Bankhead finishes 2017 season with a 36-1 record

By W. BRIAN HALE, Eagle Sports Writer
Posted 4/20/17

Regardless of the sport a team competes in, going through the rigors of a season with one loss is a noteworthy achievement.

Losing one game of the course of a 37-game softball season is an accomplishment that few teams can boast about.

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Bankhead finishes 2017 season with a 36-1 record

Posted

Regardless of the sport a team competes in, going through the rigors of a season with one loss is a noteworthy achievement.

Losing one game of the course of a 37-game softball season is an accomplishment that few teams can boast about.

With a victory that clinched the program’s third-consecutive Walker County Tournament championship, the Bankhead Blue Devils finished their 2017 season with a 36-1 mark, a feat nearly unparalleled in the history of area softball.

Prior to the opening of this season’s campaign, Bankhead welcomed a returning squad of seasoned veteran players, along with a group of talented newcomers that hinted to the possible success the Blue Devils could experience, the resulting year has left coach Dave Lawson not only surprised, but extremely proud as well.

“I knew we’d have a good team — we had a group of stellar eighth graders who were coming back that had a success the year before, mixed in with seventh graders that played at a high-level in travel ball that gave us tremendous potential,” Lawson said.

“Despite a good formula of success that those things brought, I never could have envisioned our girls accomplishing what they did. They all came together and formed a tight-knit unit and played at a championship level. They surpassed every expectations I had for them.”

At the core of the Blue Devils’ success this season were a quartet of eighth grade stars — Katelyn Scola, Gracie Trotter, Kailey Johnson and pitcher Haley Hann — whose leadership were vital to the team and combined for 60 wins over the past two years.

“Haley ended the year with a record of 32-1 and a 1.15 ERA — she was the catalyst for the team. They were behind her and made great plays to support her. She’s a warrior and did a great job,” Lawson said.

“All of our eight grade girls were leaders. We borrowed a line from the movie “When The Game Stands Tall” as our motto: Perfect effort every inning and every pitch. The eighth grade girls picked that up and carried it to the rest of the team — they lived it. It was fun for myself and coach Amber Parsons to have a front-row seat and lead them into battle every game.”

Beyond the Blue Devils’ accomplishments on the field, the team also showed their support for others throughout the community enduring trying times.

When Cordova varsity player Ansley Ardoin’s father, Chad, lost his battle with cancer recently during the county tournament, the Bankhead players broke their huddles with the name “Chad” in his honor.

The Blue Devils also participated in the Random Acts of Kindness campaign in honor of Libby Hankins by providing gift bags to their opposing teams before each game — actions that represented the character of the young ladies that make up the program.

“These girls love each other and love to be with each other — in practice, during games and off the field. What that does is build strong character and it shows in the things we’ve done outside of the game,” Lawson said.

“They show as much heart on the field as the do off of it.”

Along with the eighth grade players, other members of the team are Olyvia Mooney, MariHope Stacks, Maddie Williamson, Hannah Posten, Linley Tubbs, Lilly Werling, Marissa Lawson, MaKayla McClendon, BG Braswell and Molly Nugent.