Despite falling one win short of the state tournament, the Tallassee softball team had the winningest season in program history with the help of a record-breaking offense. The Tigers set four program records as a team while Chloe Baynes, Lexi Love and Jordan Walters all set new marks for individual stats.
“That still meant a lot to us,” Tallassee coach Pat Love said. “These girls have worked hard all year. We didn’t really know anything about these records until the end. We just knew we could hit.”
As a team, Tallassee recorded 581 hits and finished with a program-record .396 batting average. The Tigers’ season currently sits in fifth place all time in the AHSAA fast-pitch softball record book.
Tallassee averaged 8.6 runs per game and set a school record with 457 runs in one season, which was the second highest of any classification in the state during 2019. That mark currently sits 19th all time.
“I knew we could hit,” Love said. “We hit about .340 last season but we brought back a lot. I certainly didn’t know we would hit like we did. But when you stack a lot of good hitters like that, you can’t pitch around anyone.”
Baynes may have been the biggest key to Tallassee’s success on offense and the leadoff slapper set some of her own records along the way. She finished the season with a batting average of .669 to move into third place in the state’s history behind Haylie McCleney and Chandler Dare, two former All-American outfielders at Alabama.
In 184 plate appearances, Baynes recorded 117 hits (third all-time) and 90 runs which both set new school records. Her 82 stolen bases also set a new program record and currently sits eighth in the state record books.
“She’s always getting on base which means she’s always scoring runs,” Love said. “When you have that power behind her, it allows us to score a lot of runs and do it very quickly.”
That power started immediately after Baynes as the next five hitters in the lineup recorded at least four home runs during the season. Lexi Love, who finished with seven homers, set a school record with 84 RBI which ranks 25th in the state’s history.
“The good thing about Lexi is she can do it from all angles,” Pat Love said. “She can lay down a bunt or hit the long ball. When she’s in the three-hole, she’s going to get good pitches with the power behind her.”
Walters found her way into the record books at the plate and in the circle. She set school records for doubles in a season with 26 and for pitching wins with 26.
Tallassee finished with five players recorded a batting average of .400 or higher while 13 players reached base in at least 32 percent of its at-bats. Love said he believes his team did a good job of pushing each other to be better the whole season.
“Everybody wants to be in the starting nine,” Love said. “We have really good players sitting on the bench so it gets really competitive and that helps.”
The Tigers will bring almost everyone back next season and the offense will look to put some more numbers into the record books. Love said the team batting average was the most impressive part but now he believes raising that average to .400 is a real possibility.
“There’s still room for improvement,” Love said. “We’re losing one senior and we can’t expect to hit like they hit this year but we strive to be productive. They’re going to work this offseason and I think that is definitely something we can achieve.”