Tallassee climbs to PCA tourney final

Caleb Turrentine / The Tribune Tallassee’s Sinclair Cole connects with a pitch for a three-run homer to put the Tigers ahead in the quarterfinal game against Marbury.

With multiple Division I programs vying for her signature, Sinclair Cole was ready to take her time with the decision of where she would be playing softball at the next level. Offers from Howard, Grambling State and Florida A&M on the table, Alabama A&M coach Cassandra Brown told Cole to take her time with the decision and that was enough for Cole to feel right at home.

“I really think they may have been my best offer,” Cole said. “My parents are alumni so I have been there and had fun so it’s a familiar atmosphere but it’s still far enough away that I can branch out on my own.”

Cole made the announcement she was committed to the Bulldogs last week and she will make it official with a signing at Tallassee on Dec. 4. After signing with A&M, Cole will put all of her focus on getting the Tigers over the hump as they search for a spot in the Class 5A state tournament in the spring.

“I still have a lot to do here,” Cole said. “I want to go all the way and win state. I think we have the team to do it so I’m looking forward to winning with these girls.”

Over the last two seasons, Cole has been one of the leading hitters in Tallassee’s strong offense. She has a .313 batting average over 246 at bats and has recorded seven home runs and 71 RBIs. 

Cole has also been heavily involved with Tallassee’s pitching rotation, going 24-1 in the circle. Last year, Cole finished with a 2.18 ERA in 100 innings, including four scoreless innings in the postseason.

“She works really hard at that,” Tallassee coach Pat Love said. “She’s a great pitcher and she’s a strong player with some great stuff. Any time you take a pitcher that can hit like that too, coaches like to see that. And she has a lot of pop in that bat.”

While Cole will continue to work in the circle for the Tigers, she knows she may focus on hitting once she gets to A&M. She also said that was a big factor in her decision as she believes the Bulldogs can help her develop at the plate.

“I know I’m a power hitter and they have a hitting facility that coach (Brown) said I could use whenever I want,” Cole said. “Sometimes I just like going by myself and hitting for fun so that was a big plus.”

Cole said there is plenty to do before she can be fully prepared for the next level but she is ready to get to work. She said the biggest thing will be staying in shape and working on conditioning as those things will be needed more than ever to play in college.

Love has high hopes for his program every year but he said the goal is always to get better and prepare the players to have a future on the field. Love said Cole still has work to do but there is not going to be any change in her approach to the game this year.

“To be honest, I really think I’m going to coach the same way,” Love said. “Everything we do here is to get them ready for the next level. We’re always tough on them so I don’t think she needs us to be any tougher.”

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.