Sand Rock sophomore Jadyn Foster is as humble and quiet a softball player as one will ever meet, but her game certainly speaks volumes.
Not only did she pick up her 600th career strikeout in the circle as a pitcher (and is fast approaching 700), she also set a school record at the plate with 16 home runs in leading the Lady Wildcats to the Class 2A state tournament.
When it came time to select its all-state softball teams, it was Foster’s power that impressed the Alabama Sports Writers Association the most. She earned a first-team spot at designated hitter.
Foster batted .459 with the aforementioned 16 home runs, 13 doubles, four triples, 17 stolen bases, eight walks, 73 runs scored and 61 RBIs. She also went 21-11 in the circle with three no-hitters and three saves, 220 strikeouts and a 3.00 ERA.
“She doesn’t like a lot of spotlight put on her. She’s all about the team and wants the team to be successful,” Sand Rock coach Josh Bates said. “She wants herself to be successful, but she wants to make sure Sand Rock wins.
“She swings a big stick. She had an outstanding year at the plate with the way she was able to hit the ball. She’s put in countless hours at the field on her own. I think her dad would say any time there’s any break she’s like ‘Let’s go hit, let’s go hit.’ She always wants one more pitch, one more ball. She’s never satisfied. Her attitude and her work ethic are just unreal, and it’s paid off big time for her with what she was able to accomplish this year.”
Joining Foster from Sand Rock (34-22-1) as Second-Team All-State selections is freshman second baseman Katelyn St. Clair and senior center fielder Maggie Hester. Sophomore pitcher/third baseman EllaGrace Hood earned an honorable mention as a utility player.
In all, 14 area softball players from the WEIS Radio coverage area earned all-state softball recognition. The teams were released on Saturday.
St. Clair batted .399 with 24 doubles, 12 walks, four triples, nine home runs, 66 runs scored and 59 RBIs. Hester batted .445 with 10 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 22 stolen bases, 14 walks, 47 runs scored and 25 RBIs.
Hood batted .401 with 13 doubles, six home runs, a triple, 39 runs scored and 42 RBIs. As a pitcher, she went 12-8 with three saves and a no-hitter, 153 strikeouts and a 2.07 ERA.
“All of those girls are very well-deserving of being representatives on the all-state team,” Bates said. “Katelyn had a great year at the plate. Being a ninth grader, she stepped up and was our leadoff hitter and did a great job getting us started. Maggie Hester, her season ended at regionals with the (shoulder) injury, but she had a great year at the plate and was always a big threat to get on with her speed. She was going to give us a chance to move her and score that run. EllaGrace stepped in and did a great job in the circle for us. Down the stretch she pitched some great ball games and gave us a chance to win. We just didn’t hit with her the way she pitched. I think they all put in a lot of work for the success we had.”
Class 2A Spring Garden (26-12), which also reached the state tournament this season, had three second-team selections in junior pitcher Abbey Steward, junior shortstop Neely Welsh and eighth grade center fielder Avery Steward.
Abbey Steward compiled a 14-11 record in the circle with two saves, 175 strikeouts and a 2.28 ERA. She also batted .423 at the plate with 14 doubles, two homers, 17 runs scored and 27 RBIs.
Welsh batted .407 with 16 doubles, five home runs, four triples, 15 walks, 29 runs and 38 RBIs.
Avery Steward batted.492 with nine doubles, a triple, 10 walks, 35 runs scored and 18 RBIs.
In Class 3A, another state tournament participant had three players earn all-state recognition: the Piedmont Lady Bulldogs (26-25-2).
Freshman pitcher/second baseman Savannah Smith earned a second-team utility spot. She batted .390 with 10 doubles, three home runs, 21 walks, 46 runs scored and 34 RBIs. As a pitcher, Smith went 12-9 in the circle with a pair of saves, 72 strikeouts and a 2.82 ERA.
Senior first baseman Grace Epperson grabbed a second-team infield spot. She batted .409 with 16 doubles, 15 walks, eight home runs, 32 runs scored and 66 RBIs.
Senior Reese Franklin claimed an honorable mention at catcher. She batted .359 with 11 doubles, two triples, two home runs, 25 walks, nine stolen bases, 18 runs and 39 RBIs.
In their first season in Class 3A, the Collinsville Lady Panthers (18-16-1) had a pair of second-team selections in senior third baseman Caroline Brannon and sophomore first baseman Sophia Wills. Wills was chosen as a second-team designated hitter.
Brannon batted .577 with 14 home runs, seven doubles, 54 runs and 43 RBIs. Wills batted .509 with 11 doubles, six home runs, 30 runs scored and 46 RBIs.
Class 1A Cedar Bluff (13-26-1), which made the state tournament for the first time in school history last season, had a second-team infielder in sophomore shortstop Mattie Payne. Payne batted .390 with six doubles, three triples, two home runs, 11 walks, seven stolen bases, 34 runs scored and 31 RBIs.
Class 4A Cherokee County (22-18) also had a second- team selection in senior pitcher Alana Loyd. Loyd went 22-6 in the circle with eight saves, 179 strikeouts and a 1.69 ERA in the circle. She also batted .393 at the plate in helping the Lady Warriors reach the East Central Regional in Montgomery.
You can see the complete ASWA All-State Teams on the WEIS Radio social media sites.