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North Wins 12-4, 4-1 to Capture North-South Softball All-Star Games

   MONTGOMERY – The North, coached by Hayden’s John Simmons and Pleasant Valley’s David Bryant, pounded 19 hits in two games Tuesday night to sweep the 20th AHSAA North-South All-Star Softball competition hosted since 1997 annually by the AHSADCA as part of the AHSAA Summer Conference and All-Star Week.
    Kiara Akles of Cleburne County had a double, one RBI and scored a run in game one’s 12-4 victory and was the starting pitcher in a 4-1 victory in game two hurling three strong innings allowing three hits, one run and striking out three to get the win. She also slugged a double.
    Layton Murphy of Marbury earned South MVP honors. She started and got the loss in game two despite pitching three strong innings. She allowed three hits, one earned run and struck six. Murphy also hurled two scoreless innings in game one with one hit allowed and three strikeouts.
    Destinee Cole of Pinson Valley had two hits and two RBIs for the North in the nightcap.  Delaney Thomas of Baker had a single and RBI and Hannah Dailey of St. James had a double for the South.
    The North scored five runs in the top of the second inning in game one to take command en route to the 12-4 win.  Briana Chappell of Tuscaloosa County slugged a double and single and drove in two runs in the win. Alaina Hampton of Coosa Christian had a double and two RBIs. Abbey Latham of Demopolis slammed a solo homer for the South, coached by Rachael McClure of Prattville and Barry Roberts of Robertsdale.  O’Neil Roberson of Oak Mountain also had a single and two RBIs.
    Winnie pitcher Annie Willis of Westminster Christian started and pitched three innings, striking out three and allowing three hits.  Cydney Sizemore of Dothan got the loss.
    The North improved to 24-9-3 in the series with the sweep.

Brantley’s Alex Wilcox Receives Jimmy Smothers Courage Award Cullman’s Owen Lovell, Curry’s Ashlee Swindle Named ASWA Mr. Baseball & Miss Softball for 2016

      BIRMINGHAM – The Alabama Sports Writers Association named Cullman’s Owen Lovell the 2016 Mr. Baseball Award recipient and Curry’s Ashlee Swindle captured the 206 Miss Softball Award during Sunday’s annual banquet.

       The ASWA also honored Brantley softball player Alex Wilcox with the inaugural Jimmy Smothers Courage Award. Smothers, the long-time sports editor of the Gadsden Times and much loved leader in the ASWA for more than 50 years, died in the past year. He was inducted into the ASWA Hall of Fame, the AHSAA Sports Hall of Fame and the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

        Lovell helped Cullman to the Class 6A state finals this season batting .392 with 14 home runs, 64 RBIs, 24 stolen bases and 15 doubles. The junior center fielder and Alabama commitment also pitched 51 innings compiling a 7-1 record with 63 strikeouts, three shutouts and a 1.51 ERA.
        Lovell heads the Super All-State team and is joined by Florence’s Brax Garrett, last year’s Mr. Baseball recipient and second to Lovell in the 2016 balloting. Garrett, a left-handed pitcher, was the highest drafted selection from the state in the 2016 Professional Baseball Draft. He was selected in the first round by the Miami Marlins as the seventh pick overall. Also named to the Super All-State squad were Decatur’s Tanner Burns, Sparkman’s Brock Anderson, Russellville’s Judd Ward, Vestavia Hills’ Sonny Potter, American Christian’s Deacon Medders, UMS-Wright’s Tanner Allen, Helena’s Sam Praytor and Corner’s Jackson Tavel.
        Auburn signee Swindle (45-2) led Curry to its second straight Class 4A softball championship in 2016. The 2015 title was the first of any kind in school history. She pitched 262 2/3 of the team’s 285 total innings this season, striking out 385 and walking 34 while allowing only 22 earned runs for an 0.59 ERA. Opponents batted .132 with a .169 on-base percentage, managing only 123 hits in 973 batters faced.

