Lady Wildcats open state with confidence
Thu. May 16, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | By Andrew Carroll
MOUNDVILLE | Abbey Fleenor, who made it to the AHSAA softball tournament as an eighth-grader in 2009, is back in Montgomery as a senior with her Hale County teammates.
Hale County (23-16-2), which went 3-0 in the Class 2A North Central Regional at Sokol Park, opens the state tournament against Prattville Christian at 9 this morning at Lagoon Park.
Fleenor and the Lady Wildcats knew they were in when they finished a 4-1 victory over Lamar County.
"I jumped on Amanda (Steward)," Fleenor said. "She picked up me up and carried me to third base."
Hale County also beat Fultondale 11-0 and Cold Springs 6-0.
"I think we all have a lot of confidence right now because everybody said we couldn’t win regionals, and then we went out there and showed them that we could," Fleenor said. "I think we have the best lineup that we’ve ever had. We don’t have a weak spot in our lineup anywhere, in the field or hitting."
Fleenor, the shortstop and leadoff hitter, is one of four senior starters. Fleenor is hitting .508 with two home runs and 37 RBIs. Catcher Brianna Mills has a .381 average with three homers and 41 RBIs. Taylor Tashe, a second baseman and pitcher, is hitting .339 with a homer and 35 RBIs. Steward, the third baseman, has a .327 average with two homers and 32 RBIs.
First baseman Jayci Jones, center fielder Brooke Perkins and outfielder Lexie Perry are freshmen. Right fielder Olivia McCray and Kayla Wyatt, an infielder and outfielder, are seventh-graders.
"I’ve been where they are, and it’s a lot of pressure to have on yourself when you’re in the seventh or eighth grade," Fleenor said. "They’re doing a really good job of handling it."
Wyatt is the daughter of Hale County coach Lori Wyatt.
"This has been our goal from the very beginning of the season — to win area, win region and then go on to win state," Lori Wyatt said.
Seventh-grader Savanna Holmes (10-10) was the winning pitcher in all three regional games.
"She has played ball since she was probably about 4 or 5 years old and started pitching when she was around 8," Lori Wyatt said. "I’ve seen her grow up and work. Her work ethic is tremendous.
"She’s got a curveball and a fastball. She’s got an off-speed pitch that is very good. She’s able to place the ball where she wants to. We have a very strong defensive team. I just have complete confidence in our defense on the field behind Savanna or Taylor.
"I have four seniors that are tremendous leaders. The rest of my girls are young girls that just have a lot of energy, and I think just the two coming together made a great chemistry for the team this year."
Reach Andrew Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0223.