G.W. Long 13, Mars Hill Bible 7
MONTGOMERY – G.W. Long battled from a 7-1 deficit in the championship game to beat Mars Hill Bible 13-7 as the Rebels claimed the 2018 AHSAA Class 2A State Softball championship. The state title also gave the school a sweep in Montgomery since the G.W. Long boys won the Class 2A state baseball crown, ironically, over Mars Hill Bible, earlier in the week.
Junior pitcher Libby Baker, the Class 2A state tourney MVP, supplied the power with two home runs and three RBIs for Long. Her two-run blast highlighted a seven-run fourth inning that gave the Lady Rebels (35-14) the lead for good 8-7.
Coach Nikki Long’s team rolled through the 2A state tourney undefeated with wins over Leroy 4-1, Lamar County 15-8 and Mars Hill Bible 5-2 in the winner’s bracket finals. Coach Matt Burgess’ Mars Hill girls downed Thorsby 11-0 and Reeltown 4-0 before falling to the loser’s bracket. The Panthers (45-16) beat Reeltown 9-3 to advance to the championship game.
G.W. Long had 10 hits in the finals with Kenzi Payne, Savanna Wood and Dallas Potter collecting two hits each. Potter also had a homer, had two RBIs and scored three times. Payne, Wood and Emmaline Hughes each added two RBIs.
Mars Hill scored all its runs in the first three innings off Baker, who allowed 10 hits, walked eight and struck out eight. Faith Stanford got the loss for the Panthers. Annah Steadhman collected a double and single to drive in three runs for Mars Hill. Riley Vaughn also had a double and two RBIs, and Kayla Thigpen had two hits and scored twice.
The state title was the first in school history for G.W. Long.
CLASS 2A ALL-STATE TOURNEY TEAM
Libby Baker, G.W. Long (MVP); Kenzi Payne, G.W. Long; Savanna Wood, G.W. Long; Emmaline Hughes, G.W. Long; Erika Mitchell, Mars Hill Bible; Riley Vaughn, Mars Hill Bible; Annah Steadman, Mars Hill Bible; Allie Mitchell, Mars Hill Bible.
Hartselle 6, Saraland 5 (8 innings)
Hale County 13, Wilson 2
MONTGOMERY – Hale County downed Wilson 13-2 in the 2018 AHSAA Class 4A State Softball Tournament at Lagoon Park Friday night to win its fourth state championship since 2014.
Coach Lori Wyatt’s team scored five runs in the second inning and four each in the third aknd fourth innings to beat the Warriors (49-5) of Coach Laura Jo McFall. Wilson forced the final game after emerging from the loser’s bracket to beat Hale County 10-7 to force the second game of the finals.
Freshman pitcher Emily LaFoy allowed five hits, walked one and struck out two in the final game to get the win for Hale County (37-18). She was named MVP of the Class 4A state tourney. Senior teammate Olivia McCray had a triple and double and drove in four runs for the Wildcats. Kayla Wyatt had a triple and single and scored twice, Savanna Holmes had one hit and three RBIs, LaFoy had one hit and three runs scored for the winners.
Johnna Staggs started and got the loss for Wilson. McKenzie Walker had a double and Staggs had an RBI to pace the Warriors.
Hale County, which won three state titles in a row from 2014-16, also downed Alabama Christian 1-0, Wilson 18-11 and North Jackson 15-9 in the winner’s bracket.
The Warriors opened with a 5-2 victory over Cherokee County, then moved to the loser’s bracket after the second-round loss to Hale County. Wilson then beat Cordova 10-2, Alabama Christian 7-3 and North Jackson 11-5 before beating the Wildcats 10-7 to force the final game.
The AHSAA 24th annual fast-pitch state tourney will conclude Saturday with Classes 2A and 6A finals set for 2 p.m. The NFHS Network will be live-streaming both over the NFHS Network. Go to www.nfhsnetwork.com to access or subscribe.
CLASS 4A ALL-TOURNEY TEAM
Emily LaFoy, Hale County (MVP); Savanna Holmes, Hale County; Madalynn Langham, Hale County; Olivia McCray, Hale County; Johnna Staggs, Wilson; Taylor Brown, Wilson; Karlee Liverett, Wilson; Sidney Bevis, Wilson; Josie Thompson, North Jackson.
Prattville Christian 7, Geneva 1
Fairhope 8, Spain Park 6
Springville 3, Moody 0
Brantley 5, Sumiton Christian 1
MONTGOMERY – Brantley senior pitcher Leanna Johnson hurled a two-hitter and struck out 10 in the championship game of the AHSAA’s 24th annual State Fast-Pitch Softball Championship’s Class 1A competition and the Lady Bulldogs beat defending state champion Sumiton Christian 5-1.
