December 19, 2018

Harris, Bennett lead way in Region 5-AA postseason softball awards

Region 5-AA Offensive Player of the Year Ally Harris (Photo: Penny Hood)

Region 5-AA Offensive Player of the Year Ally Harris (Photo: Penny Hood)

(Franklin) — The 2016 Region 5-AA Champion Lady Braves softball team earned numerous spots on the All-Region 5-AA team recently.

The All-Region 5-AA squad was voted on in a collaborative post-season effort by the region coaching staffs.

Leading the way for the Lady Braves were senior outfielder Ally Harris and sophomore pitcher Haley Bennett.

Ally Harris was recognized by region coaches as the 2016 Offensive Player of the Year after a huge season a the plate.

Harris finished her senior campaign as a Lady Brave by leading the team in batting average (.416), hits (47), RBI’s (38), and doubles (13) while patrolling right field for Coach Matt Hornsby.

Harris also hit three homers and scored 25 runs.

Haley Bennett was named as the Region 5-AA Co-Pitcher of the Year along with Lamar County’s senior hurler Lexi Head. Bennett earned the starting spot on the hill after a stiff early season competition between four different underclassmen. Bennett won 13 games and had three saves while posting an ERA of 2.92 with 68 strikeouts in 122 and 1/3 innings.

Confirming the depth of the 2016 Lady Braves, almost every starter earned a first team award including each of the seniors that recently signed with college programs.

Shortstop Aspen Barker received a first team nod after a fine season where she batted .373 with 41 base hits while leading the team in runs scored with 35. Aspen also used her speed on the base paths where she swiped 18 bases on just 19 attempts.

Another senior, third baseman Hannah Sanders, earned the first team selection after a season where she batted .318 with a team high eight home runs and 29 RBI’s. Sanders finishes her career as the number two home run hitter of all time (22) just behind Cali Harrod (24).

Hannah Stephens was recognized as an All-Region first-teamer at first base. The clutch-hitting senior batted .363 for the season with 37 hits and was second on the squad in RBI’s with 31.

Region 5-AA Co-pitcher of the Year Sophomore Haley Bennett

Region 5-AA Co-pitcher of the Year Sophomore Haley Bennett

Alyssa Cosper’s first team selection came after the senior left fielder batted .409 with 45 hits and 29 runs scored while leading the team with 21 stolen bases in 21 attempts.

In addition to the seniors, three lower underclassmen earned first team honors including sophomore center fielder Kaitlyn Baldwin, sophomore pitcher Mallory Gallaway, and freshman catcher Brittany Graley.

Baldwin batted .317 with 20 hits including three doubles and stole six bases despite missing several late season games due to injury.

Gallaway was second on the team in wins with four while posting an outstanding 3.11 earned run average and striking out 27 over 36 innings of work.

Graley filled the defensive shoes of Anna Shelnutt nicely in her first season as a varsity Lady Brave and at the plate had 21 hits including a homer, four doubles, and 10 RBI’s.

Five Lady Braves earned second team All-Region accolades and they were infielder Hannah Holden (21 RBI’s, 29 runs scored, 11 steals), pitchers Sydney Gay (2 wins, 18 strikeouts) and Katelyn Jiles (4 wins, 11 strikeouts), and utility base-runners Alexus Crawford (12 steals) and Tori Caldwell (13 steals).

The junior tandem of Anna Cosper (7 RBI’s) and Brittany Scarborough (12 steals) also earned honorable mentions as utility players.

Coach Hornsby will face some challenges in replacing the very talented senior class in 2017, but will return a lot of talent at the pitching position and a few middle school prospects could be competing for playing time as incoming freshmen.

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