         Swindle posted the best numbers of her career at the plate, batting .557 with 13 home runs and team best 86 RBIs. She headlines the ASWA 2016 Super All-State softball team. Also named to the squad by th state’s sportswriters were Brantley’s Alex Wilcox, Sumiton Christian’s Kendall Beth Sides and Jenna Ergle, Spain Park’s Mary Katherine Tedder, Elmore County’s Elissa Brown, Baker’s Victoria Ortiz, Demopolis’ Abby Latham, Cullman’s Claire Jenkins and Macon-East’s Paxton Searle of the AISA.

         Lovell is the 18th Mr. Baseball and second Cullman player to win the award after Keegan Thompson was named the 2013 recipient. No player has repeated as Mr. Baseball, and it’s the first time any school has produced multiple winners.

         Swindle is the 14th Miss Softball and first Curry player to earn the honor. Grissom’s Anna Thompson is the only two-time Miss Softball winner, earning the award in 2004 and 2006. Pisgah, Hueytown and Baker have had multiple winners in the 14-year history of the award. Pisgah’s Holly Currie won the first Miss Softball award in 2003 and Shelby Holley won in 2011. Hueytown’s Lindsey Dunlap won in 2008 and Leigh Streetman in 2010 while Baker’s Tara Donaldson won in 2005 and Lacey Sumerlin in 2015.
        Brantley’s Wilcox was diagnosed with ovarian cancer on Christmas Day and fought through nine weeks of chemotherapy, missing only about nine games during the Bulldogs’ run to their third straight Class 1A championship. She’s the ASWA Class 1A Hitter and Player of the Year and was selected to the Super All-State team, finishing second to Swindle in Miss Softball voting.

 

2016 ASWA Super All-State Baseball Team

Mr. Baseball: Owen Lovell, Cullman

Brax Garrett, Florence

Tanner Burns, Decatur

Brock Anderson, Sparkman

Judd Ward, Russellville

Sonny Potter, Vestavia Hills

Deacon Medders, American Christian

Tanner Allen, UMS-Wright

Sam Praytor, Helena

Jackson Tavel, Corner

 

ASWA Mr. Baseball Winners

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 Christian

2005: Colby Rasmus, Russell County

2004: Patrick White, Daphne

2003: Joey Doan, Baker

2002: Allen Ponder, Lee-Scott Academy

2001: Eric West, Southside-Gadsden

2000: Wade Miller, G.W. Long

1999: Matthew Maniscalco, Oxford

 

2016 ASWA Super All-State Softball Team

Miss Softball: Ashlee Swindle, Curry

Alex Wilcox, Brantley

Kendall Beth Sides, Sumiton Christian

Mary Katherine Tedder, Spain Park

Jenna Ergle, Sumiton Christian

Elissa Brown, Elmore County

Victoria Ortiz, Baker

Abby Latham, Demopolis

Claire Jenkins, Cullman

 

ASWA Miss Softball Winners

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


Class 7A Softball Championships Sparkman Wins State Title with 9-2 Win over Spain Park

      MONTGOMERY – Sparkman High School pitcher Lily Calvert pitched 6 1/3 inning in relief to get the win Saturday afternoon as the Lady Senators beat Spain Park 9-2 in the AHSAA Class 7A State Softball Tournament finals at Lagoon Park.
     The championship was the sixth for Sparkman since 2006 – but the first in Class 7A.
     Kailey Stoker started for the Senators but Palmer brought in Calvert after two runs had scored in the first inning of the finals.  She got out of the jam and blanked the Jaguars of Coach C.J. Hawkins on five hits and struck out six before yielding to Paige Bannerman in the seventh to get the final out.
    Stoker and Mackenzie Nutt each slugged homers and drove in two runs for Sparkman.  Taylor Davis had two singles and scored three runs, and Calvert had two hits and three RBIs. The Senators scored three runs in the first inning, four in the third and two in the fourth.
    Spain Park got two hits each from Julianna Cross, Destini England and Kynadi Tipler.
    Annabelle Widra went five innings, allowed four hits and struck out four to get the loss.
    Sparkman won all four games at Lagoon Park in the 7A tourney beating Auburn (6-1), Spain Park (7-0), Vestavia Hillls (13-3) and Spain Park in the finals.
    The Jags beat Fairhope in round one, was sent to the loser’s bracket by Sparkman and then beat Central-Phenix City, James Clemens and Vestavia Hills to reach the championship game.

