Prep softball: St. Albans duo enters record books
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - St. Albans softball Coach Greg Garber said the team's two seniors were in an ill frame of mind early last week when some simple math caught up to them.
"They realized they weren't going to be able to beat the (school) record for most wins by a senior class," Garber said of catcher Mariah Caudill and pitcher Ali Haynes, both of whom have been in the Red Dragons' starting lineup since the team's Class AAA state championship-winning season of 2010.
Caudill was the team's second baseman that season while Haynes patrolled left field.
The pair has won 95 games in their career. The Class of 2008, a team that included Caudill's older sister, Markayla Caudill, as well as Brittany Handley, Kayli Carter and Kaitlyn McGrath, among others, set the school standard at 112 wins.
Caudill and Haynes have been in their current positions since 2011, and enter this week with a 17-3 mark in 2013. SA has nine regular-season games remaining.
"They could still do it, but we'd pretty much have to run the table the rest of the way," Garber said.
While the odds of Haynes and Caudill reaching their school-based goal are not in their favor, more math might serve to provide a positive bookend to what has been a highly successful run.
Haynes enters the week with a career pitching record of 67-11. According to Daily Mail records, her win total is the highest of any Class AAA pitcher in Kanawha County history.
The Secondary School Activities Commission first sanctioned softball as a championship sport in 1981, though numerous schools participated in the sport on a club level before then, much like lacrosse today.
Still, statistics have never been easy to rely upon. The Daily Mail first issued an All-Kanawha County team in 1997, making tracking of statistics for historical sake more reliable.
Haynes passed the former record held by Herbert Hoover graduate Amy Fleshman, who played for the Huskies in their Class AAA days from 1995-97. Fleshman finished her career with a 61-13 mark. Haynes passed the former Husky with a win at Clay County on April 2.
Only one other Class AAA pitcher in Kanawha County history has 60 or more wins: Anita Massey of South Charleston, who went 60-25 from 1999-2001. Haynes' winning percentage (.859) is the highest of the three most successful pitchers of record.
"That's cool. She works really hard and that's a tribute to her and her teams," Garber said.
Haynes' claim to the record incorporates Caudill into another: the duo is thus the winningest Class AAA battery in county history.
Sissonville's Andrea Lewis, a 2003 graduate, won 79 games in her first three seasons in Class AA but a knee injury cut short her prep career.
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SINCE HURRICANE splits its pitching duties between sophomores Emily Davis and Courtney Rogers, neither are likely to approach Haynes' career total.
That duo has already been highly successful in its own right, lead the Redskins to their first MSAC title a year ago, but has been thus far overshadowed by the Redskins' hitting prowess. In home wins last week against No. 4 St. Albans and No. 2 Cabell Midland, Hurricane (18-3) hit .508 as a team. They touched Haynes for 12 hits and seven earned runs in a 9-0 win last Wednesday, then chased Midland ace Kyra Shull after less than three complete innings in what became a wild, 15-13 win.
"I know people question the batting averages and all that, but we just come out and hit the ball," Hurricane Coach Josh Caldwell said. "I've never really seen anything like it. The girls work hard, and they can all hit."
They can also run the bases well, which has proven to be of significant benefit. Leadoff hitter Madi Casto, the team's slick-fielding sophomore second baseman, and No. 2 hitter Nicole Pierson make a habit of finding their way on base without needing the ball to leave the infield.
In fact, in the two aforementioned games the Redskins managed nine infield hits.
That has helped set the table for the heart of the Redskins' lineup, which includes Rogers and senior catcher Linzie Reynolds, the latter of whom hit three home runs last week to up her area-leading total to five.
Hurricane fell to Midland 8-7 in the semifinals of the Best of the Best Tournament at Buffalo on Saturday. The Redskins enter the week ranked fifth in the state, and last week also picked up wins over Winfield, Nitro - a doubleheader sweep - Nicholas County and University.
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SISSONVILLE IS fighting its way through the season with one senior - pitching standout Bekah Baldwin - but Coach Nikki Gross has her eyes on the road ahead.
"We gained a lot of freshmen from the middle school, which won the (county) championship last year," Gross said after the Indians (9-9) dropped an extra-inning loss to top-ranked Herbert Hoover last week.
"My infield, when Bekah's pitching, my first baseman, second baseman, third baseman and shortstop are all freshmen," Gross said. "We're a young team. I think here in a couple years they're going to be unbeatable. We're young, and we're getting better every game."
Abi Jordan plays first when Baldwin is in the circle, with Reagan Johnson at second, Karli Pinkerton at short and Alexee Haynes at third. Haynes has served as the Indians second pitcher throughout the season.
Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter @ItsreallyDT