Photo | Courtesy Spring Hill College
Hannah Brenton, a Mobile Christian School graduate, is on Spring Hill College’s all-conference preseason roster.
Some of the best college softball teams in the South can be found in Mobile County. Here is a quick review of the squads chasing postseason berths.
University of Mobile (UM): The Rams, led by third-year head coach Alison Sellers-Cook, were picked No. 1 in the 2020 Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) preseason poll. UM, which earned the 2019 SSAC Regular Season and Tournament Championship last year, received eight of nine first-place votes to repeat as league champs.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) also announced its preseason poll. After going 52-13 in 2019, the Rams were ranked No. 7 in the country. This was the same position in which UM finished in the final 2019 poll.
“It is a great honor to be recognized as one of the top teams in the NAIA,” Sellers-Cook said. “We have several key returners on the team along with some talented newcomers. I believe this team has a real shot to compete just like last season. If we can stay healthy and everyone does their jobs, we will be a hard team to beat.”
The Rams return 2019 All-Conference selections senior Hope Cain (25-4, 1.36 ERA), junior Allison Vincent (0.342, 76 hits, 40 RBIs, 19 steals), senior Savannah Woodruff of Saraland (0.299, 50 hits, 13 steals) and junior Kaylee Pullin (0.304, 12 doubles).
Cain earned NAIA honorable mention All-American honors after being the SSAC Tournament’s MVP. She ended the season ranked 15th in the country in innings pitched (196), 16th in opponent batting average (0.186) and 17th in ERA (1.36). She also recorded 106 strikeouts.
Cain, Vincent and Pullin were named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s all-region teams.
Spring Hill College (SHC): In their first season of eligibility, the Badgers earned a berth in the NCAA Division II playoffs after capturing the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) championship. Head coach Steve Kittrell has several members of that team back to defend their crown, including five on the preseason all-league roster.
Junior pitcher Hannah Brenton (Mobile Christian School) returns after going 16-7 on the mound that included 18 complete games, 4 shutouts and a shared shutout, as well as a 2.11 ERA over 159 1/3 innings pitched with 110 strikeouts.
Junior second baseman Delaney Thomas (Baker High School) led SHC with a 0.376 batting average with nine home runs and 18 doubles for 44 RBIs with just two strikeouts in 157 at bats.
Senior catcher Aly Fowler completes the first-team SIAC selections. She had a 0.356 batting average that included 22 RBIs off 31 hits with four doubles.
New to the preseason honors is junior shortstop Hannah Fillmore (Brewton), who hit 0.331 with 42 RBIs, 16 doubles, seven home runs and 0.926 fielding percentage.
Pitcher Olivia Brown was also selected for the second-team unit after a 5-4 record in 10 starts as a true freshman with a 3.91 ERA. She has already been named as a SIAC Pitcher of the Week as she held Mississippi College to one run off five hits and no walks while striking out three batters in a 2-1 Badgers victory.
Also picking up SIAC pitching honors this year is sophomore Morgan Kramer. She allowed just four hits and a walk with no strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings of relief pitching as SHC rallied to win a 5-4 walk-off decision over the University of Montevallo.
University of South Alabama (USA): Outfielders Brittani Reid and Victoria Ortiz have been named to the first-team All-Sun Belt Conference softball teams. The postseason accolades are the first for these players, and mark the seventh straight season that South has had at least two first-team selections.
Sitting at the top of the Jaguar lineup, Reid ranked among the Sun Belt leaders in several different offensive categories: batting average (0.375), slugging percentage (0.625), on-base percentage (0.474), runs (40), hits (60) and walks (27). The junior ended the regular season tied with Ortiz for the league lead in doubles (17), which set the single-season record at USA. She can play left field, second base and be the designated player.
Ortiz became a mainstay in right field for the Jags as a freshman after finishing at Baker High School. She was just outside the league leaders in batting average (0.357) and home runs (six), while ranking in the top five in slugging percentage (0.628).
Other returning letter winners include junior pitcher Jamie Finnical (2-4, 7.28 ERA) and junior catcher Kamdyn Kvistad (0.325, 49 hits, 20 runs, six doubles, eight homers, 79 RBIs). Outfielders are senior MC Nichols (0.189, seven hits, 14 runs, one triple, three RBIs), junior Amanda Flynn (three hits, seven runs, one triple, two RBIs). Infielders are senior Katelyn Gruich (0.265, 36 hits, 25 runs, five doubles, nine homers, 25 RBIs), senior Abby Krzwiecki (0.252, 30 hits, 12 runs, five doubles, one triple, four homers, 23 RBIs), sophomore Kennedy Cronan of Daphne (0.324, 48 hits, 31 runs, nine doubles, 11 homers, 38 RBIs, 22 walks), sophomore Holly Stewart (0.239, 11 hits, two doubles, 10 RBIs), sophomore Jordyn Calderon (nine runs) and sophomore Caroline Nichols (14 runs).
Coach Becky Clark’s team was picked to finish eighth in the SBC preseason poll.
Mobile Youth Leagues
The Mobile Parks & Recreation Department has scheduled several youth leagues. Here is a list of the activities.
Track & field: Registration is now open. The season runs March 2 to May 16. Cost is $35 per individual. It is located at Murphy and Davidson high schools. For information, call Jan Hickman at 251-208-1630 or send an email to email@example.com.
Baseball: Registration is March 17 and 19. The season runs April 4 to May 30. Cost is $200 per team. For information, call Coach Fluker at 251-208-1649 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Soccer: Registration is now open. The season runs March 21 to June 6. Cost is $100 per team (under-6 and under-8) or $200 per team (under-10 and under-12). It will be located at Sage Park. For information, call Coach Z at 251-208-1665 or send an email to email@example.com.
Softball: Registration is March 10 and 12. The season runs April 4 to May 4. Cost is $200 per team. For information, call Coach Fluker at 251-208-1649 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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