Class 6A Softball Championships Chelsea beats Oxford 3-1 in finals

     MONTGOMERY – Winning pitcher Sarah Cespedes hurled a complete-game four-hitter and struck out four to lead Chelsea to a 3-1 win over Area 10 rival Oxford  Friday night in the finals of the 2016 Class 6A State Softball Championships played at Lagoon Park.
     The Hornets (23-14) of Coach Russell McCartey went undefeated with four straight wins including identical 3-1 wins over Oxford  in the winner’s bracket finals and the championship game.
     Oxford led 1-0 after one inning when Taylor Ellison singled and scored on Sarah Howell’s single.   Chelsea tied the score in the top of fourth when one run and sealed the victory with two runs in the top of the seventh on Mallory Bradford’s home run.
      Alex Smithson added three hits, including a double, and scored a run. Tristan Ziannis also had two hits and Lexi Preisendorfer had one hit and an RBI.
     Howell had two hits and Oxford’s only run batted in.
    Chelsea beat Dothan (6-2), Southside-Gadsden (6-3) and Oxford twice to win its first state title since 2012.

Class 3A Softball Championships Hale County Repeats as 3A State Champs

      MONTGOMERY – Hale County High School downed Pisgah 6-2 Saturday afternoon at Lagoon Park in the finals of the 2016 AHSAA Class 3A State Softball Tournament to win the Wildcats’ third straight state championship.
     Sophomore Savanna Holmes hurled the complete-game championship game victory allowing nine hits, two runs and striking out four to get the win.  Harley Stokes slammed a two-run homer in the bottom of the third to spark a five-run inning as Coach Lori Wyatt’s team took control 5-0.
    The Wildcats got seven hits off Pisgah pitchers Stephanie Schoonover and Leigha Kirby with junior Charlsey Payne collecting two RBIs and one hit. Madalynn Langham also had a double and single for Hale County.
    Pisgah got two hits each from Hannahstaysia Weaver, Macy Anderson and Kennedy Barron. Annie Hughes also had a single and RBI for the Coach Billy Duncan’s Eagles have won eight state titles with the last one coming in 2013 – the year before Hale County started its current run.
   Hale County met Pisgah in the first round of the state tournament winning 4-0. The Wildcats also beat Slocomb (7-2) and Dale County (9-2) to set up the final win over the Eagles.
    Pisgah won four straight games in the loser’s bracket to reach the finals. The Eagles had wins over Oakman, Plainview, Prattville Christian and Dale County.

Class 2A Softball Championships Sumiton Christian Wins State Crown over Ider

MONTGOMERY – Class 2A State Tournament MVP Kamree Lay scattered five hits and struck out six in a 9-3 win over Ider to lead Sumiton Christian to the AHSAA Class 2A State Softball championship at Lagoon Park Friday night.
    The Eagles, coached by Jessica Aderholt, went 4-0 in the 2016 State Tourney at Montgomery beating G.W. Long (8-2), Mars Hill Bible (9-6 in 11 innings), Ider (5-2 in eight innings) and finally the 9-3 victory over the Hornets in the championship game.
     Ider, coached by David Hughes, beat Horseshoe Bend (9-1), Mobile Christian (3-1) and G.W. Long (2-1) to set up the finals.
     Sumiton Christian pounded 14 hits with Lay going 4-for-4 with a run scored and two RBIs. Holly Murray and Abbie Brewster each had two hits, Jenna Ergle had two doubles and Savannah Langston had two hits.
     Shelby Hawkins had two hits, losing pitcher Kayla Norman had an RBI single, Kaylan Brown drove in two runs and Morgan Flynn had a double for Ider.
     The state title was the third for Sumiton Christian, winning in 2010 and 2015.
     Named to the Class 2A All-Tourney Team were: Kamree Lay, Sumiton Christian (MVP); Jenna Ergle, Kendell Beth Sides and Holly Murray, Sumiton Christian; MaKenzie Hughes, Kayla Norman, Crystal McElhaney and Shelby Hawkins, Ider; Lohgan Cripple, G.W. Long; Abbi Gooch, Mars Hill Bible; and Kennedy Ward, Mobile Christian.

