Swinging for the stars: 2024 All-County softball team honors top players

Published 5:03 pm Monday, June 3, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

It was another incredible season on the softball diamond with multiple area teams staking their place among the state’s best.

Thompson and Helena both reached No. 1 in the media rankings for their respective classifications, and both advanced to the state tournament along with Spain Park. In addition, Calera and Shelby County walked away with area titles and joined Pelham in regionals.

With so much success around the county at the plate, in the field and in the circle, the All-County race was as competitive as ever. As a result though, that means this year’s All-County softball team is one of the most successful in history.

Here is this year’s All-County team highlighting the best individual performances from a standout softball season in 2024.


First Team:

Pitcher: Aubree Hooks, junior, Thompson. Hooks stepped up to become the 2024 Pitcher of the Year with a 22-4 record across some of the Warriors’ biggest games of the season, striking out 145 batters and limiting batters to a .163 average en route to a 1.28 ERA and a North All-Star selection.

Calera’s Kate Townley led the county in strikeouts with 165 as she helped the Eagles win an area title and go deep in regionals, earning her an All-County First Team spot. (Reporter Photo/Andrew Simonson)

Pitcher: Kate Townley, senior, Calera. Calera called on Townley in its most important moments, including going the distance in regionals, and she shouldered a heavy innings load of 171 innings to take a county-high 165 strikeouts and earn a 2.05 ERA and 1.04 WHIP.

Pitcher: Hayden Traywick, sophomore, Helena. Traywick rose to the challenge of being Helena’s go-to pitcher as she went 15-3 with one save and gave up just 22 earned runs across 98 innings. She also ended the year with 78 strikeouts and contributed as a shortstop as well.

Pitcher: Kadyn Bush, sophomore, Thompson. Bush was a strikeout machine for the Warriors this season, dispatching 108 batters in 85 innings for a county-high 8.9 punch-outs per seven innings. She finished her sophomore year with a 1.65 ERA and 1.08 WHIP.

Catcher: Maggie Daniel, senior, Spain Park. Before she heads westward to UCLA, Daniel left her mark on Spain Park with one of the most dominant hitting campaigns in the county. She provided a potent mix of power and consistency with a county-high 14 home runs as well as a .972 slugging percentage while going .443 overall at the plate.

First Base: Meredith Kellum, senior, Briarwood Christian. Kellum closed out her Lions career with a big year in the batter’s box as she earned 32 hits, 25 RBI and 10 home runs in just 66 plate appearances to earn a .485 average and county-highs in slugging percentage (1.106) and OPS (1.646).

Second Base: Kelsey Burden, eighth grader, Thompson. Burden looked like an experience bat in the Warriors lineup despite still being in middle school, racking up 63 hits for a .467 batting average. She also brought speed to the base paths with 35 stolen bases in 37 attempts, the second-most in the county.

Dailynn Motes brought the power for Thompson, earning 12 home runs and a county-high 68 RBI to highlight eight All-County selections for the Warriors. (For the Reporter/Dawn Harrison)

Shortstop: Dailynn Motes, senior, Thompson. Motes was as reliable of a big-time bat for the Warriors as anyone could be in her final season in Alabaster, earning a county-high 68 RBI off 75 hits and launching 12 home runs and 20 doubles in the process en route to a .475 average.

Third Base: Emma Olive, senior, Helena. Olive made her 46 hits count by earning 52 RBI over the course of the season, only aided by her 15 doubles and nine home runs. She capped off her Huskies career with a senior-year average of .338 and an OPS of 1.077.

Outfielder: Presley Lively, senior, Helena. Lively topped her own unreal 2023 campaign to repeat as Hitter of the Year as the South Alabama signee earned multiple county highs with a .550 batting average, .620 on-base percentage, 82 hits, 75 runs, 12 triples and a mind-boggling 56 stolen bases in 61 attempts.

Outfielder: Whitney Holtzapfel, freshman, Calera. Holtzapfel set the bar high in her freshman year with the second-highest batting average in the county of .503. She crossed home 59 times and earned 75 hits, including 15 doubles and 10 home runs while only striking out six times.

Outfielder: Keara Hall, senior, Thompson. Hall was another consistent piece of the Warriors order as she batted .409 with an OPS of 1.157 off 56 hits, eight home runs and five triples. She also plated 35 runs while touching home plate herself 45 times.

Designated Player: Sydney Carroll, junior, Chelsea. The future Mississippi State Bulldog was as explosive of a hitter as anyone around, sending 11 of her 25 hits over the fence for a .674 slugging percentage and 1.154 OPS. Carroll will also represent Chelsea at the North-South Game.

Designated Player: Charlee Bennett, junior, Spain Park. Bennett came up big for the Jags with nine doubles, three triples and seven home runs across her 35 hits for a .717 slugging percentage and 1.301 OPS, and the North All-Star selection was quick to extend those hits with 30 stolen bases in 31 attempts.

Designated Player: Caitlan Bland, sophomore, Shelby County. Bland featured in 23 of Shelby County’s 28 games, and she made a big impact with 12 home runs, 33 hits and 38 runs in 74 at-bats for a .446 batting average. That gave her a slugging percentage of 1.068 and OPS of 1.636, both the second-highest figures in the county.

Jordan Young’s big performances in the circle and at the plate gave her an All-County First Team spot, joining Jordan Howard on the final roster. (Reporter Photo/Alec Etheredge)

Utility: Jordan Young, sophomore, Pelham. Young helped out the Panthers both in the circle and as a shortstop, going .374 at the plate with a 1.058 OPS and earning a 2.10 ERA behind just 18 earned runs allowed all season as a pitcher.


