2017 All-County softball team

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

Another softball season has come to a close in Shelby County as the books have officially closed on 2017, and while I try to act surprised at how good teams were and several individual players performed, part of me can’t help but feel accustomed to this success, not only from the way other sports teams in the county performed during the 2017-18 season, but from several years of sustained success from these softball programs.

This year, that level of success rose to a new level as several of the county’s biggest stars returned, including the reigning player of the year in Chelsea’s Sarah Cespedes.

While every position had its share of strong players during the spring of 2017, none was stronger than that of shortstop as there were three girls worthy of first team honors in Spain Park’s Mary Katherine Tedder, Chelsea’s Allie Miller and Thompson’s Lauren Haskins, all of which received strong consideration for player of the year.

It was tough to narrow down this list and choose between first team and second team, but every player that was named to either team was not just one of the best players in the county, but the state as well. A total of 16 players batted above .400 during the season including two who held batting averages above .500. On the pitching side of things, the top six pitchers combined for 889 total strikeouts and five of those six held an ERA under 2.00.

Those two stats alone pretty much sums up everybody listed below that was honored with being named as one of the elite softball players in the state of Alabama.

FIRST TEAM

Pitcher: Avery Barnett, Helena, sophomore. This marks Barnett’s second year in a row as a first teamer. She led the Huskies with an ERA of 1.69 ERA and posted 139 strikeouts. She allowed just 187 hits in 195 innings pitched and threw two no-hitters on her way to an overall record of 18-8. Over the last two seasons she has 305 strikeouts and a record of 40-19. 

Barnett

Pitcher: Sarah Cespedes, Chelsea, junior. Last year’s player of the year went 31-17 with an ERA of 1.98 in 2017. She pitched in of 48 of Chelsea’s 54 games for a total of 162.67 innings. Her 160 strikeouts were second in the county following up the county-leading 233 she threw last year. Cespedes has been dominant the last two seasons combining for 393 strikeouts and an overall record of 53-25.

Pitcher: Annabelle Widra, Spain Park, eighth grade. As an eighth grader she has been named as the county’s player of the year. She started 16 games as a sophomore in 2017, but got stronger this season both in the circle and at the plate. She led the county in every major pitching category tossing 200.2 innings on her way to an overall record of 36-6 in 43 games played. She picked up an unbelievable 272 strikeouts and heralded an ERA of 1.221. All of those numbers bested Cespedes’ stats from last season. Not to mention she batted .414 at the plate with 20 RBIs. She will be a welcome sight for the Jags over the next four years. 

Catcher: Brooke Burback, Chelsea, freshman. A strong freshman season for Burback featured a .423 batting average with 60 RBIs. She also added 10 home runs and 14 doubles as she was in the top tier of power hitters across the county. Burback, the young sister of Jacob Burback — the catcher on the baseball team — totaled 63 hits this season and struck out just seven times. She is a future Phenom for the Hornets.

First Base: O’Neil Roberson, Oak Mountain, senior. Roberson was the only first teamer with a batting average under .400, but she was very deserving of this spot posting an average of .395 and adding 45 RBIs. She picked up 49 total hits during her senior campaign with the Eagles including 20 doubles and seven home runs. She even drew a team-high 20 walks. Roberson will now head off to Mississippi State to continue her playing days with the Bulldogs.

Second Base: Perry Clark, Shelby County, freshman. It was a rough end to the season for Shelby County softball as their top two playmakers got hurt and one of those was Clark. She averaged .448 at the plate and blasted nine home runs. She now has 20 home runs in two seasons with the Wildcats and is on pace to become the all-time home runs leader in school history. Clark added 37 RBIs and her injury was a big reason their season ended prematurely in the area tournament.

Shortstop: Lauren Haskins, Thompson, sophomore. Haskins was the best hitter in the county this season. She held a .588 batting average with 55 RBIs, but more impressively she picked up a hit in 80 of her 136 at bats striking out just six times. Those 80 hits included a county-high 14 home runs as well as 12 doubles and seven triples. Once on the base path she added 31 stolen bases to her resume which ranked second in the county behind Allie Miller. Playing in the toughest 7A area with Tuscaloosa County, Vestavia and Hoover, she was just too impressive to pass up in this spot. Won’t be surprised if she is the player of the year in the near future after helping lead the Warriors to 31 wins this season.

Third Base: Kennedy Foote, Thompson, freshman. Foote was the second of several to catch my eye on Thompson’s 2017 team. She held a batting average of .463 and picked up a solid 43 RBIs. She totaled 56 hits this season which included 14 doubles, six home runs and three triples. Foote also drew a team-high 17 walks. Her and Haskins on the left side of the infield are a disaster for opponents as not many balls got past them defensively either. 

Outfield: Kindall DeRamus, Thompson, sophomore. If you don’t believe in the direction this Thompson team is going, then maybe a third player in a row on the first team will convince you. DeRamus ended up second on the team with 72 hits including nine doubles and four triples. It led to her holding a batting average of .490 as she picked up 25 RBIs. None of these three were on the All-County team last year, but made the jump all the way to first team this year and all three will be back next season. 

Outfield: Maddie Majors, Spain Park, sophomore. Majors was the only other county player to hold a batting average above .500 as she swung her way to an average of .518. That high average led her to leading the county with 87 hits in 168 at bats. She had a total of 64 singles, 13 doubles, eight triples and two home runs, which led to 25 RBIs. As the leadoff hitter for the Jags she had a lot of pop in her bat and has established herself as a top prospect in the state. She moved up from honorable mention last season to first team this year.