AHSAA STATE SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS DAY 1

CLASS 5A: Springville 6, Helena 2
   
Defending state champion Springville lost its first-round game to Beauregard 4-1, then clawed out of loser’s bracket by winning six straight games to claim the AHSAA Class 5A state softball championship Thursday night at Lagoon Park.
    The Lady Tigers (40-13) of Coach Chris Williams rebounded to beat Russellville (13-3), Rehobeth (3-2), Alexandria (9-0) and Marbury (5-0) to set up a showdown with winner’s bracket champion Helena (32-17). Springville won 6-3 in the finals to set up a second game in the double elimination tourney. The Lady Tigers scored six runs in the last two innings to win the state title over the Huskies 6-2.
    Winning pitcher Abby Swaney scattered seven hits and struck out three to get the win. Lead-off hitter Meg Sullivan slugged a two-run homer, Hanna Walker had one hit and two RBIs, Kaylee Chapman had three hits with a double and two runs scored, and Piper Long also had two hits or Springville.
    Helen’s Mekhi Mayfield had a double and single and Reagan Curtis had two hits for Coach Heidi Kouveras’ Huskies. Avery Barnett pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowed nine hits and struck out one to get the championship game loss.

CLASS 4A: Curry 5, LAMP 0
   
Curry (44-4), coached by Phillip Smith, outscored four opponents 26-2 en route to the school’s first Class 4A state softball championship Thursday night at Lagoon Park. The Yellow Jackets beat LAMP of Montgomery 5-0 in the championship game as Class 4A tourney MVP Ashlee Swindle hurled a five-hit shutout and struck out 12. She walked only one.
    Swindle also slugged a two-run homer. Teammates Emily Aaron and Justus Perry also hit solo homers for the hard-hitting Jackets.  Reagan Watkins had one hit at the plate and pitched 4 1/3 innings to get the final-game loss.
     Curry went 4-0 in the state tourney beating Montgomery-Catholic (11-1), Handley (9-1) and Central-Florence (1-0) to reach the finals.  LAMP (44-6), coached by Anthony Norris, beat Carbon Hill (8-2), then lost to Central Florence (3-2) before battling out of the loser’s bracket with wins over Montgomery Catholic (1-0), Handley (3-1) and Central-Florence (5-2) to reach the championship game.
     Joining Swindle on the 4A All-Tourney Team were Perry, Aaron and Kaylee Horton of Curry, Watkins, Madison Lockwood and Courtney Ray of LAMP, Laken Distenfano of Central-Florence, Loni Veal, Handley, and Michaelyn Foster, Montgomery Catholic.

 

  • CLASS 1A: Brantley 5, Billingsley 1
       
    Brantley (37-10), coached by Cindy Hawthorne, avenged an earlier loss to Billingsley in the winner’s bracket finals to beat the Bears 5-1 to win the Bulldogs’ third straight AHSAA Class 1A state softball championship Thursday night at Lagoon Park.
         Leanna Johnson hurled a 3-hitter and struck out four to get the championship game win. Brantley came out of the loser’s bracket also beat Billingsley 4-1 to force the final game in the double-elimination tournament.
        Class 1A State Tourney MVP Alex Wilcox and Kassidy Wilcox each had a double and two-run homers to drive in all five runs for Brantley in the finals. Alex Wilcox had three RBIs.  Hannah Sims also had two hits.
        Billingsley (18-15), coached by J.T. Lawrence, sent Brantley to the loser’s bracket with a 1-0 win. The Bears also beat Decatur Heritage (6-5) and Ragland (8-1) to reach the championship.  Katlyn Childress pitched a complete game allowing seven hits and striking out six to get the championship game loss.  Kenzie Glass drove in Billingsley’s only run with a double in the second inning.
        Named to the Class 1A All-Tourney Team were: Olivia Jones, Brantley; Kassidy Wilcox, Brantley; Leanna Johnson, Brantley; Jessica Smart, Spring Garden; Emma Newman, South Lamar; Madison Motley, Billingsley; Casey Headly, Billingsley; Kelsie Elrod, Billingsley; Katlyn Childress, Billingsley.

