The Fayetteville Lady Wolves softball program had another strong season, finishing the year with a 24-14 record and claiming another area championship. While they fell short of advancing to the state tournament in Montgomery, the Wolves made a return trip to Troy for the South-Central Regional. They had six players earn first team All-County selections, with shortstop Hailey Haynes earning class 1A-3A Player of the Year.
“Hailey is a very strong ball player,” head coach Chris Sherbert said. “She’s very talented. She really cares a lot about the game and really works hard at it. She’s been a solid part of our team ever since she started for us in the eighth grade. Of course, playing shortstop, she covers a natural center part of the field. She does a great job for us offensively and defensively. She definitely earned the opportunity to be considered the small school Player of the Year. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
Based on team stats, Haynes batted .355 with 27 RBIs and struck out in just 2 percent of her plate appearances. She also had 67 percent quality at-bats and converted 91 percent of 84 putout opportunities while also covering center field and first base in spots during the season.
Haynes said even though the team fell short of its ultimate goal, she was proud of the way it finished the season.
“Making it to the second day of Regionals again, we didn’t really know what to expect having different teams there,” she said. “I like the way we played in our final game of Regionals, even if we didn’t win. I’ll always remember that game.”
Sherbert, for his efforts, earned class 1A-3A Coach of the Year.
“I know they call it Coach of the Year, but as far as I’m concerned it’s team of the year,” Sherbert said. “A coach is only as good as the players. I’m blessed to have a very talented ball team with some very talented young ladies. I have a coaching staff that is phenomenal, that helps and supports. It’s never one guy or one woman. The bottom line is: it’s a team award. Any time a coach can be recognized, you have to put it back on the team, because without the team, there would be no coach. It’s an honor, but like I said, it says more — I guess this is four years in a row — but it’s more about what the Fayetteville softball team is doing, not what Chris Sherbert is doing. That’s what it’s about: it’s about those girls and it’s about that team.”
The Wolves demonstrated versatility while facing a litany of injuries throughout the season.
“We overcame a lot of things with people getting hurt, just different positions with people, and I think we came out on top this year,” Peyton Dennis said.
Third baseman Brittany Snyder, who filled in at shortstop in spots during the season, also earned a first-team selection.
“She probably had more balls hit to her than any other girl on the team, had to make more putouts and was very solid,” Sherbert said. “She received our all-around award. That’s typical of a kid who was good all-around, maybe not the best at everything but solid everywhere. She was a very solid defensive ball player.”
Snyder finished with a .288 batting average with 10 RBIs and 57 percent quality at-bats. Defensively, she had 111 putout opportunities and had an 86 percent conversion rate.
Snyder thought the team grew stronger in having to fill spots multiple times due to injuries.
“It was challenging, but we all stepped up and filled in wherever we needed to play,” she said. “We all had each other’s back. When one was down, one would step up and fulfill that position. I think we all did very well overall of doing that.”
Primary pitcher Haydn Hughes also earned a first-team selection after batting .342 with 16 RBIs, and struck out in just 4 percent of her at-bats. She had 63 percent quality at-bats and converted 93 percent of 74 putout opportunities.
“We got to Regionals and we did pretty well,” she said of the season. “Everything went well; it’s just the other teams were just a little better than us. Other than that, it’s been a great season this year. We’ve accomplished so much.”
Dennis, Fayetteville’s backstop behind the plate, earned a first-team selection after finishing with a putout rate of 94 percent and having 64 percent quality at-bats.
Courtney Deloach was the team’s primary center fielder, although she filled in at third base in spots during the season.
She finished the season with a .292 batting average with 55 percent quality at-bats. She had a putout rate of 86 percent.
Second baseman Kayla Sherbert earned a first-team selection after converting 88 percent of 81 putout opportunities. She also had 52 percent quality at-bats.
Eighth grader Graysn Hughes earned a spot on the honorable mention team after starting the year on the JV team but nailing the varsity job at first base by the end of the season after never playing first base previously.
“It took time and a lot of practice,” Graysn Hughes said of the transition to first base. “They worked with me and I finally got it.”
Graysn Hughes also had an 85 percent putout rate and had 51 percent quality at-bats.
“Her batting average was .258, which is phenomenal for an eighth grader,” Sherbert said. “For being thrown in the way she was, she batted well.”
B.B. Comer had three first-team selections. Pitcher and infielder Laura Machen, pitcher and shortstop Shernelia Cook, and center fielder Acacia Bradford represented B.B. Comer on the first team.
TC Central made another trip to the South-Central Regional in Troy. Tiarrial Duncan was voted as a first-team selection and Savona Garrett and Curteria Collins received honorable mention selections.
Winterboro’s Malena Jenkins earned a first-team selection, and Kyra Pointer and Ja’Colby McMeans earned honorable mention selections.