By Erik Harris, sports editor
It was a season to remember in Tribuneland.
Following a COVID-shortened 2020 campaign, local softball clubs bounced back with quite the collective effort in 2021.
In Class 7A, top-ranked Hewitt-Trussville captured a 49-3-1 record on its way to a second straight state championship. The Huskies were joined at the state tournament by Class 6A No. 4 Springville (39-12) who finished runner-up behind Hazel Green.
The Tribune also saw two others compete in East Central Regional play, including Class 5A Moody and Leeds. The Blue Devils rattled off three straight wins in Montgomery, but ultimately came up one win shy of reaching the state tournament in Oxford.
Once the dust settled, nine local girls would go on to capture all-state spots in their respective classifications, including five from Hewitt-Trussville and four from Springville. Two others were selected as honorable mentions by the Alabama Sports Writers Association.
Hewitt shortstop Kenleigh Cahalan, a sophomore, highlighted the all-state haul as the 7A Hitter of the Year. Her head coach, Taylor Burt, earned the distinction of 7A Coach of the Year following her second state championship run.
With that being said, here’s a look at the 2021 All-Tribune Softball Team.
2021 All-Tribune Softball Team
Anyce Harvey — senior center fielder, Hewitt-Trussville
The Middle Tennessee State signee led off for the state champions last season and swung for an average of .566 to go with 70 RBIs, 11 home runs and 15 doubles. Harvey also reached on 45 of her 48 stolen base attempts.
Mckenzie Brown — senior center fielder, Springville
She scored 37 runs for Springville last season while producing a .397 batting average with six home runs and 41 RBIs. Brown earned first-team all-state honors in Class 6A following the state runner-up finish.
Kenleigh Cahalan — sophomore shortstop, Hewitt-Trussville
The scholarship offers will soon be piling up for the Class of 2023 infielder. Cahalan was named the ASWA’s Class 7A Hitter of the Year after knocking in 86 RBIs thanks in part to 17 homers, 18 doubles and seven triples for the Huskies last season.
Jenna Lord — senior third baseman, Hewitt-Trussville
Lord, a first-teamer on the 7A all-state roster, is headed to Tuscaloosa to play for Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy. She paced Hewitt with 87 RBIs and finished with a .475 batting average with 13 home runs and 17 doubles.
Julia Petty — senior pitcher, Clay-Chalkville
She’s been the ace pitcher at Clay-Chalkville for the last few years. Petty, a senior right-hander, has signed a softball scholarship to Northwest Florida State while also taking part in broadcast, honor society, science olympiad, ambassadors and first priority at CCHS.
Reagan Cornelius — senior pitcher, Springville
A lefty in the Springville pitching rotation, Cornelius (21-6) covered 149.1 innings in the circle with 151 strikeouts. The ace pitcher also hit for an average of .314 as a senior in 2021.
Sophie Gromko — 8th-grade catcher, Leeds
Gromko, an 8th-grade catcher for the Greenwave, posted a .398 batting average with 28 RBIs last season as Leeds rolled to a 5A, Area 10 championship.
Sarah Phillips — freshman pitcher, Hewitt-Trussville
She posted a 16-0 record for the Huskies as a freshman. Phillips, a righty, allowed 24 earned runs in 87 innings thrown with 119 strikeouts — good enough for a second-team nod on the 7A all-state roster.
Graci Black — senior shortstop, Springville
A sure thing at shortstop for Springville, Black pulled her weight on both sides of the ball last season. The senior shortstop scored 46 runs and drove in another 26 runs with a .405 batting average.
Carmen Terry — senior DH, Moody
Terry holds the single-season record for doubles (16) at Moody High School and has signed to play her college ball at Snead State Community College in Boaz. As a senior last season, Terry helped her Blue Devils reach the 5A East Central Regional No. 2 qualifier game and earned an honorable mention spot on the ASWA All-State Team.
Makalyn Kyser — junior utility, Springville
Kyser knocked in 52 RBIs for the Tigers as she posted a .389 batting average with 13 home runs and 17 doubles. Defensively, she split time between third base and catcher for the 6A, Area 13 champions.
Tatum Bartlett — senior catcher, Springville
The senior catcher hit for a .419 average with 49 RBIs, 17 doubles and five home runs in 2021. Bartlett has signed a scholarship with Wallace Community College in Dothan.
Crystal Maze — senior first baseman, Hewitt-Trussville
Maze fought through an injury last season and still homered eight times in 110 at-bats for the Huskies. The Troy signee also posted a .445 batting average with 38 RBIs on her way to a second state title.
Hannah Dorsett — sophomore second baseman, Hewitt-Trussville
She brought energy and talent to the toughest lineup in the state. Dorsett, a sophomore second baseman, connected with 73 hits last season, went 33-for-34 on stolen bag attempts and scored 73 runs for the 7A state champs.
Bella Bullington — freshman pitcher, Springville
This freshman played beyond her years back in May when she guided a walk-off home run to right field in the ninth inning of an East Central Regional game against Gardendale. Bullington faned 85 batters on her way to a 16-4 record while pulling double duty on the offensive end: 35 RBIs, six home runs and seven doubles.
Riley Tyree — junior catcher, Hewitt-Trussville
She had the steadiest glove/mitt on the field. Riley Tyree, who split time between catcher and first base for Hewitt-Trussville, closed out the state championship season with only one error and a .996 fielding percentage. She also drove in 53 runs off 63 hits, including 18 doubles.
Maddie Anthony — senior right fielder, Leeds
The senior right fielder drove in 25 runs for Leeds and finished with an on-base percentage of .472.
Madi Mitchell — senior first baseman, Hewitt-Trussville
Mitchell, a senior at Hewitt-Trussville, was named to the 7A all-state tournament team after the championship climb in Oxford. She hit for an average of .388 and added five home runs.
Bekah Hargrove — junior outfielder, Springville
She hit at the top of the order for the 6A runner-up Tigers and posted a .421 batting average with 37 runs scored.