2016 North-South Softball & Baseball All-Star Teams Announced

MONTGOMERY -- All-star squads for the 2016 North-South boys’ baseball games and the North-South girls’ softball contests have been selected.
     A total of 72 outstanding juniors--18 on each team--were chosen from nominations submitted by high school coaches from across the state to participate at the 20th annual AHSAA Summer Conference and AHSADCA All-Star Games competition in Montgomery July 18-22, according to an announcement by Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
     The North-South baseball doubleheader will be at Riverwalk Stadium on Tuesday, July 19, with the first game set for 4 p.m. The second game will following 30 minutes after its conclusion at approximately 6:30 p.m.  Lagoon Park will host the North-South softball all-star games at 6 and 8 p.m., respectively, on the same day.
     The AHSADCA All-Star Games also include in-state games in soccer, boys’ and girls’ basketball, volleyball and football. The 56th North-South All-Star football game will be played Thursday night, July 21, 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 2015-16 school year and the Championship Coaches Awards Banquet that includes the naming of the 2015-16 Making A Difference Award Recipients ,Coaches of the Year and the AHSADCA Athletic Director of the Year. Both banquets will be Friday, July 22.
      Concluding the week will be the annual Officials Awards Banquet set for Saturday, July 23, at noon.
      Coaches for the North Softball All-Stars are John Simmons of Hayden and David Bryant of Pleasant Valley.  Kent Chambers of Bob Jones is the administrative coach. South coaches are Rachael McClure of Prattville and Barry Roberts of Robertsdale. Elba’s Susan Barnes is administrative coach.
     Coaching the South Baseball All-Stars are Owen Davis of Daphne, Matt Ream of Rehobeth, Michael Dismukes of Holtville and Evan Braun of Beauregard. Ken Whittle of Trinity Presbyterian will serve as administrative coach. North coaches include Lee Hall of Randolph, Josh Fowler of Muscle Shoals, Shelton Stalls of Moody and Will Smith of Spain Park. Keith Lucky of Saint James is administrative coach.
     In last year’s softball competition, the South won the first game 4-3 and the North the nightcap 1-0. The North leads the series 23-10-3.
      In the 2015 baseball competition the North won 6-2, 6-3 to sweep the series and extend its series record to 20-11-1. Both all-star competitions began in 1997.   
The rosters are below.

2016 SOFTBALL ALL-STAR ROSTERS


 





NORTH ALL-STARS







Player

School

Pos.

Ht.

Kiara Akles

Cleburne County

P/3B

5'4

Alysia Anderson

Clements

SS

5'2

Shelby Booker

James Clemens

3B

5'1

Briana Chappell

Tuscaloosa County

1B/OF

5'9

Destinee Cole

Pinson Valley

SS

5'8

Kalli Daniel

Russellville

SS

5'6

Laken Distefano

Central - Florence

P

6'0

Zoie Emrick

Buckhorn

P

5'5

Alaina Hampton

Coosa Christian

C/SS

5'10

Brooke Ingram

Fort Payne

OF

5'3

Timberlyn Shurbutt

Alexandria

SS

5'5

Kendall Sides

Sumiton Christian

CF

5'7

Chandler Sparkman

Decatur Heritage

P/IF

5'10

Kailey Stoker

Sparkman

P/OF

5'4

Mary Katherine Tedder

Spain Park

SS/2B

5'8

Abby Tissier

Hoover

C

5'8

Rylee Waldrep

Oxford

P

5'5

Annie Willis

Westminster Christian

P

5'11

COACHES








John Simmons

Hayden



David Bryant

Pleasant Valley



Kent Chambers

Bob Jones (Administrative)










SOUTH ALL-STARS







Player

School

Pos.

