With Tallassee hosting Auburn last week, fans witnessed something they had not seen for nearly two years. Chloe Baynes was thrown out trying to steal third base, ending her streak of 115 consecutive stolen base attempts without being caught.
“Losing my streak really upset me and I had to try to deal with it throughout the game,” Baynes said. “I also wanted to stay up for my team but it was tough because that meant so much to me.”
The 115-base streak sits in third place for the most consecutive steals in a career, according to the AHSAA website. Baynes was 36 games shy of the state record which is held by Danville’s Kristy Roberts.
“We really started noticing it about midway through her seventh-grade year,” Tallassee coach Pat Love said. “She was 39 of 40 that year. It’s something you start paying attention to every game and keep that tally going. If she gets a single, it’s pretty much a double.”
It did not take long for Baynes to get redemption after being thrown out in the third inning of the win over Auburn. She finished the game with a season-high four stolen bases in one game, stealing second two more times in the final three innings.
“She is always going to have the green light,” Love said. “If she wants to steal, I’m going to let her do it. She was upset about it but we’re going to move on from there and she’s already started a new streak now.”
Baynes, a freshman center fielder, has now been thrown out twice during her varsity career and is looking to set a new number for herself during her final three and a half high school seasons. She has her sights set on a specific name on the list ahead of her.
“Being in the record books is something that means a lot to me,” Baynes said. “Seeing my name right next to Haylie McCleney, who was one of the greatest center fielders for Alabama, that amazes me so now I’m trying to get my name above hers.”
McCleney was a former standout at Mortimer Jordan and had a streak of 137 consecutive stolen base attempts without being thrown out. Baynes is hoping to beat McCleney’s number and take the same path to Tuscaloosa to play college softball.
Despite losing her streak, Baynes said she has not lost her confidence. The Tigers rely on Baynes on the top of the order and she delivers more often than not.
In her first 84 plate appearances this season, Baynes has reached base 70 times and has recorded 47 stolen bases. She leads Tallassee with a batting average of .692 and 42 runs scored.
“Whether she’s getting a hit or walking or reaching base by an error, it creates such havoc on the bases,” Love said. “Every throw has to be perfect and they’re so busy worrying about her so it helps out at the plate.”
Baynes is a slap hitter from the left side of the plate but will lay down a bunt more often than not, giving the third baseman no chance at throwing her out at first. Once she reaches base, Baynes is going to score more often than not, thanks to Tallassee’s top sluggers Lexi Love and Belle Haynes.
Tallassee has started the season 21-3 and expects to compete for a state championship in Class 5A. With Baynes at the top of the lineup, it is going to take something special to knock off the Tigers — for this season and many years to come.