Second Team:

Pitcher: Ella Ussery, senior, Spain Park. Ussery faced plenty of challenges from opposing lineups in her senior year, but the North Alabama commit brought her best swing-and-miss stuff to the circle to tie for the second-most strikeouts in the county with 145, averaging 7.7 strikeouts per seven innings and earning a 1.37 WHIP in the process.

Pitcher: Marlee Parsons, junior, Helena. Parsons took care of business when she stepped into the circle as she struck out 57 batters in 57 innings and allowed just 22 earned runs for a 2.7 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in the Huskies’ run to the state tournament.

Pitcher: Kelsey Crain, eighth grader, Oak Mountain. Crain made big waves as an eighth grader for the Eagles, earning 89 strikeouts in 82 innings for an average of 7.6 strikeouts per seven innings. As a result, hitters only batted .169 against her, the second-lowest average in the county.

Pitcher: Autumn Ingle, freshman, Thompson. Ingle didn’t let her age prevent her from taking the circle in some of the Warriors’ biggest moments in the season, including a dominant showing in an elimination game at regionals against Sparkman. She struck out 54 batters in 47.1 innings and earned a 1.18 ERA in the process.

Catcher: Laney Williams, senior, Thompson. Williams drove home 45 runs off 52 hits as she capped off her senior year with a .391 batting average, .639 slugging percentage and 1.094 OPS.

First Base: Lily Townsend, junior, Calera. Townsend contributed as both a first baseman and a pitcher, but at the plate, she helped bring consistent offense with a .349 average, .557 slugging percentage and .981 OPS off 37 hits, eight doubles and four home runs.

Second Base: Aaliyah Chaisson, sophomore, Shelby County. Chaisson averaged over a hit a game for the Wildcats with 29 hits in 23 games, and made 13 of those count for extra bases, including seven doubles and four home runs. She ended the year with a .426 batting average, .529 on-base percentage, .765 slugging percentage and 1.293 OPS.

Shortstop: Mia Wade, sophomore, Calera. Wade was a reliable bat for the Eagles throughout the season thanks to her 51 hits and nine doubles, and that turned into a .398 batting average and .959 OPS.

Third Base: Kinley Rodgers, junior, Calera. Rodgers powered the Eagles offense with 45 RBI off 59 hits, 12 of which were doubles. She ended the year with a .371 batting average, .509 slugging percentage and .902 OPS.

Outfielder: Emma Hawkins, senior, Oak Mountain. Hawkins batted .405 in her final season before heading across the county to the University of Montevallo, and she scored 36 runs off 49 hits while going a perfect 11-for-11 on stolen bases. She was also perfect in the outfield by committing no errors all season.

Outfielder: Sheri Andrews, sophomore, Oak Mountain. Oftentimes when Andrews got on base, she came home as she scored 41 runs off 46 hits and 16 walks, partially thanks to her quickness on the base paths with 20 stolen bases in 22 attempts. She also secured 12 doubles and four home runs to boost her .621 slugging percentage and 1.098 OPS, and the sophomore batted .397.

Outfielder: Hannah Steele, senior, Helena. Steele ended the year with just one error in the outfield for a .985 fielding percentage. That success continued at the plate as she went .388 for 50 hits, 45 RBI, nine doubles, three home runs and had a 13-for 13 stolen base rate.

Designated Player: Katie Hopson, junior, Chelsea. Hopson was another power bat in the Hornets lineup since of her 43 hits, 13 were doubles and six left the ballpark as home runs. She ended the year with a .374 average, .661 slugging percentage and 1.128 OPS.

Designated Player: Olivia Tindell, junior, Thompson. Tindell continued to show why she will take the field for UAB in a couple of years as the North-South Game selection crossed home 45 times off 47 hits and 12 walks, earning a .385 average, .494 on-base percentage and 1.002 OPS.

Designated Player: Anna DuBose, junior, Oak Mountain. DuBose reached base at a consistent clip for the Eagles in her junior year with 44 hits and 12 walks against just six strikeouts, and that showed in her .423 batting average and .496 on-base percentage.

Utility: Jordan Howard, senior, Pelham. Featuring as both a third baseman and shortstop in her last year at Pelham, Howard got on base at a .452 clip and drove home 36 runs off 44 hits, including seven doubles and five home runs that led to a .586 slugging percentage, 1.038 OPS and .379 average. She also struck out just four times.


Honorable Mention: Issy Overton, Calera. Alaysha Crews, Chelsea. Madeline Epperson, Chelsea. Caroline Brown, Chelsea. Emma Parmley, Chelsea. Baylor McCluney, Chelsea. Claire Purkey, Chelsea. Destiny Brashears, Helena. Addison Draiss, Helena. Jaida Holtzclaw, Helena. Harley Morrison, Helena. Cammi Pugh, Helena. Molly Rollan, Helena. Gracie Storey, Helena. Alea Rye, Oak Mountain. Bella Williams, Oak Mountain. Sophia Williams, Oak Mountain. Kaydence Connell, Shelby County. Allie Whitaker, Spain Park. Teagan Huey, Spain Park. Klara Thompson, Spain Park. Caroline Charles, Spain Park. Reagan Stewart, Spain Park. Jaley Young, Spain Park. Chloe Wade, Spain Park.