Belle Haynes hit a grand slam in the Tigers area opener vs. Beauregard on Tuesday.
Photo by Kyle Thornton
Local teams atop poll for first time in history
By Michael Butler
The Tallassee Tigers have attained the top spot in the ASWA poll for the first time ever.
The first installment of the Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 5A softball rankings was released last week with THS at No. 1. In 4A, Elmore County, coached by Tallassee alum Mark Segrest, was atop the poll for the first time in its history as well.
"It's good for the girls," Tallassee head coach Pat Love said. "They've worked really hard. Somebody thinks you're No. 1 now, what are you going to do to make sure you stay on top?"
Segrest also commented on the lofty ranking.
"I was certainly surprised to see Elmore County at number one when the rankings came out," he said. "(It's) just a real testament to the administration and all the coaches who have created an indoor practice facility and put together a great plan to develop the players, which I think is even more important than wins and losses at this stage."
Elmore County is 16-3. Tallassee is 15-1.
"We had some really quality wins in those 16 victories against three losses," said Segrest. "Even though I know that rankings change a lot throughout the year, I’m proud that the girls were recognized for the hard work and effort they have put in since we took over this program."
Tallassee is on a 15-game win streak, the longest in Love's tenure.
"As far as I know, it's the longest ever," Love added. "I don't know any different."
Now, those seasons are hanging in the balance due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Alabama High School Athletic Association has suspended spring sports activities.
The AHSAA issued the following release:
"Based on the Governor’s and the Alabama State Department of Education’s (ALSDE) directives to close all schools across the state for a period of 2.5 weeks beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020, all athletic events including, but not limited to, contests, practices, weightlifting and conditioning are hereby suspended during this time. The AHSAA will continue to work with the ALSDE, Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), Center of Disease Control (CDC) and the AHSAA Medical Advisory Board (MAB) to analyze the status of the current health situation."
When and if school returns in early April, the AHSAA will reevaluate health conditions and determine the status of spring sports championship play.
"It’s really a shame the season is on hold for Elmore County and Tallassee," Segrest pointed out. "It’s amazing that two programs so close together, where the majority of these girls grew up playing together, are ranked number one in their respective classifications. It’s a real testament to a lot of people in this area who helped developed these players at a young age. I certainly hope that for these players, especially the seniors, can play on."
With softball, playoff berths are determined in the area tournament after the regular season. Seeds for the area tourneys are based on area records.
"They've had a bunch of theories, maybe doing a coin flip for seeds to the area tournament. I'm not sure," Love said. "I tell them to keep their heads up."