It’s been quite a 2018 for Alexandria softball.
Former Valley Cub pitching great Lauren O’Dell developed a nasty dropball and turned it into a Division I opportunity after a stay at Shelton State, and she’s settling in nicely at Mercer. As of this writing, she’s 2-0 with a 1.95 ERA in four appearances, including three starts.
Opponents are batting .196 against her.
Former Valley Cub shortstop Timberlyn Shurbutt is doing her thing as a freshman at North Carolina State. She’s started all 19 games, batting .309 with a .381 on-base percentage and .745 slugging percentage. She has the team’s fifth-highest batting average.
Current Alexandria pitcher Emmah Rolfe, merely an eighth-grader, recently committed to Auburn.
Then came a joyous noise in The Valley on Monday, as Alexandria broke through against 5A state power Springville on the field. Millie Burt’s game-ending three-run triple in the bottom of the seventh inning, with two outs, lifted the Valley Cubs to a 6-5 victory.
Yes, Alexandria beat THAT Springville, the one that won the past three 5A state titles.
Alexandria beat THAT Springville, the one that eliminated the Valley Cubs 3-1 in the North Central Regional in 2015, Alexandria’s first year up in 5A after winning a 4A state title.
Springville eliminated Alexandria 9-0 in the 2016 state tournament, ending O’Dell’s high school career.
Springville has been where Alexandria wants to be since reclassification bumped the Valley Cubs up in class, so what a night for the orange-and-black to beat the purple-and-white. It left the head coach blushing-red.
“I apologize for being uncharacteristically overly excited at the end of our game tonight,” long-time Alexandria coach Brian Hess posted on Facebook. “Usually don’t act like that but was extremely proud of the way our team fought back and finished!
“Proud of them but should have did a better job containing myself. #Limitless.”
Burt was 2-for-4 on the night.
Rolfe got the win, pitching three innings of relief. She allowed one hit and zero runs while striking out five and walking one.
Lanie Dreyer started in the circle for Alexandria, working four innings with one strikeout.
It was a big win to vault Alexandria forward. It should stand out, come seeding time for the Calhoun County tournament.
Time will tell where it leads, but one of the county’s traditionally strong programs, twice a state champion, is off to a promising start.
—Speaking of former county high school standouts making good, former Anniston basketball star Tray Croft has lit it up at Iowa Central Community College.
The sophomore guard broke Bill Orr’s 49-year-old school career scoring record in February, tied the single-game record with 54 points in a three-overtime game against Iowa Lakes and broke Broderick Powell’s single-season school record of 92 3-pointers.
Croft is 97-for-213 on treys for the season, and he has 1,542 points, shattering the record of 1,362.
—D.J. Heath, who starred on three of Sacred Heart’s four Class 1A state title teams, has played in 20 games for Canisius. The freshman point guard averages 5.2 minutes and 0.6 points a game.
—Kevin Nolan, Heath’s former backcourt partner at Sacred Heart, has played in 29 games with one start at Samford. The freshman shooting guard averages 12.8 minutes and 3.2 points a game.
—The Alabama Sports Writers Association’s All-State voting meeting for basketball is today. The All-State teams will be released March 18, and player-of-the-year finalists a few days later. The Mr. and Miss. Basketball banquet is April 10.
—The county baseball tournament starts Friday and runs through Tuesday, with Wednesday as a rain date, at Choccolocco Park.
—The county boys and girls soccer tournaments are April 5-7 at Choccolocco Park.
—The county girls golf tournament is April 6-7 at Anniston Country Club.
—The county track meet is April 9 at Choccolocco Park.
—The county softball tournament is April 10-13 at Choccolocco Park.
—The county boys golf tournament is April 13-14 at Cider Ridge.