Alabaster native Powell takes national title with AUM

For Alabaster native and Thompson High alum Taylor Powell, the dream came true May 29, as Powell helped pitch the Auburn-Montgomery Warhawks to the NAIA National Championship in softball. (Contributed/Auburn-Montgomery)

For Alabaster native and Thompson High alum Taylor Powell, a dream came true May 29, as Powell helped pitch the Auburn-Montgomery Warhawks to the NAIA National Championship in softball. (Contributed/Auburn-Montgomery)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Editor

MONTGOMERY — Every athlete dreams of taking a championship in their respective sport.

For Alabaster native and Thompson High alum Taylor Powell, the dream came true May 29, as Powell helped pitch the Auburn-Montgomery Warhawks to the NAIA National Championship in softball. The title marked the first time the program has won the title.

“It was a surreal moment,” Powell said. “It was unbelievable.”

Powell, a sophomore at AUM, said she found out about the program after attending a camp with the Alabama Twisters travel ball team. She was hooked immediately, she said.

“The coaches (and) players were already welcoming,” she said.

Powell tossed six and two-thirds innings in the title-clinching game, as the Warhawks took down William Carey 10-6 for the title. She sat down the first 11 batters in order, striking out five. She allowed just three earned runs in the win.

While the team’s performance was impressive, Powell said the fact that the team has all the pieces in place to repeat was even more notable, especially considering the team played through several setbacks during the season.

“(We’re) not losing anyone off this team,” she said. “(And) we had four knee injuries. We lost our starting centerfielder the first game, starting shortstop and back up shortstop (in the) middle of the season and the designated hitter.”

Powell said she felt the team was more like a family than a group of competitors.

“We do everything together,” she said. “We’re there for each other. Everyone’s been so supportive. I know after softball and school they will always have my back.”

And, like a family, Powell said the team has left a permanent impact on her.

“(I’ve) never seen any other team with (our) energy,” she said. “Never a dull moment. I feel like our team got along real well.”

Powell said there was one game in particular that she felt set the team on the path to the title.

“We went 19-1 or 18-1 in conference (but) lost one of our last games,” she said. “Once that happened (we said) ‘We’re a championship team, we have to play like one.’”

With the title in hand, Powell said she — like the rest of her teammates — is already looking forward to next season.

“I think everyone’s anxious,” she said. “We have a target on our back, but I know we can do it.”