Magical season nearly ends in state championship game

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 26, 2017

The Pleasant Home Lady Eagles exceeded expectations this season after finishing third in the AHSAA Class 1A State softball tournament last week.

“This is a very special group of girls,” Lady Eagles’ head coach Jessica Gibson said. “They are just competitors and they love to play the game.”

Pleasant Home is no stranger to the state tournament, but a the Lady Eagles graduated several key players and replaced them with untested younger players.

“I knew coming into the season that we had a lot of talent, but we had to replace some key players from last year,” Gibson said. “All 14 of the girls stepped up. We had some great senior leadership, but it took all 14 of them buying into it and always being their for each other. It was a total team effort. If a girl wasn’t playing, she was in the dugout cheering on the other girls.”

The Lady Eagles weren’t ranked in the top 10 entering the state tournament, but battled their way to a third place finish.

Pleasant Home was the only team in the tournament that defeated eventual state champion Sumiton Christian.

Ava Bailey stepped up in a big way for the Lady Eagles on the mound.

Coming into the season, Bailey had never pitched in a varsity game, but that didn’t stop the eighth grade hurler from touting a 2.36 ERA over 137 innings pitched.

Bailey also had 153 strikeouts and walked just 25 batters.

At the plate, Amy Bulger had a big year for the Lady Eagles.

Bulger jacked five home runs, scored 42 runs, drove in 41 runs and finished with a .433 batting average.

Seniors Abby Walker and Sissy Martin also had nice years in the final campaign for the Lady Eagles.

Walker finished with a .417 batting average and 26 RBIs.

Martin finished with an average of .416 and 24 RBIs.

Senior Taylor McGhee finished with 38 RBIs and eighth grader Rae Rae Coleman finished with 39 RBIs.

“I couldn’t love or be more proud of these girls than I am now,” Gibson said. “They do everything the right way and they give God the glory for it all. They really are just a special group of girls that have been a lot of fun to coach.”