By Chris McCarthy/Editor
A pair of standout pitchers who consistently helped their cause at the plate highlight the 2016 All-Messenger high school softball team.
In being major factors in their teams advancing to the state tournament, Southside junior Savanna Yancey and Etowah senior Madison Grant are the team’s co-Players of the Year.
Taking over as the ace of the pitching staff this season after Claire Graves graduated and signed a softball scholarship with Troy University, Yancey finished with 250 strikeouts, a 2.13 earned run average and a 34-9-2 record in 207 innings. She also hit .357 with 51 hits, 44 RBI, 16 runs and seven home runs.
As a pitcher, Grant had 232 strikeouts and 1.91 ERA while holding opponents to a .200 batting average. She batted .457 with 51 RBI, eight home runs and 25 doubles.
The above players’ coaches also received high honors, as Southside’s Angie Sanders and Etowah’s Stephen Coggins are the co-Coaches of the Year.
A year after Southside came one run shy of winning a state championship, Sanders guided the 2016 Lady Panthers to a 46-11 record, an area title and a third-place finished in the Class 6A state tournament. In addition, Southside was ranked No. 1 wire to wire in the ASWA state softball poll this season.
Under Coggins, Etowah finished 42-15-1, closed out the regular season as the 10th ranked team in 5A, won the area and regional tournaments and made it to the state tournament.
Rounding out the All-Messenger first team were Coosa Christian junior catcher Alaina Hampton, Etowah senior first baseman Alyssa Howard, Southside senior second baseman Hunter Ashcraft, Coosa Christian freshman shortstop Carol Garmany, West End senior outfielder Alex Hallmark, Southside freshman outfielder Lauren Hunt, Southside sophomore outfielder Emilee Coker and Etowah senior Emma Jones and Southside senior Mallary Smith at utility.
Hampton handled the catching duties for a Lady Conqueror squad that went 20-14 and was ranked as high as fifth in the ASWA state softball rankings but was ineligible for the postseason. Hampton finished with a .421 batting average, 40 hits, 49 runs, 41 RBI, 10 home runs, 10 doubles, 23 steals a .513 on-base percentage and a .905 slugging percentage. She was named to the North roster for the North/South All-Star softball game later this month in Montgomery.
Howard finished with a .445 batting average, 46 RBI, 13 doubles and three home runs.
Ashcraft batted .379 with 66 hits, 49 runs, 42 RBI, 14 doubles and five home runs.
Garmany led the Lady Conquerors in several offensive categories, including batting average (.533), hits (57), runs (58) and steals (73). She also drove in 17 runs.
Crosby batted .400 with 34 hits, 26 RBI and 26 runs scored.
Hallmark led the Lady Patriots in batting average (.550), hits (55), RBI (48), doubles (16), home runs (eight) and steals (14). She also scored 36 runs and struck out only eight times in helping West End to 15 wins and a third-place finish at the Class 2A North Central Regional Tournament.
Hunt batted .505 along with 82 hits, 58 runs and 36 RBI while striking out only 13 times.
Coker sported a .475 batting average while producing 85 hits, 71 runs and 15 RBI.
Playing primarily at catcher, Jones batted .482 with 54 RBI, seven home runs and 32 doubles. Smith batted .485 with 83 hits, 41 runs and 28 RBI while at first base. In 64.2 innings on the mound, she finished with 44 strikeouts and an earned run average of 2.49.
2016 All-Messenger high school softball team
Players of the Year
Madison Grant, Sr., Etowah
Savanna Yancey, Jr., Southside
Coach of the Year
Angie Sanders, Southside
Stephen Coggins Etowah
Madison Grant, Sr., Etowah
Savanna Yancey, Jr., Southside
Alaina Hampton, Jr., Coosa Christian
Alyssa Howard, Sr., Etowah
Hunter Ashcraft, Sr., Southside
Carol Garmany, Coosa Christian
Amber Crosby, West End
Alex Hallmark, Sr., West End
Lauren Hunt, Fr., Southside
Emilee Coker, Soph., Southside
Emma Jones, Jr., Etowah
Mallary Smith, Jr., Southside
Amanda Kantzler, Soph., Gadsden City
Morgan Beasley, Sr., Coosa Christian
Destiney Butts, Sr., West End
Ella Day, Fr., Gadsden City
Jessica Smith, Soph., Etowah
Haley Gladden, Sr., Gaston
Sydney Boatner, Sr., Gadsden City
Bree Vasser, Soph., Etowah
Tania Timmons, Jr., West End
Kasi Pegg, Sr., Hokes Bluff
Kryslyn Farmer, Sr., Etowah
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