SETH — Although ending in disappointment, the 2013 season was highly successful for the Sherman Tide softball team.
In fact, the Ladies achieved nearly all of their pre-season goals, with the exception of making the state Class A playoffs, according to Head Coach Jim Henderson.
Henderson, who has led the Tide softball program the past 20 years, watched as his girls went 24-8, only to lose by one run to Man in the semi-regional.
“I couldn’t say that wasn’t a big disappointment,” said the veteran coach in looking back on the season last week. “But I am also extremely proud of the accomplishments of this team.”
So proud, in fact, that even the loss to Man could not diminish the team’s success, he said. “We did a good job and we represented our community well,” said Henderson. “The girls worked hard, never gave up and pushed to the very end. They bring great pride to our community.”
After opening the year with a loss to county rival Scott, the Tide reeled off six straight victories. Two losses followed, in South Carolina’s Grand Strand Classic, before the Tide picked up a win in that tourney. After losing to Wyoming East in South Carolina, Sherman marched to ten straight wins and it was clear the Tide was one of the top teams in Class A.
A 3-2 loss to nemesis Man followed before the local gals defeated Class AA power Chapmanville. Losses to Buffalo and Scott came next before Sherman went on another win streak, picking up six straight victories. Then came the crushing loss to Man after the Tide floated past Valley (Fayette) in the sectional tournament.
Mackenzie Smith starred for the Tide and made the first team all-state. Tori May was second team all-state with Baylee Harless earning special honorable mention and Jordan Lewis, honorable mention. The four were also named to the All-Coalfield Coalfield Conference first team.
Demi Jarrell, Hali Jarrell and Kylie Wells were named to the All-Coalfield second team with Tori Hendricks and Paige Halstead earning honorable mention.
Henderson said he believed between six and eight of the team members would have been named to the all-state team if the squad had made the state tourney field in Vienna.
The 24-win season marked the most wins in a Sherman season ever. This was also the best-hitting Sherman team in history, closing the year with a .352 batting average. The Tide outscored their opponents by a combined 249 to 85.
Smith l ed the team offensively, with a .424 average. She belted 11 home runs as well. In doing so, Smith became the Tide’s best home run hitter in history with a career 25 four-basers.
May posted a 10-1 record pitching. Paige Halstead had 24 hits; Taylor Hendricks hit at a .382 clip; Hall Jarrell hit .313; Nikki Santonio had ten hits and scored 11 runs. Hayley Buzzard connected on nine hits; Kylie Wells was 10-4 pitching for the Tide; and Whitney Laws was 4-3 on the mound.
Allison Gray scored 16 runs; Shannon Gray scored ten runs; Sarah Seagroves scored five; and Vanessa Howell and ErikaPritt each scored one.
“Our success was due to the 17 young ladies that made up our team,” the coach said. “Each did what they had to do to to push their teammates to the next level.”
Sherman won the prestigious Best of the Best tournament at Buffalo as well as winning the sectional title. During the six game win streak at the end of the season the Tide gals outscored their opponents by a combined 63-1. “That’s as good as it gets,” said Henderson.
Man went on to finish fourth in the state Class A tournament with Buffalo picking up the championship trophy.
“”I feel we will make another run next year,” said Henderson, with several key returnees. The senior Smith, who led this year team’s team, has signed to play collegiate ball at Glenville State College. Henderson said the team will miss all eight seniors: Smith, May, Jarrell, Hendricks, Allison Gray, Shannon Gray, Howell and Pritt. “Each of these girls was great to work with,” he said.
Henderson said he will enjoy a two-week summer workout experience with the team, which is permitted by West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission (SSAC) rules.
All in all, Henderson said Tide fans should be looking forward to another successful year in 2014.
Sherman players MacKensie Smith was named first-team All-State, All-Conference and All-Conty; Tori May was named to second-team All-State and first-team All-Conference and All-County; Baylee Harless was given special honorable mention All-State and first-team All-Conference and All-County; Jordan Lewis selected All-State honorable mention and first-team All-Conference and All-County; Second team All-Conference and first-team All –County honors went to Demi Jarrell, Hali Jarrell and Kylie Wells; and All-Conference honorable mention and first-team All-County went to Taylor Hendricks and Paige Halstead.
MacKenzie Smith of Sherman High and Allyson Johnson of Scott High have both been selected for the North/South game next week.
Other high school girls’ softball honors went to:
• All-State honorable mention and first-team All-County to Chelsea Calloway of Van High School.
• All-State, All-Conference and All-County first team to Allyson Johnson of Scott High School; Special honorable mention All-State and first-team All-Conference and All-County Ally Brown; All-State honorable mention and first-team All-County Sydney Dangott of Scott High School; First team All-Conference and All-County Jennifer Miller, Sara Browning and Katrina Conley, all of Scott High School.