.
Catcher Clay Stearns of Mountain Brook had a single and RBI to pace the North.
Calera 6-foot-7 left-hander Jacob Smith hurled the first three innings in game one allowing two hits, two unearned runs and striking out six to get the win. Smith, Hogan Isbell of Colbert County and Garrett Wade of Hartselle combined to strike out 11.
Gabe Shepard of Faith Academy pitched the third inning giving up three runs to get the loss for the South. Starter Herndon Akridge of St. Paul’s Episcopal hurled two innings allowing two hits, two unearned runs and struck out two. McGill-Toolen Catholic’s Eric Toth and Brayden Baggett of Marbury also pitched for the South. Baggett faced just three batters in one inning of work striking out one.
Oneonta’s Brody Moore, son of North Coach Brandon Moore, had two hits, including a double, and two RBIs to pace the North. Garrett Bodine of Sparkman added a triple and single, scored twice and drove in two runs and picked up a run scored and RBI in game two to earn MVP honors for the North. Pelham catcher Will Pearce walked with the bases loaded and finished with two RBIs.
South catcher Slade Gorman of Central-Phenix City and Goshen center fielder Cory Peterson each had one hit and one RBI. Tyler Robertson of Saint James had a hit in each game and played four positions in the field (second base, third base, left and center field) to earn South MVP honors.
Coaches for the South were Chad Smith of LAMP and Tyler Dent of Andalusia. Moore and David Deerman of Jacksonville coached the North.
ALL-STAR PLAYER CHANGES: McKenzie High School wide receiver/defensive back Chris Shuford was added to the South All-Star football roster Monday night and joined the team for practice Tuesday. He will be wearing jersey No. 10 in Thursday night’s 58th North-South Football Game at Cramton Bowl. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
SEC BASKETBALL COACHES HIGHLIGHT COACHING SCHOOL: The AHSAA Summer Conference’s Coaching School moves into full swing Wednesday with football, basketball, track & field, wrestling, volleyball and cheerleading getting underway. University of Alabama men’s coach Avery Johnson, Auburn coach Bruce Pearl and Georgia coach Mark Fox, plus 2017 ACC Coach of the Year Josh Pastner of Georgia Tech, headline the basketball clinician list for Wednesday.
Some of the state’s top high school football coaches will address the large contingent of AHSAA member school football coaches. Paul Benefield, 77-6 in this decade for the Fyffe Red Devils, will discuss how to succeed with two-way players. The Class 2A defending state champs finished 15-0 last season outscoring opponents 700-113. Benefield is 255-52 and has never had a losing season in 26 years as a head coach. Fred Yancey, who has compiled a 255-91 record at Briarwood and is 296-111-1, will discuss “Being a Professional at all Times.”
FCA LUNCHEON FEATURES DAN REEVES: Former Denver Broncos head football coach Dan Reeves will be the keynote speaker at Thursday’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes Luncheon at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center at noon. The luncheon is free to attendees but is by reservation only.
NFHS NETWORK: All all-star competition will be webcast live over the NFHS TV Network. Links and instructions on how to subscribe can be found at www.ahsaa.com. The All-Star Football Game will also be broadcast live by the AHSAA Radio Network.
The NFHS Network will start a special live-stream series entitled “30 Plays in 30 Days” over the NFHS Network featuring a top highlight from around the country each day beginning July 19. The AHSAA will will be featured throughout the 30 days – including Wednesday, August 4, August 6, August 13, August 14, and August 17. The schools featured will include Briarwood Christian, Blount, Prattville, Gadsden City, Madison Academy and Russellville.
AHSAA SUMMER CONFERENCE APP: The week’s festivities can be found on the new AHSAA Mobile App, which can be downloaded free at Apple and Google stores online or by going to the following link: https://admin.mycaboodleevents.com/event/detail/79/ahsaa-2017-ahsaa-summer-conference
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.
ASWA SUPER 10 VOTING
(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
MR. BASEBALL WINNERS
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
MISS SOFTBALL WINNERS
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