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Softball Tigers open this week

By Michael Butler

This week, Pat Love begins his seventh season as head coach of the Tallassee High School softball Tigers. His teams have averaged 30 wins per season and have consistently been among the state's best.

Love's overall record is 179-70-4 during that six-year stretch. Last year's team was 29-15 and just missed a repeat trip to Oxford for the state tournament falling a game short in a 5-4 loss to Brewbaker Tech at the Central Regional in Montgomery.

Five seniors graduated in 2022 and were a big part of setting the standard for THS softball. Chloe Baynes joined the AUM team this season with Love's daughter Lexi. Chloe Davidson is at Faulkner. Avery Lumpkin is at Marion Institute. Alexis Walls is at Central Alabama Community College (CACC).

"Add Belle Haynes into the mix. She could've played anywhere she wanted," said Love. "We've got five holes, but we've got five seniors (this year)."

Some, if not all of those seniors, will continue playing the game after high school as well. Brooke Royster will join CACC in Alex City. Abbie Davis is headed to Coastal Alabama. Jenna Manning is a University of Mobile commitment. Scholarship opportunities are still a possibility for Marlee Stewart and Haley Baker, who are undecided.

Minus aces Davidson and Walls, Love will look to Royster to step up more as a pitcher this season.

"Brooke is probably our ace," he said. "We've got Madeline Weldon. Kam Tate is an eighth grader. She pitched a little last year on the varsity team. We've got Marlee Osborne and Olivia Hammonds."

Posing for a pic at the "Hit-A-Thon" (left to right): Abbie Davis, Alli Smith, Haley Baker, Marlee Stewart, Brooke Royster. Photo by Kyle Thornton.

Tallassee is expected to be one of the teams to beat again in 2023. A consistent top ten pick during Love's tenure, they were ranked No. 3 in the final Alabama Sports Writers Association poll last season.

"It's the same goal - same expectations. I expect this team to be there at the end. We've got a good mix of girls."

Area opponents will be Beauregeard, Valley and rival Elmore County, coached by Mark Segrest.

"We're really good buddies. He's a great coach," Love said of Segrest. "They have a really good team. We have a really good team. It's going to be fun to play each other."

Tallassee opens play in the Prattville Lions Classic. Games are scheduled Feb. 16-18.

THS Pat Love Era (2017-22)

2022: 29-15
2021: 34-13-4
2020: 15-1
2019: 44-9
2018: 32-15
2017: 25-17

*Varsity/JV Schedules