CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It's been a while since Sissonville enjoyed its reign of dominance in Class AA softball.
The Indians won six state championships from 1996-2002, claiming three-peats on two separate occasions with star players such as Rebekah Kendall, Kim Reed, and sisters Annie and Andrea Lewis.
The school has continued to produce individual stars throughout the past decade, but suddenly there appears to be a group of young players in the program with the potential to take it back to the top.
Sissonville started four freshmen in 2013 and with them, upset rival Herbert Hoover in the Region 4 semifinals to reach the regional final. The Indians lost 7-4 at defending state champion Wayne last Thursday, ending their year with a 17-13 record.
At the head of Sissonville's Class of 2016 is Alexee Haynes, a pitcher/third baseman who hit .494 with six home runs, 15 doubles, two triples and 31 RBI. She was 8-3 in the circle with 96 strikeouts and a 2.28 ERA.
Haynes headlines the inaugural Daily Mail Kanawha Valley All-Rookie Team, and has been chosen as the area's Rookie of the Year.
"Watching her come up through middle school and everything, once she got here to the high school she's everything I thought she would be and more," Sissonville Coach Nikki Gross said. "It was definitely great to have someone with that much talent come in and be able to contribute the way she did this year."
Haynes is the first player from Sissonville to win the Rookie of the Year award (formerly known as the Freshman of the Year) since Kendall won it in 2001. Andrea Lewis won it a year earlier. The award was first given in 1997.
While Sissonville All-State utility player Bekah Baldwin sometimes struggled as the team's ace in 2013 and often took hard-luck losses, Haynes' abilities gave the West Virginia State-bound senior opportunities to rest and regain her effectiveness, Gross said.
"There's a lot of talent in our conference. It's a battle day after day," Gross said. "We could rest Bekah and not lose much by throwing Nikki."