Majors

Outfield: Lauren Carter, Shelby County, junior. The Shelby County junior made this team for a variety of reasons and breaking her leg the week before the area tournament was a huge blow to the Wildcats and heartbreaking for her. While her batting average of .472 was impressive enough, her defense in the outfield was jaw dropping. She made just one error all season long for the Wildcats as she was steady and posed defensively. A real team leader for this team that will be welcomed back from injury with open arms by coach Ashley Phillips in 2018.

Designated Player: Allie Miller, Chelsea, senior. The first of three designated players this year is really going to a true shortstop in Miller. She was incredible to watch not solely because of her strong batting average of .456, but because of the amount of hustle she played with in the field and on the base path. She had 68 hits this season with nine doubles, six triples and six home runs, which led to her picking up 30 RBIs. Miller also added a county-high 33 stolen bases. She will be sorely missed by the Hornets in 2018 as she moves on to Troy.

Designated Player: Mary Katherine (MK) Tedder, Spain Park, senior. There’s not much else you can say about Tedder that hasn’t been said. She has been a staple in the Jags lineup since her middle school days and now her time has come to an end. During her senior season she held a batting average of .460 after picking up 63 hits. Those 63 hits included 40 singles, eight doubles, six triples and nine home runs as she went off for 57 RBIs. The most impressive stat, however, was striking out just two times in 137 at bats. Tedder will now move on to the University of Texas and will make herself at home very soon.

Designated Player: Jenna Olszewski, Spain Park, senior. Her 64 hits were second on the team behind Majors, making her too good of a player to pass up a first team spot. She posted a batting average of .410 after picking up 47 RBIs. That .410 average was thanks to 64 hits during her senior season including 40 singles, 18 doubles and two triples.

SECOND TEAM

Pitcher: Ashlynn Hamm, Calera, junior. She went 17-6 this season with the Eagles giving up just 129 hits in 140.2 innings pitched. She tacked on 82 strikeouts and held an ERA of 2.24 for a team on the rise.

Hamm

Pitcher: Maddy Walker, Vincent, eighth grade. Walker started 26 games and picked up 151 strikeouts in 123.1 innings pitched. Her ERA of 3.69 wasn’t the strongest, but those strikeout numbers for an eighth grader are off the charts. She also pitched in at the plate with a batting average of .366, an on base percentage of .435 and a slugging percentage of .476. She was the team leader with 21 RBIs.

Pitcher: Abby Jones, Oak Mountain, senior. Jones was one of the strongest pitchers around the county this season especially in the big moments against area foes. She went 13-4 with 85 strikeouts, five shutouts and two no hitters. She only allowed 20 earned runs on her way to an ERA of 1.40 and in 100 innings pitched, she only gave up 17 walks and 84 hits.

Catcher: Cassady Greenwood, Oak Mountain, junior. She held a batting average of .328 with 23 RBIs thanks to six doubles, two triples and five home runs this season. She also had a strong on base percentage of .418.

First Base: Kelsey Edwards, Thompson, senior and Camryn Smith, Chelsea, sophomore. Edwards had an average of .398 at the plate with 33 RBIs after picking up 47 hits including 11 doubles and three home runs. Smith batted .327 at the plate with 36 RBIs, nine doubles, one triple and one home run.

Second Base: Lydian Coleman, Briarwood, eighth grade. She is the future of this Briarwood team after batting .465 as an eighth grader. She picked up eight triples, four doubles and two home runs at the plate and added 11 stolen bases.

Shortstop: Grace Robertson, Helena, sophomore. Robertson batted .391 at the plate and led the Huskies with 48 RBIs as a sophomore. She had 52 hits that included 13 doubles, eight triples and a team-high six home runs.

Third Base: Riley Coyne, Briarwood, junior. Coyne is a rising star with one year left at Briarwood. In 2017 she held a batting average of .453 with 13 home runs, second in the county, and 52 RBIs. With her and Coleman back next season, the Lions will have a strong one-two punch at the plate.

Outfield: Julianna Cross, Spain Park, senior. Another one of those tough Spain Park offensive players to get out. She just missed batting .400 or higher as she picked up an average of .392 with 32 RBIs. She had a great eye at the plate striking out just five times all season. She totaled 60 hits including 18 doubles and two triples.

Outfield: Katie Lively, Helena, junior. A strong batting average of .411 with 46 RBIs this season. She picked up 53 hits including 14 doubles, four triples and five home runs.

Lively

Outfield: Caroline Parker, Spain Park, senior. Another tough loss for the Jags will be Parker. She batted .378 with 61 RBIs and picked up 54 hits including 10 doubles, two triples and two home runs in her final season wearing the blue, black and white.

Designated Player: Madison Bubel, Thompson, junior. The fifth Warrior on the two teams held a strong batting average of .455 with 39 RBIs. She picked up 49 hits including 12 doubles and five home runs.

Designated Player: Kaitlyn Lucas, Shelby County, sophomore. Another strong batter at the plate for the Wildcats, Lucas batted .444 with a team-high 10 home runs and 51 RBIs. 

Honorable Mention: Taylor Wheat, Briarwood. Nicole Harrelson, Calera. Michaela Landrum, Calera. Charley Clark, Calera. Mekhi Mayfield, Helen. Jenna Galloway, Oak Mountain. Dalton Merrill, Pelham. Yoly Paredes, Pelham. Emily Shirley, Pelham. Alex Reed, Shelby County. Bailey Bowers, Spain Park. Taylor Harrington, Spain Park. Bailey Whitfield, Thompson. Jameia White, Vincent. Charity Robertson, Vincent.