The Blue Devils were on the road most weekends, battling the top competition in the state.
Yet junior pitcher Faith Sims still had a record-setting season in the circle.
Sims, a first-team All-State selection in Class 3A, led the entire state in strikeouts, whiffing 442 batters, while racking up 35 wins and leading Cordova to the North-Central Regional Tournament for the second straight season.
Sims is the Daily Mountain Eagle’s Pitcher of the Year.
“When she goes out there, you know what will happen,” Stracner said of his ace. “She’s very dependable. She’s going to be the same every time. You know she will do her job. She beat most of the teams ranked in 5A and 6A this year.”
Sims, who was already well represented in the Alabama High School Athletic Association record book, added a few new lines to her record-setting career. Not only did she lead the state in strikeouts in 2014, she also led the state in innings pitched (289) and shutouts (24) while throwing seven no hitters and two perfect games.
She also had a microscopic 0.80 ERA.
“Faith has worked hard to get where she is. A lot of people don’t understand the hard work she’s put in over the years,” said Stracner, who first coached Sims as a seventh grader at Walker High School.
“We have a close relationship. She’s been a pleasure to coach. I get one more year with her. She’s just one of those once-in-a-lifetime athletes that comes through. You don’t see many of those.”
Sims will play for the North All-Star team at the All-Star Sports Week in Montgomery next month. Sims and fellow 3A All-State pitcher Maddi Moore will represent the North team on the mound.
Despite Sims’ success, the Blue Devils have fallen just short of making the state tournament each of the last two seasons, a stat that sticks with Stracner.
“It’s been a shame really that we haven’t been able to make Montgomery together. Something has always kept us from going. It could be an injury or something else that goes wrong,” he said. “We have one more year. I hope we make it down there. But even with that, it doesn’t take away from what she’s been able to accomplish in her career.”