Power ranking top local softball teams ahead of postseason

Apr. 23—With baseball having begun its postseason last week, it's now time to start gearing up for softball.

Softball area tournaments are set to begin next week, with some starting as early as this weekend. The area tournaments will lead into the regional tournaments the week of May 6-9 and then the state tournament the following week.

In the final Alabama Sportswriters Association softball poll last week, 11 teams from The Daily's coverage were either ranked in the top 10 or received votes.

Here are the power rankings for each of those 11 teams.

No. 11 Athens Bible

Record: 12-12

State ranking: No. 9 in Class 1A

The skinny: Their record may not pop out, but the Trojans are ranked in the top 10 for a reason. Athens Bible has played plenty of larger competition this year including 5A-7A teams like Muscle Shoals, East Limestone, James Clemens and Florence. That level of competition will surely have the Trojans prepared for a postseason run.

No. 10 Hatton Hornets

Record: 14-23

State ranking: No. 6 in Class 2A

The skinny: It's been a tough adjustment for the defending 2A state champions after losing six key seniors and a head coach. That hasn't stopped the Hornets from still playing the rigorous schedule they're known for and it's paid off as they once again finished undefeated in area play and earned the right to host the Class 2A, Area 16 tournament. Hatton may have lost several key players, but the Hornets still have multiple stars with championship experience such as Anna Kate Potter and Marlie Hood.

No. 9 Lawrence County Red Devils

Record: 20-25-1

State ranking: Received votes in Class 5A

The skinny: The Red Devils are on a bit of a late season slide, having lost seven of their last eight games. Lawrence County is still regular season champions of Class 5A, Area 16 and has all its players from last year's team that was so close to reaching the state tournament.

No. 8 Danville Hawks

Record: 17-14

State ranking: Received votes in Class 3A

The skinny: Danville made a tremendous run to end last season as the Hawks became the only team with a losing record to make it to the state tournament. That team was filled with young talent that is back this season. McKinley McCahgren is the team's ace, while Ella KateTidwell, Aubrey Reed and Adily Alberti have all been great at the plate.

No. 7 Brewer

Record: 22-13-1

State ranking: Received votes in Class 5A

The skinny: The Morgan County tournament runner-up, Brewer is 6-2-1 in its last nine games. Gracie Lawrence has been the team's top pitcher and Keylyn Stapler continues to impress at the plate.

No. 6 Ardmore

Record: 20-15-1

State ranking: Received votes in Class 5A

The skinny: Ardmore is coming off an appearance in the Class 5A state finals a season ago and the Tigers are starting to heat up as the postseason nears. Ardmore Is 4-1-1 in its last six games, including a 7-2 win over Lawrence County, which will host the area tournament both teams share. A couple of Ardmore's recent losses have also been tight contests against teams higher on this list.

No. 5 Priceville

Record: 27-13

State ranking: Received votes in Class 4A

The skinny: Don't let the fact this team isn't ranked in the top 10 fool you, Priceville has been on a tear this season and has proved it's one of the top teams in Class 4A. The Bulldogs finished the regular season undefeated in Class 4A, Area 13 play and players such as pitcher Elizabeth Murphy, catcher Wrozlie Barnett and shortstop Kelsey Green, among others, have all delivered star performances this season.

No. 4 Athens

Record: 19-9

State ranking: No. 5 in Class 6A

The skinny: Athens was state champions in 2022 and state runner-up in 2023 and the Golden Eagles are right back in contention again this year. The Golden Eagles have won 11 of their last 14 games and are led by The Daily's 2023 class-5A-7A Player of the Year and Mississippi State signee Morgan Stiles.

No. 3 Hartselle

Record: 28-12-1

State ranking: No. 4 in Class 6A

The skinny: The Tigers have been rolling under first year head coach Anna Hall and are 11-4 this month. Led by Auburn signee Blayne Godfrey and her sister, Auburn commit, Brityan Godfrey, the Tigers are looking to finally get back to the state tournament for the first time since 2019.

No. 2 Austin

Record: 32-14-1

State ranking: No. 9 in Class 7A

The skinny: Austin went 19-2 in the month of March, won the Morgan County tournament for the third straight time and looks poised to make a run for a state tournament berth for the first time since 2013 and first time ever in Class 7A. West Morgan transfer Abby Lindsey, The Daily's Class 1A-4A Player of the Year in 2021 and 2022, has been an ace pitcher for the Black Bears and given the team another star for an already talented roster.

No. 1 West Limestone Wildcats

Record: 34-8-3

State ranking: No. 5 in Class 4A

The skinny: Out of all the teams in The Daily's coverage area, West Limestone has the best record. The Wildcats have been dominant all season, and not just against teams in 4A, but against teams 5A-7A as well. It's been 21 years since West Limestone last reached the state softball tournament, but that streak looks to be in jeopardy this season. or 256-340-2395. Twitter @CalebSuggs2