Nearly a month after capturing the school’s first ever softball state championship, the Tornadoes are adding awards to the mix with pitcher Grayson Culverson and coach Chris Harris picking up two of the most coveted honors in Class 1A.
Culverson was named the 1A Pitcher of the Year while Harris was named the 1A Coach of the Year. The All-State Softball Team was released by the Alabama Sports Writers Association on Friday.
Culverson was a first-team All-State pitcher while fellow senior Savannah Jones was a first-team selection in the outfield. Parrish junior shortstop Makenze Morgan was an honorable-mention selection.
At the state tournament, Culverson mowed down the competition last month in Montgomery. She gave up just five runs in 28 1/3 innings of work, tossing a shutout over Kinston in the championship game.
“She’s probably the best big-game pitcher I’ve ever had,” Harris said of his ace. “Every time I put her into a big game she showed up. Not to mention, she had 16 RBIs through the area, regional and state (tournaments). Every time we needed a big hit, she came through. I believe she had five hits with two outs and runners in scoring position. She’s probably the best big-time player I’ve seen. She has that mentality. She relishes the moment when it’s a big game.”
Jones finished the season with 94 stolen bases. She also hit .502 and scored 55 runs from the leadoff spot.
“Savannah was the sparkplug as far as scoring runs. If she got on base, big things happened,” Harris said.
Harris is the first local Coach of the Year award winner since Sumiton Christian’s Jessica Aderholt was named the 3A Coach of the Year in 2010.
“Being named Coach of the Year, I know the name on it makes it sound singular, but it’s more of a staff and team accomplishment. It’s a credit to the girls I have and the coaches who are with me,” Harris said. “It has my name on it, but it should include my assistant coaches: Chris Winchester, Shane Tyree, David Robertson and Eddie Cagle.”
Parrish finished the season 40-10, including a 10-1 mark in the playoffs with the only loss coming to Kinson at the State Softball Tournament.
The Tornadoes won the area title and finished as the No. 1 qualifier out of the North Central Regional Tournament before heading to Montgomery.
“It still hasn’t sunk it that we won it,” said Harris, an assistant principal at Parrish. “It has from time to time, but I haven’t really had a chance to sit back and think about it.”
Parrish wasn’t the only school with All-State players.
A pair of Sumiton Christian eighth-graders were named first team All State.
First baseman/pitcher Kendall Beth Sides and pitcher/third baseman Jenna Ergle made the squad.
Sides hit .500 for the Eagles, who finished fifth at the state tournament. She scored 62 runs, had 27 RBIs and stole 37 bases. On the mound, she struck out 144 batters in 140 innings and finished with a 2.69 ERA.
Ergle hit .468 while scoring 44 runs, hitting seven home runs and driving in 66 runs. She finished 19-14 on the mound with a 1.48 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 184 innings.
Sumiton Christian junior Katlyn Sides was an honorable mention selection at utility.
A total of five players from Class 1A, Area 10 made first-team All-State.
Lynn’s Reagan Tittle is the first-team catcher. She hit .564 for the Bears this season along with three home runs, 17 doubles and 42 RBIs.
In Class 3A, Cordova’s Faith Sims was the first-team All-State utility player for the second straight season.
Sims led the Blue Devils to within one game of the State Softball Tournament before falling to Good Hope at the North-Central Regional Tournament in Tuscaloosa.
Sims had another banner season. In 230 innings, she allowed just 83 hits and 48 walks while striking out 387 batters. She tossed three perfect games and 15 shutouts and finished the season with a 0.56 ERA. At the plate, she hit .426 with an on base percentage of .676. She had six home runs and 22 RBIs.
In Class 5A, Curry freshman pitcher Ashlee Swindle was an honorable mention selection for the Yellow Jackets, who finished third at the State Softball Tournament.
Corner senior Jordan Entrekin was named first-team All State at second base in Class 4A while teammate Madison McCormack was an honorable mention pitcher.