The championship for Coach Cindy Hawthorne’s girls was the fourth in the last five years. Brantley won the 1A title in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Sumiton, which won the 2A championship in 2015 and 2016, won the 1A crown last year.
Johnson earned MVP honors as Brantley (53-4) went 4-0 at Lagoon Park Wednesday and Thursday. The Bulldogs opened with a 10-0 win over Isabella, an 8-0 triumph over South Lamar and a 3-0 win the Sumiton in the winner’s bracket finals. The Eagles (39-22) beat Sweet Water (27-14) 12-1 in the consolation bracket finals to set up the championship game with the Bulldogs. The Eagles and Bulldogs met in the first round with Sumiton winning 5-4 innings.
The Eagles scored in the top of the first inning in the finals – the only run allowed by Brantley all tourney, when Amber Hayes led off the game with a solo home run. Johnson only allowed on other hit, a single by Taylor Whisonant.
Brantley took the lead with in the bottom of the fourth off Eagles hurler Anna Calloway with two runs. The Bulldogs added two more in the fifth and one in the sixth – all on home runs. Hannah Sims slugged a homer in the fourth, Kayden Dunn had two-run blast in the fifth and Olivia Jones had a solo homer in the sixth. Kassidy Wilcox finished with three hits for Brantley.
CLASS 1A ALL-TOURNEY TEAM
Leanna Johnson, Brantley (MVP); Anna Katherine Kimbro, Brantley; Kassidy Wilcox, Brantley; Hannah Sims, Brantley; Taylor Whisonant, Sumiton Christian; Amber Hayes, Sumiton Christian; Anna Calloway, Sumiton Christian; Eve Myers, Sweet Water.
MONTGOMERY – Baker High School has self-reported a violation of AHSAA eligibility rules and has voluntarily removed its softball team from the South Regional Qualifier tournament.
A student-athlete in Baker’s softball program participated in eight tournaments, junior varsity and varsity combined, during the 2018 regular season exceeding the maximum tournaments allowed in violation of AHSAA rules found on page 44 of the 2017-18 AHSAA Handbook, Rule III, Contests, Section 13, Contest/Tournament limitations.
The rule states: A student may participate in the number of contests his/her team is permitted to play in that sport. If a student participates on more than one level of competition in the same sport during the same season, the maximum number of contests that the student may participate in is the number of contests his/her highest-level team is permitted to play.
Schools are permitted to play (a maximum) 18 regular-season games and in seven tournaments prior to area, sub-regional, regional and State Finals play. Consequently, the student-athlete participated ineligibly in Class 7A, Area 1 tournament and one game in the South Regional Softball Tournament. BHS must forfeit all games won in which the ineligible student participated. The season has now ended for the softball team.
MONTGOMERY -- All-star squads for the 2018 All-Star Sports Week’s North-South girls’ fast-pitch softball games have been selected.
A total of 36 outstanding juniors--18 on each team--were chosen from nominations submitted by high school coaches from across the state to participate at the 22th annual AHSAA Summer Conference and AHSADCA All-Star Games competition in Montgomery July 17 -- 19, according to an announcement by Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
The North-South softball doubleheader will be at Lagoon Park Tuesday, July 17, with the first game set for 6 p.m. The second game will following 30 minutes after its conclusion at approximately 8 p.m.
Coaching the South team is Mark Eubanks of Jeff Davis and Todd Clements of Eufaula. Susan Barnes of Elba is the administrative coach. North coaches are Ann Welsh of Spring Garden and Al Rauls of Buckhorn. Kent Chambers of Bob Jones is the administrative coach. Rauls, who led the Lady Bucks to the Class 7A state crown last season, was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame last March in the Class of 2018.
In last year’s all-star competition, the North won game one 12-6 and the South won the nightcap 11-1. The North holds a 25-10-3 edged in the series that was first played in 1997.
The AHSADCA All-Star Games also include in-state games in baseball, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ basketball, volleyball, boys’ and girls’ cross country and football. The 59th North-South All-Star football game will close out the all-star competition Thursday night, July 19, 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 2017-18 school year and the Championship Coaches Awards Banquet that includes the naming of the 2018 Making A Difference Award recipients, 2017-18 Coaches of the Year and the AHSADCA Athletic Director of the Year. Both banquets will be Friday, July 20.
Concluding the week will be the annual Officials Awards luncheon set for Saturday, July 21.
The softball rosters:
2018 North-South Softball Teams
G. W. Long
Elba - Admin.
Hillcrest - Tusc
Brylie St. Clair
Bob Jones - Admin.
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:
IN THE CLUTCH
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.
RILEY VAUGHN, MARS HILL BIBLE: 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.