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Ballard named to all-state squad

Britni Ballard turned heads at the 2003 State Softball Championship Tournament at Lagoon Park in Montgomery last month as she helped guide the Pleasant Home Lady Eagles to a Class 1A Runner-Up finish.

Ballard, who has signed a scholarship to play college basketball at Birmingham Southern College, is used to being in the spotlight on the basketball court. She is also used to turning heads at beauty pageants and being in the spotlight wearing a crown.

"She's won several of them," Pleasant Home Head Softball Coach Jimmy Reeves said about Ballard's ability to shine in beauty pageants. "She handles the spotlight real well for a girl her age.

"I haven't seen anything yet that has unnerved her," he added.

One reason Ballard shined on the softball diamond this past season was due to the talents and play of her teammates.

Reeves said Ballard tried to pitch during the 2002 season, the Lady Eagles' first to compete in fast-pitch, and struggled for the first time ever in a sport.

Katy Wiggins, Kimberly Jacobs and Leah Turman all pitched well for the Lady Eagles from the beginning of the season in 2003. Their ability to throw strikes meant Ballard could focus on playing shortstop and hitting.

Her focus paid off as she impressed opposing coaches throughout the season. She also caught the eye of a few college coaches at the state tournament.

One coach, from a college in Tennessee, asked about her and was ready to sign her on the spot. Of course, when the coach found out about Ballard's decision to attend Birmingham Southern and play basketball she did not bother offering her a softball scholarship.

Reeves said Ballard's first love is basketball, but softball is her best sport because it comes to her naturally.

"She says softball has always come easier for her, but for some reason she has always loved basketball," Reeves said.

Ballard's selection to the Class 2A-1A All-State Softball Team is not a surprise, according to her coach.

"I'd have been disappointed if she wasn't named to the first team as a shortstop," Reeves said. "I didn't see a shortstop, especially in Class 1A, that was better.

"I'd take her over anybody," Reeves added.

Following are the All-State selections for fast-pitch softball:

Pisgah's Holly Currie was named the Alabama Sports Writers Association's Miss Softball for 2003 and the Class 2A-1A Player of the Year while Donaldson earned the honor in Class 6A. Class 5A's Lawson, Class 4A-3A's Burford and AISA's Brittany Hodge of Edgewood Academy also won the award.

Coach of the Year honors went to Baker's Tony Scarbrough in Class 6A, Hartselle's Shane Alexander in Class 5A, Demopolis' Wayne Harris in Class 4A-3A, Pisgah's Billy Duncan in Class 2A-1A and Edgewood's Brian Pittman in AISA.

Super All-State team

P: Holly Currie, Pisgah, Sr.

P: Tara Donaldson, Baker, So.

P: Anna Thompson, Grissom, Fr.

P: Andrea Palmer, Waterloo, Fr.

P: Lauren Roark, Demopolis, Jr.

P: Beth Lawson, Hazel Green, Fr.

P/OF: Melissa Muehlenfeld, Auburn, So.

C: Stephanie Pinto, Grissom, Sr.

SS: Mandy Burford, Saks, Sr.

SS: Kristina McCain, Gardendale, Sr.

OF: Carrie Walker, Baker, Jr.

OF/UTIL: Kristy Roberts, Danville, So.

Class 2A-1A

P: Andrea Palmer, Waterloo, Fr.

P: Annah Cagle, Lynn, Fr.

P: Holly Currie, Pisgah, Sr.

P: Megan Jensen, Houston Academy, Sr.

C: Kimberly Posey, Gordo, So.

1B: Amanda Law, Pisgah, Sr.

2B: Brittney Dowdy, Waterloo, So.

3B: Ashley Carlisle, Ragland, Sr.

SS: Britni Ballard, Pleasant Home, Sr.

OF: Haley Wilkins, Addison, Jr.

OF: Alicia Orrick, Waterloo, Sr.

OF: Katie Hopper, Westbrook Christian, So.

UTIL: Taylor Burt, Sand Rock, Fr.

DH: Tabitha Baxter, Fruitdale, Sr.

Class 4A-3A

P: Paige Kennedy, Alabama Christian, Jr.

P: Lauren Roark, Demopolis, Jr.

P: Liz Wolf, Saks, Jr.

P: Allison Scogin, West Morgan, So.

C: Allie Barker, Alexandria, So.

1B: Katie Simmons, Demopolis, Jr.

2B: Heather Bryan, Brooks, Sr.

3B: Andrea Smith, Ashville, Jr.

SS: Mandy Burford, Saks, Sr.

OF: Shequita Holt, Ashford, Jr.

OF: Heather Dailey, Alabama Christian, Sr.

OF: Maggie Tatum, Wilson So.

UTIL: Kristy Roberts, Danville, So.

DH: Brooke Powell, Clarke Co., Sr.

Class 5A

P: Jamie Williams, Albertville, Sr.

P: Beth Lawson, Hazel Green, Fr.

P: Sabrina Roberts, Hartselle, Jr.

P: Tiffany Bishop, St. Paul's, So.

C: Danielle Wallace, Buckhorn, So.

1B: Jessica Lyle, Hartselle, Jr.

2B: Cyrena Duncan, Robertsdale, Sr.

3B: Heather Fox, Benjamin Russell, Sr.

SS: Kristina McCain, Gardendale, Sr.

OF: Samantha Landman, Buckhorn, Sr.

OF: Ashley Elmore, Wetumpka, Jr.

OF: Hayley Kateon, St. Paul's, So.

UTIL: Melissa Stewart, Athens, Sr.

DH: Nicole Whitlock, Mortimer Jordan, Sr.

Class 6A

P: Tara Donaldson, Baker, So.

P: Anna Thompson, Grissom, Fr.

P: Melissa Muehlenfeld, Auburn, So.

P: Linden Jones, Opelika, Sr.

C: Stephanie Pinto, Grissom, Sr.

1B: Allison Moore, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, So.

2B: Lindsey Bedsole, Baker, Sr.

3B: Whitney Elder, Grissom, Jr.

SS: Nikki Sturdivan, Auburn, Sr.

OF: Carrie Walker, Baker, Jr.

OF: Rachel Pittman, Robert E. Lee, Sr.

OF: Shelley Stanley, Decatur, Sr.

UTIL: Jessica McKleroy, Bob Jones, Sr.

DH: Melissa Taunton, Lee-Montgomery, Sr.

AISA

P: Brittany Hodge, Edgewood Academy, Sr.

P: Amanda Leggett, Faith Academy, Jr.

P: Stacie Morris, Macon-East Montgomery Academy, Sr.

P: Ivey Jeffcoat, Ashford Academy, Sr.

C: Shannon Rozof, Kingwood Christian, Sr.

1B: Ashleigh Gresham, Edgewood Academy, Jr.

2B: Candyce Bailey, Faith Academy, Jr.

3B: Heather Freeman, Taylor Road Academy, Jr.

SS: Anna Farley, Tuscaloosa Academy, So.

OF: Nikki Wells, Lowndes Academy, Sr.

OF: Santanna Thornton, Hooper Academy, So.

OF: Casey Chrietzberg, Edgewood Academy, Jr.

UTIL: Nicole Stroud, Taylor Road Academy, Sr.

DH: Rebecca Barrett, Edgewood Academy, Sr.