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P: Mary Michael Burnham, Edgewood senior

Edgewood made quick work of its AISA-AA opponents this season and Burnham was a big reason why. She led her team to a second consecutive state championship and earned the tournament MVP honors after allowing just one run in 28 innings, including a no-hitter in the semifinals. Burnham finished the year with a 0.70 ERA in 210 innings while also hitting 11 home runs at the plate.

“She put in a lot more work this year and it showed,” former Edgewood coach Mark Segrest said. “She perfected her changeup and that was one of the most dominant pitches I saw from anyone all year. They flat out could not hit it.”

C: Lexi Love, Tallassee sophomore

No opposing pitcher wanted to see Love at the plate with runners on base. She finished the season with a school-record 84 RBIs on 66 hits while posting a team-high .738 slugging percentage. Love hit seven home runs and 17 doubles while hitting .443 in 172 plate appearances. She also brought rare speed to the catcher position, finishing with 12 stolen bases and 50 runs scored.

“We were really confident in her to get the job done with runners on,” Tallassee coach Pat Love said. “She was always going to be productive at the plate, even with her outs. When she comes up with runners on, you know they’re going to move up at least one base.”

1B: Madison Britt, Elmore County sophomore

Britt got limited at bats compared to a lot of players in the county but she made the most of what she had. Britt showed signs of power throughout the season and finished with 15 doubles and five home runs in 89 at bats while knocking in 43 runs. She led the Panthers with a .483 batting average and a .579 on-base percentage. Britt posted a 1.399 OPS which was the second highest among hitters across Elmore County.

“She’s always been a very dependable bat,” ECHS coach Kim Moncrief said. “More often than not, she’s going to find that base hit when we need it and her batting average shows that. She’s just very confident with her bat.”

2B: Lily Gray, Wetumpka sophomore

While Wetumpka certainly had its ups and downs throughout the season, Gray was showing consistency at the plate throughout the season. She played second and third for the Indians while batting third in the order for most of the year. Gray finished with a .396 batting average and knocked in a team-high 29 runs in 34 games. She recorded one home run 12 total extra-base hits in just 91 at bats.

“She was always the girl you wanted up when you had runners on,” Wetumpka coach Jimmy Reeves said. “It’s rare to find a kid that is that consistent. Her dry spells don’t last very long. She is very intelligent and makes really good reads.” 

3B: Brooke Cooper, Holtville junior

With most of Holtville’s opponents focusing on KK Dismukes, Cooper took her offensive production up a few notches to help the Bulldogs at the plate. She improved in every statistical category during her junior season, including finishing with 21 extra-base hits and recording a 1.085 OPS. She also set a new career-high with a .423 batting average in 142 at bats. Cooper also provided some pitching depth, posting a 3.26 ERA in 15 appearances.

“She’s always had a great swing and a great approach,” Holtville coach Daryl Otwell said. “She had that stretch in the middle of the season where she knocked in 15 runs in a week and may have been the best hitter in the state. When she gets hot, she’s a tough out at the plate.”

SS: Belle Haynes, Tallassee freshman

Haynes had the important role of connecting the heart of the order to on-base machine Chloe Baynes in the lead-off spot. Haynes rose to the occasion and then some, posting a .456 batting average while knocking in 59 runs from the 2-hole in Tallassee’s lineup. Haynes hit four home runs and finished with 21 extra-base hits while stealing 38 bases.

“She’s just a scrappy player,” Tallassee coach Pat Love said. “She packs a big punch in that small package. She can do a lot of different things really well and to be honest, she’s the best shortstop I’ve ever been fortunate enough to coach.”

OF: Chloe Baynes, Tallassee freshman

Some of the stat lines were already shocking during Baynes’ first two years at the varsity level but she reached another level as a freshman to set new program records. Baynes finished the season with 117 hits in just 51 games and posted a batting average of .669. She led the county with a .685 on-base percentage and finished the season with 82 stolen bases. Baynes also led the Tigers with 90 runs scored.

“She just has so many different ways to get on base,” Tallassee coach Pat Love said. “She had to stay hot for most of the season to put up those kinds of numbers. She was always putting the ball in play and her speed makes it tough for other teams to get her out.”

OF: Madelyn Becker, Elmore County freshman

Becker may have had the most surprising season for any player across the county, finishing the year as the Panthers’ second-best hitter. In just 36 games, Becker recorded 43 hits and scored a team-high 40 times in 120 plate appearances. She only had 10 extra-base hits but hit three home runs and finished the season with a batting average of .417.

“We noticed she had a really good bat early in the preseason,” ECHS coach Kim Moncrief said. “She’s a true utility player in the field so we knew we had to get her into the lineup somewhere. Her bat helped make sure we did that.”

OF: Faith Wheat, Edgewood sophomore

After missing a majority of last season due to an injury, Wheat returned to help lead the Wildcats to the state championship and she got to celebrate with her team this year. Wheat led Edgewood with 76 hits and finished second in the county with 64 runs scored. She posted a .378 batting average and despite being a slap hitter, Wheat finished the season with 13 doubles and five triples.

“She hit leadoff for most of the year but we could move her to the three spot when we wanted her pop in the lineup,” former Edgewood coach Mark Segrest said. “She’s a do-it-all slapper so it forces the defense to not play too far up and respect some of that power. She’s just a complete player.”

UTIL: Jordan Walters, Tallassee junior

There was not a lot Walters could not do for the Tigers during the 2019 season and opponents found that out the hard way. In the circle, Walters was the team’s ace and set a school record with 26 wins. She posted a 2.08 ERA in 201 innings while striking out 131 batters. Walters also posted a .417 batting average while setting a school record with 26 doubles at the plate. She finished with four home runs while striking out just four times in 151 at bats.

“She was a real leader for this team,” Tallassee coach Pat Love said. “In the circle, at the plate or in the dugout, she was our leader. She was our ace while still being one of our best power hitters and best infielders.”

Honorable Mention

Wetumpka – Anna Kate Norton, sr., SS; Katie Hart, sr., OF; Tallassee – Avary Lumpkin, fr., DH; Elmore County – Ella Watts, jr., OF; Stanhope Elmore – Neci King, jr., P/1B; Mckayla Wilson, sr., SS; Holtville – Cyndi Thornton, sr., 2B; Bella Farmer, jr., SS; Haley Walker, sr., C; Edgewood – Grayson Laney, jr., 1B

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.