Ht.

Josie Page

Washington County

SS

5'6

Hailee Powell

Faith Academy

C

5'4

Mallory Druhan

Spanish Fort

SS

5'5

Delaney Thomas

Baker

2B

5'6

Alex Wilcox

Brantley

P

5'10

Talia Truitt

Rehobeth

OF

5'4

Cydney Sizemore

Dothan

P

5'3

Amya Myhand

Northview

OF

5'4

Shelbie Burbage

Prattville Christian

SS

5'3

Reagan Watkins

Lamp

P

5'7

Hannah Dailey

Saint James

3B

5'8

Schylur Edwards

Alabama Christian

OF

5'7

Abbey Latham

Demopolis

C

6'0

Layton Murphy

Marbury

P

5'3

Katie Young

Opelika

2B

5'2

Kelsie Cornelius

Wetumpka

C

5'10

O'Neil Roberson

Oak Mountain

1B

5'8

Bailie Barnes

Beauregard

P

5'10









COACHES








Rachael McClure

Prattville



Barry Roberts

Robertsdale



Susan Barnes

Elba (Administrative)

 

2016 BASEBALL ALL-STAR ROSTERS








NORTH ALL-STARS









Player

School

Pos.

Ht.

Wt.

Manning Early

Gardendale

IF

5'11

165

Cameron Furr

Hewitt-Trussville

P

6'2

195

Will Battersby

Spain Park

P / OF

6'2

175

Luke Murphy

Fayetteville

C

5'6

205

Taylor Hayes

Piedmont

P / OF

5'11

205

Nick Swisher

Moody

IF

6'0

190

Nate Lloyd

Oxford

IF

5'10

175

Koy Chapman

Gordo

IF

5'11

175

Hunter Hill

Deshler

C

5'11

180

Cody Greenhill

Russellville

P

6'3

205

Grayson Wakefield

Decatur Heritage

P

6'0

165

Carson Hall

Randolph

P

6'0

175

Owen Lovell

Cullman

OF

6'4

225

Tanner Burns

Decatur

P

6'0

205

Drew Talley

Huntsville

P

6'2

175

Jordan Anderson

James Clemens

OF

6'1

195

Jared Howell

Sparkman

C

5'11

185

Caden Lemons

Vestavia Hills

P

6'5

175






COACHES










Lee Hall

Randolph




Josh Fowler

Muscle Shoals




Shelton Stalls

Moody




Will Smith

Spain Park




Keith Lucky

Saint James (Administrative)

SOUTH ALL-STARS









Player

School

Pos.

Ht.

Wt.

Joseph Booker

Miller, T. R.

P

6'2

190

Thomas Brittain

Miller, T. R.

C

5'11

180

Chad Bryant

Thomasville

P

6'0

200

Tanner Allen

UMS-Wright

P

6'0

175

Sam Plash

UMS-Wright

1st

6'3

234

Christian Waltman

Faith Academy

C

6'0

185

Hayden Maxey

Davidson

SS

5'10

160

Leslie Thompson

McGill-Toolen

OF

6'2

175

Jacob Free

Brantley

P

6'4

208

Grant Akridge

Elba

OF

6'4

220

MacKenzie Hicks

Long, G. W.

IF

5'10

175

Jack Knight

Rehobeth

P

6'2

220

Santiago Garcia

Enterprise

C

5'10

205

Will Huckabee

Sweet Water

OF

6'3

195

Brady Greene

Saint James

P

6'2

190

Rodricues Williams

Tallassee

P

5'8

160

William Jordan

Auburn

SS

5'10

165

Evan Baber

Central - Phenix City

SS

5'10

180











COACHES










Owen Davis

Daphne




Matt Ream

Rehobeth




Michael Dismukes

Holtville




Evan Braun

Beauregard




Ken Whittle

Trinity (Administrative)




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.