Bailey Swann’s farewell season couldn’t have gone much better.
The recent Good Hope graduate — now a freshman at Snead State — turned in a wonderful senior campaign on the softball field this past spring.
And more than a handful of people took notice.
How could they not?
Swann nabbed first-team status (infielder) in Class 4A when the Alabama Sports Writers Association released its annual All-State squads last month.
And the accolades aren’t over with quite yet, either.
Swann is The Times’ 2019 All-Area Softball Player of the Year.
West Point’s Makayla Brown (Hitter of the Year), Good Hope’s Sidnie English (Pitcher of the Year) and Good Hope’s Tim Tucker (Coach of the Year) took home the other top awards on this year’s All-Area Softball Team.
Swann was one of the toughest outs in the state last season.
The third baseman batted .563 with a tremendous .678 on-base percentage, a .971 slugging percentage and a 1.649 OPS. She compiled 60 runs, 58 hits, 53 RBIs, 34 walks, 31 stolen bases, 16 doubles, six home runs and four triples — all while striking out only four times.
With those numbers, it’s no wonder Swann struck fear into the hearts of opposing coaches.
Just ask West Point coach Eric Pendley, who had to face Swann just once this season — the championship contest of the Cullman County Softball Tournament.
Talk about having to make high-pressure decisions.
“Swann has the whole skill set,” Pendley said. “You have to determine if you’re going to chance her hitting one 250 (feet) or walk her. We were close to facing that decision in the final inning of the championship game. They had runners on first and second with two outs (trailing 5-3), and we had a 3-1 count to a very good hitter. I had already decided that if we walked that hitter, we were going to give up a run by also walking Swann. She’s just too dangerous to pitch to with the game close.
“I’ve seen this kid play many years and coached her some as well. She will play big-girl ball one day.”
Swann’s many talents no doubt caused some hand-wringing throughout various dugouts.
Except, of course, her own.
Having a player who can single-handedly change the outcome and strategy of a game is, after all, quite the luxury.
Brown put together an outstanding senior season for the Lady Warriors.
The first baseman crafted a .463 batting average, a .585 on-base percentage, a .972 slugging percentage and a 1.557 OPS to go along with 60 RBIs, 50 hits, 33 runs, 32 walks, 15 home runs and 10 doubles. She notched just four strikeouts in 142 plate appearances.
The Snead State signee also earned second-team honors (infielder) on the 5A All-State Softball Team.
English, meanwhile, played a key role in Good Hope’s fantastic spring.
The pitcher tossed 210 innings for the Lady Raiders, compiling 142 strikeouts, a 2.43 ERA and a 1.157 WHIP.
She capped off her junior campaign with a 32-9 record.
Tucker guided Good Hope to a 33-11 season and a trip to the 4A state tournament.
Along the way, his team won the 4A, Area 12 Tournament and 4A West Central Regional Tournament.
Good Hope (English, Morgan Goodwin, Swann and Skylar Tucker) and West Point (Gracie Abbott, Brown, Molly Pendley and Carlie Wilkins) spearheaded this year’s All-Area first team with four selections apiece, while Cullman (Faith Guest, McKenna Kline and Alex Stansell) had three. Anna Kate Voce (Cold Springs), Katie Ball (Fairview), Cassidy Campbell (Hanceville), Maddie Heatherly (Holly Pond) and Madyson Rickman (Holly Pond) comprised the rest of the honorary squad.
See below for The Times' complete All-Area Softball Team, including honorable mentions.
% Editor's Note: The All-Area Softball Team was handpicked by myself after reviewing the 2019 season and consulting with numerous local softball coaches. However, with a limited number of spots available and plenty of talented players in which to choose from, it's possible some deserving candidates were left out.
The Times' 2019 All-Area Softball Team
Player of the Year: Bailey Swann, Good Hope
Hitter of the Year: Makayla Brown, West Point
Pitcher of the Year: Sidnie English, Good Hope
Coach of the Year: Tim Tucker, Good Hope
Anna Kate Voce, Cold Springs
Faith Guest, Cullman
McKenna Kline, Cullman
Alex Stansell, Cullman
Katie Ball, Fairview
Sidnie English, Good Hope
Morgan Goodwin, Good Hope
Bailey Swann, Good Hope
Skylar Tucker, Good Hope
Cassidy Campbell, Hanceville
Maddie Heatherly, Holly Pond
Madyson Rickman, Holly Pond
Gracie Abbott, West Point
Makayla Brown, West Point
Molly Pendley, West Point
Carlie Wilkins, West Point
Addison: Anna Grace Luker and Destiny Walker
Cold Springs: Crimson Gann and Kylon Hamby
Cullman: Savannah Davis and Sydney Holder
Fairview: Daisy Manasco and Allyson Wooten
Good Hope: Angelina Flanigan and KaiLee Shikle
Hanceville: Peyton Embrey and Destiny Short
Holly Pond: Emili Perry and Lexy Smith
Vinemont: Mackenzie Lawrence and Maddie Oliver
West Point: Braelee Quinn and Lexi Shadix