By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Sardis High’s first trip to Lagoon Park in six years likely would not have occurred without the services of Hailey Hill.
Game after game, the junior shortstop (pictured above) tore a gaping hole in opposing teams’ pitching staffs. Her .525 batting average, 63 hits, 48 runs scored, 15 RBI and 29 stolen bases spearheaded the Lady Lions’ county and area tournament titles, runner-up finish in the Class 5A North Regional Tournament and the program’s first state tournament appearance since 2013.
Hill’s stellar production made her the clear choice as the Player of the Year for the 2019 All-Messenger softball team.
Joining Hill on the first-team infield were Southside junior Kaylee Brown at catcher, Hokes Bluff junior Madison Ingram at first base, Sardis’ junior Jade Bonds at shortstop and Etowah freshman Abbi Martin at third base.
Brown batted .423 with 55 hits, 44 RBI, 40 runs scored, 12 doubles, two home runs and 18 stolen bases as the Lady Panthers made it to the semifinals of the Class 5A West Central Regionals; Ingram batted .320 along with 32 hits, 24 RBI, 20 runs scored, five homes runs, nine doubles and two triples; Bonds finished with a .371 batting average, 49 hits, 40 RBIs, 34 runs scored and 20 stolen bases; and Martin sported a .417 batting average with 20 runs scored, 17 RBI and seven doubles.
Making up the first-team outfield were Southside sophomore Carly Lankford, Sardis sophomore Harlee Vincent and Hokes Bluff’s freshman Bailee Latronico. Lankford finished with a .422 batting average, 65 hits, 51 runs scored, 21 RBI and 32 steals; Vincent batted .381 with 40 hits, 24 runs scored and 18 steals; and Latronico had a .416 batting average with 47 hits, 26 runs scored and 17 steals.
At designated hitter, Coosa Chritian senior catcher Carol Anne Garmany struck out only four times while finishing with a .603 batting average, a .681 on-base percentage, 44 hits, 37 runs scored and 20 stolen bases.
West End senior second baseman Jayleigh Kirby earned the first-team utility position after batting .538 with 42 hits, 30 runs, six doubles, two tri-ples, 18 steals and nine RBI at the plate and striking out 74 and winning nine games in 99 innings on the mound.
The first-team pitching staff features Southside junior Lexi Rennhack, who in 195 innings went 21-17 with a 2.90 earned run average and 100 strikeouts; Glencoe junior Hylan Higdon, who in 167 and two-third innings produced a 2.12 ERA while fanning 193; Etowah eighth grader Sydney Simpson, who won seven games, struck out 166 and had a 1.82 ERA in 115 and two-third innings; and Sardis eighth grader Kayden Tarvin, who in 111 and one-third innings finished with a 3.62 ERA and 100 strikeouts.
Coach of the Year honors went to Sardis’ Richie Lee.
The All-Messenger second team infield includes Sardis senior catcher Emily Cook (.370 batting avg., 47 hits, 38 RBI), Sardis sophomore first baseman Jaylyn Minshew (.382 batting avg., 42 hits, 23 RBI), Glencoe eighth grade second baseman Jaxson Sizemore (.378 batting avg., 31 hits), Gaston junior shortstop Alyssa Gargus (.315 batting avg., .433 OBP); and West End junior third baseman Montana Mashburn (.390 batting avg., 30 hits, 20 RBI, 20 runs scored, six doubles, six triples).
The second team outfield is made up of Gadsden City senior Carson Gray (.364 batting avg., 28 hits, 12 doubles); Hokes Bluff junior Mackenzie Coffelt (.333 batting avg., 36 hits, 26 runs scored, six doubles) and West End senior Karli Williams (.372 batting avg., 29 hits).
Coosa Christian senior catcher Sydney Courington made the cut at designated hitter after compiling a .513 batting average, 41 hits, 55 RBI, 23 runs scored, 17 doubles and two home runs.
Glencoe seventh grade catcher Abi Bunt earned the utility spot with a .421 batting average, 40 hits, 12 doubles and two home runs.