By the time the 16th inning rolled around, she was in the state record books with 27 strikeouts.
Just another day for the Cordova High School’s softball pitcher, who is featured throughout the top 20 in a range of categories in the state record book.
Sims recently reached the halfway point of her most ambitious goal — 2,000 career strikeouts.
She topped the century mark during a game against Hayden earlier this month. Sims, who has been out two weeks with a meniscus injury she suffered in a game against Holly Pond, now sits at 1,038 strikeouts.
On the season, Sims has pitched 176 innings and recorded 307 strikeouts to go along with a 0.17 ERA.
The staggering statistics are no surprise to head coach Randy Stracner, who coached Sims at Walker before they both moved to Cordova High School last year.
“I think she is the best pitcher in the state,” Stracner said. “Out of all the teams we’ve played since I’ve been at Cordova and Walker, I haven’t seen anybody to her level, as far as pitching.”
Stracner called up Sims to Walker’s varsity squad when she was in the seventh grade at Maddox Middle School.
He knew he was seeing a rare talent.
“You could tell that she had put in the work from a very young age and that she had worked year-round at it. She just had a competitive drive about her,” Stracner said. “That year we brought her up at the end of the season and she pitched in the area and regional tournaments. It was obvious she was going to be special.”
Since that season, Sims has added eight miles per hour to her fastball, which tops out at 68 miles per hour.
She has her sights set on hitting 70 mph soon.
“I really want to get up to 70,” Sims said. “I think I will get there.”
Speed, coupled with control, has had devastating results for Sims’ competition.
“It’s not just the speed that makes her so good,” Stracner said. “She can throw different speeds and hit her spots. When it’s coming in that hard, and it’s moving, it keeps batters on their toes.
“She’s increased her speed every year. She’s also worked more on her control — hitting spots and working on different pitches. Her maturity as a player and as far as her presence on the mound, that’s gotten better every year she’s played for me.”
Though she’s got two full years of high school softball ahead of her following this season, Sims already ranks 30th all-time in career strikeouts.
“For her to have 1,000 strikeouts as a sophomore is unreal,” Stracner said. “That’s very rare when you see that happening. She pitched just a few games in the seventh grade and she started at Walker as an 8th grader. It’s pretty impressive. Before she got hurt, she was averaging 14 strikeouts a game.”
Only two Alabama high school pitchers — Ider’s Hilary Phillips with 2,463 strikeouts and Grissom’s Anna Thompson with 2,322 strikeouts — have topped the 2,000 mark.
“I think I can get to 2,000. Hopefully, by my senior year,” said Sims, who hopes to be on the mound when Cordova hits the field for the area tournament this week. “I really want to hit 70 (mph) and get 2,000 strikeouts.”
Stracner has seen Sims’ kind of talent before — just once.
“Faith reminds me of Terese Gober, who I coached in high school in Georgia,” Stracner said. “She threw 70 in her junior and senior years. She pitched so many perfect games where the other team didn’t even foul of a pitch. She went to Florida State and was All-Conference three out of the four years she pitched there.”
He sees Sims as that kind of collegiate player.
“I think Faith is definitely going to be able to pick where she wants to go. She’s already had everybody talking to her. She’s going to play Division I somewhere. There’s no doubt in my mind that one day she is going to be a college All-American.”