By Joshua Price/Sports Editor
Glencoe High School and West End High School placed a total of 11 players on the 2012 All-Messenger softball team.
Glencoe pitcher Jordan Sims and West End pitcher Morgan Cleveland shared Most Valuable Player honors, while Glencoe catcher Jamie McGuire was named Most Valuable Offensive Player.
Glencoe finished the season with a 34-12 record. The Lady Yellow Jackets won the Class 3A, Area 10 championship, which featured ranked teams Susan Moore and Ashville and county rival-neighbor Hokes Bluff. Glencoe finished the season ranked fourth in the state and competed in the North Regional tournament at Liberty Park in Vestavia Hills.
West End finished the season with a 24-12 record and finished second in Class 2A, Area 13 to ninth-ranked Sand Rock. The Lady Patriots finished the season ranked seventh in Class 2A and competed in the Northeast Regional tournament in Huntsville.
Sims led the county in almost every major pitching category. The junior posted a 33-12 overall record, while notching 275 strikeouts with a 1.74 earned run average. Sims was also effective offensively, batting .298 with 28 runs batted in and three home runs. She also added nine doubles.
Cleveland placed second to Sims in the pitching category. The sophomore finished the 2012 season with a 19-10 record and a 1.99 earned run average and struck out 158.
Sims and Cleveland’s statistics are very similar. Sims pitched more innings than Cleveland, 258 to 172. Cleveland’s final numbers are very similar to Sims’ once scaled to meet 258 innings.
Cleveland dominated opponents offensively, batting .388 with 14 doubles and three home runs. She also had 30 runs batted in for the Lady Patriots.
McGuire swung the biggest stick in the county in 2012, and easily could have been named Most Valuable Player.
McGuire led the county offensively, tallying a .526 batting average over 133 at bats. The junior had 12 home runs, 25 doubles and 65 runs batted in. She walked 23 times and struck out only three times. McGuire scored 45 runs for the Lady Yellow Jackets.
McGuire’s skills were not limited to batting. McGuire called pitches for battery mate Sims and directed the Glencoe defense on the field. She held runners in check with her powerful and accurate throwing arm and was a defensive wall behind the plate.
West End dominated the All-Messenger infield. Seniors Haley Fulenwider, Brooke Copeland and sophomore Courtney Oliver were solid defenders for the Lady Pats and effective offensive players.
First-baseman Oliver led the Lady Patriots’ offense with a .492 batting average off 58 hits. She led the team with 35 runs batted in and 16 doubles. She tied Cleveland and Copeland with three home runs.
Oliver served as a part-time pitcher for West End to relieve Cleveland, posting a 2.33 earned run average with 21 strikeouts and four wins.
Second-baseman Fulenwider batted .370 with a pair of home runs and 23 runs batted in for the Lady Patriots. She had 44 hits, five of which were doubles and six triples. The speedy senior stole 10 bases and scored 31 runs in her final campaign.
Copeland anchored the hot corner for West End and the All-Messenger team. She batted .432 with 11 doubles, three home runs and 24 runs batted in. The senior also played shortstop for the Lady Patriots.
Gaston shortstop Abby Elrod was one of the top fielders in the county. The freshman batted .565 with 15 runs batted in for the Lady Bulldogs. Head coach Kathy Brown considers Elrod a “clutch player” and will be a vital piece to Gaston’s success in the coming years.
Glencoe placed a pair of outfielders on the squad. Sarah Wallace and Morgan Lyles were a 1-2 punch both defensively and offensively for the Lady Yellow Jackets. Their offensive consistency at the top of the lineup allowed teammates Sims and McGuire to tally an enormous amount of runs batted in.
Wallace batted .345 with 11 runs scored. The Yellow Jackets’ leadoff batter added 3 doubles and a triple, while scoring 41 runs for Glencoe.
Lyles batted .337 with 12 runs batted in. Lyles followed in the lineup and slapped 31 hits, six of which were singles and scored 18 runs.
Hokes Bluff centerfielder Savannah Ward claimed the final spot in the All-County outfield. The senior leadoff batter batted .305 for Lady Eagles and scored 19 runs. She had 9 runs batted in.
Honorable Mention included Glencoe’s Sally Tinker, West End’s Joni Goss and Taylor Nichols, Hokes Bluff’s Summer Wilson, Hannah Evans and Chelsea Machleit, Coosa Christian’s Hannah Meadows, Sardis’ Dreema Holliday, Kameron Carter, Krista Hubbard and Bethany Chamblee, and Etowah’s Mary Cate Hereford, Bri Aaron and Paden Allen.
Editor’s Note: Editor’s Note: The All-Messenger team is comprised of area teams that submitted final 2012 statistics.