Over the weekend, the Alabama Sports Writers Association released its 2021 All-State baseball and softball teams. Hayden’s Lindsey Smith, Becca Benton, and Miah Simmons; Appalachian’s Ashley Maddox, Jordan Henderson, and Taylor Woodard; and Locust Fork’s Hannah Payne and Savannah Neely were recognized for a stellar 2021 season. Oneonta’s Luke Hodge and Will Moye were recognized on the 4A All-State team while Hayden’s Carson Snow made the 5A team.
Smith wrapped up her high school career repeating as the Class 5A Hitter of the Year while also earning a first team spot on the 5A All-State team. She finished the season with a .553 batting average and .687 on base percentage. With 40 singles, 16 doubles, 11 triples, 20 home runs, and 23 walks, she scored 93 runs and tallied 53 RBIs.
During her varsity career, which started in ninth grade, she hit a total of 52 home runs. As a sophomore, she was an integral part of the Wildcats’ 5A State Championship; she was named tournament MVP. Smith now heads to UAB where she will continue her softball career with the Lady Blazers.
Fellow teammates Benton and Simmons were named to the 5A All-State second team. Benton finished her junior season with a .468 batting average and has already committed to continue her softball career at Wallace State. Simmons, with a batting average of .425, finished the season strong. She was also a force to be reckoned with in the pitcher’s circle. She finished her sophomore season with 19 wins and a 1.76 ERA. She pitched 131 innings allowing only 33 earned runs. She struck out 97 of the batters she faced while giving up 109 hits.
The Lady Eagles placed three on the 1A All-State team with Maddox and Henderson named to the first team and Woodard the second team. Henderson finished the season with a .518 batting average and .637 on base percentage hitting eight home runs and tallying 33 RBIs. She set Appalachian’s single season home run record. In the field she recorded 57 putouts, nine assists, and three double plays. Henderson is committed to Central Alabama Community College. Over the course of the season, Maddox pitched 146.1 innings finishing with a 2.952 ERA. In those 146 innings, she recorded 167 strikeouts; 41 innings where she faced only three batters; 114 innings where she didn’t walk a batter; four one-hit games; and eight shut outs. Fielding, Maddox finished with 25 putouts, seven assists, and one double play. Woodard closed out her high school career with a batting average of .462 and an on base percentage of .512 with a strike out percentage of .059. She hit one home run this season and knocked in 21 runs. In the field, she recorded 66 putouts, 12 assists, and three double plays.
Payne closed out her high school career with a .462 batting average. She went through the entire season with no strike outs at the plate. The 2A Area 11 MVP struck out 150 batters with an ERA of 2.2 earning her a place on the 2A All-State second team. Neely received honorable mention accolades for her senior season performance for the Lady Hornets. She finished the year with 52 hits (31 singles, nine doubles, six triples, and six home runs), 41 RBIs, 36 runs, and a .571 batting average.
Last December, Payne and Neely each signed with Bevill State Community College providing the long-time teammates the opportunity to continue playing together at the collegiate level. Bevill State plans to use Payne primarily as a pitcher while Neely will be utilized in the infield and outfield.
Both Hodge and Moye were recognized by the ASWA for their roles in Oneonta’s run to the championship game. While the Redskins came up short in the final series, Hodge and Moye were named to the 4A All-State first team. Hodge finished his junior season with an ERA of 2.44 and eight wins. He allowed 53 hits and 16 earned runs through 59 innings pitched. He struck out 73 while walking 22. Moye wrapped up his Redskin career with a .339 batting average. He accumulated 41 hits, 35 runs, and 31 RBIs.
Snow’s pitching caught the eye of the ASWA who placed him on the 5A All-State second team. In 42 innings pitched, he struck out 55 while walking just eight batters. He finished his sophomore season with an ERA of 1.71 allowing only eight earned runs on 55 hits.