Tittle a fixture for Lynn softball team
by Johnathan Bentley
May 14, 2014 | 2329 views | 0 0 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lynn's Reagan Tittle gets a hit during the North Central Regional Tournament in Tuscaloosa on Friday. Tittle, a senior, has started for the Bears since her seventh-grade season. Lynn plays its opener at the State Softball Tournament at 9 a.m. Thursday. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
Lynn's Reagan Tittle gets a hit during the North Central Regional Tournament in Tuscaloosa on Friday. Tittle, a senior, has started for the Bears since her seventh-grade season. Lynn plays its opener at the State Softball Tournament at 9 a.m. Thursday. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
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LYNN — Philip Smith first wrote Reagan Tittle’s name into the starting lineup six years ago, when the Lynn star softball player was just 12 years old.

Since then, Tittle, who has started every game for the Bears since her seventh-grade year, has etched her name across the state record book.

The senior will close out her storied career at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park this weekend in the State Softball Tournament. The No. 3 Bears take on No. 4 Kinston at 9 a.m. Thursday in the Class 1A opener.

Lynn softball coach Philip Smith remembers Tittle’s first at bat at the varsity level.

“The first pitcher she ever had to face was (Hannah) Pendley from Oakman, who could sling it,” Smith said. “She struck out her first two at bats. It took her about three games, but by the end of that tournament, she was right there with us.”

Tittle remembers it a little differently.

“I was really nervous. I was so young to be out there with the older players, but a lot of them really helped me out,” the senior shortstop said.

Lynn made the State Softball Tournament in Tittle’s seventh- and eighth-grade years but went through a three-year drought before earning a trip to Montgomery this year.

“We had a lot of pressure to get back. We haven’t been since my eighth-grade year. There was so much pressure to get back. Now that we are there, the pressure is off. It’s time to play. I feel like we will do our job,” Tittle said.

Lynn has already set a school record for wins and brings a 46-8 record into Thursday’s game.

Tittle, a UNA signee, could tell early on that this year’s team had a chance to do something special.

Lynn opens every year with the Lynn Invitational Tournament in March.

“At the end of our tournament, I realized it was going to be a great year. The seniors have been playing together for our whole lives,” said Tittle, who along with seniors Brooke Harris, Brooklyn Beck, Tiffany Self and Emma Easley, make up the core of the team.

At the regional tournament, Tittle had a pair of doubles, two runs and two RBIs on the final day as the Bears lost to Sumiton Christian and knocked off Tharptown to finish as the No. 2 qualifier at the North Central Regional Tournament in Tuscaloosa on Saturday.

It was just another day for Tittle.

“Over the weekend, we needed a couple of big hits, and she steps up and always delivers. There have been three times where she’s been walked intentionally with the bases loaded,” Smith said. “I can’t say I blame the other coaches. Reagan doesn’t have bad at bats. Every time you look at the book, it seems like she goes 3 for 4 with a triple and two doubles. I told her dad several times that if he would’ve had triplets,we wouldn’t be sweating anything.”

Tittle is hitting close to the .600 mark this season and leads the team in runs from her leadoff spot.

“Coaches talk all the time about once-in-a-lifetime kids, but Reagan truly is one,” Smith said. “Not only has she started every game since seventh grade, she’s in the top five in five different categories (in the state record book): runs, RBIs, doubles, triples and hits. The stats speak for themselves.

“It will be different. She’s been in the lineup either at outfield, second base or shortstop. You can put her anywhere. We were up on one team and Reagan wanted to pitch. She hadn’t pitched since the fifth grade. She comes out there and struck out three batters. It’s one of those things where if there is a sport that involves a ball, she’s good at it,” Smith said.

Next year Tittle will be at UNA. It will mark the first time since her junior high years that Smith isn’t her coach.

“Coach Smith is the best coach I’ve ever had. It wouldn’t be the same without him out there. It will be really odd to go to UNA and be coached by somebody else. I really appreciate what he’s done for us. We wouldn’t be here without him.”

With Lynn’s seniors down to their last few games, Smith isn’t trying to put the inevitable finish to the season out of his mind.

“Whatever happens, even if we walk off and win the last one, it’s going to be pretty emotional. I’ve watched that whole group grow up. What they’ve meant to the school, community and softball program is unreal. It will look different on that field next year. It will be weird to write a lineup without those five in it,” he said.