West End’s Bunch signs with Snead State 


Photo: West End senior Josie Bunch signed a softball scholarship with Snead State on March 19 in Walnut Grove. Pictured, from left: mom April, Snead State head softball coach Tracy Grindrod, Josie, dad Joe. (Courtesy of Kristi Nix) 

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

Josie Bunch’s playing career in organized softball was recently extended for another two years.
On Tuesday, March 19, the West End High School senior signed with Snead State.
“It feels really good,” said Bunch, who is considering majoring in nursing. “I went there for a tryout, and I really liked the coach and players. I also liked everything about the campus, which isn’t too far from home.”
A seven-year starter at pitcher and third base, Bunch last season finished with a .396 batting average, a .487 on-base percentage, 38 hits (with eight doubles and seven home runs), 33 RBI and 28 runs scored as the Lady Patriots won the Class 2A Area 11 Tournament and went 2-2 at the East Regionals. She was selected to the All-Messenger softball first team and made the ASWA All-State Class 2A honorable mention team at the utility position. She also participated in the AHSAA North/South All-Star softball game in Montgomery last July.
Asked why she prefers to play at “the hot corner,” Bunch pointed out that there is not much reaction time after a ball is put in play.
“It’s always do or die, I would say. It’s a lot of pressure but I love playing there.”
Bunch is no slouch on the mound, either, as her current earned run average of 0.35 is the lowest in Class 2A.
“We’ve always had a young team, and now that we’re starting to get older, the team dynamics are falling into place,” she said. “We get along really well and have great communication skills, which has really helped us out.”
West End head softball coach Ricky Watkins pointed to Bunch’s maturity as a key factor for the team’s success this season. The Lady Patriots are 10-0 as of March 20.
“Josie’s become more of a leader and taken on more responsibility,” he said. “She’s really stepped to the plate this year I told her that all of those summer days in the weight room and all the travel ball have paid off.”
Watkins also appreciated that he has three seniors on the current team as compared to none in both 2023 and 2022.
“The youth movement is finally starting to pay off,” he said. “But we’ve only got two juniors so we’re still young, but you can tell that the maturity level has risen.”
Bunch and her teammates have every intention of playing beyond the regional tournament this season.
“Our whole team’s goal since the start of the season is making it to state,” she said. “It’s been a few years since [West End] has been there.”


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