Brantley secures 6th AHSAA 1A State Championship

Published 11:57 am Sunday, May 28, 2023

The Brantley School softball team secured its 6th Alabama High School Athletic Association Area 1A State Championship on May 17, completing the season at 35-13 overall and undefeated in the area.

Brantley Principal said the team upheld a commitment to excellence which spans across the entire school.

“They continued a standard of excellence that goes across the board here at the school,” Taylor said. “I just think this school is full of winners.”

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The Bulldogs defeated Leroy High School, 6-2, in the final game of the two-day tournament. Brantley led from the start, ending the first inning ahead by two and building momentum throughout the first four innings.

Brantley head coach Cindy Hawthorne said the Bulldogs faced challenging teams all season, a schedule which prepared them for victory and the state championship.

“We played a lot of 5A and 7A schools just to get our kids prepared,” Hawthorne said. “We see a lot of different types of pitching too. We hit some bumps in the road at the start of the year but we got it all figured out and we were ready to go after that.”

On May 16, Brantley faced and defeated Maplesville High School, 8-2. The Bulldogs came hot out of the dugout, scoring three runs in the first inning and allowing no runs to the Red Devils until the fourth inning.

The Bulldogs defeated Leroy in a 13-0 shutout for the second game of the tourney, positioning themselves to face the Bears the next day.

According to Hawthorne, the Bulldogs earned the state championship in 2014 – 2018 and in 2021.

“The kids really worked hard [all year],” Hawthorne said. “They kept coming to practice every day and getting better. The kids really [bought] in. They know what Brantley softball is all about because the legacy has been put there for them and they want to live up to it. The last 10 years we’ve won six out of the 10 championships and placed runner-up in two of them. COVID got one of them and we were third last year.”

Three seniors – Kaylee Navarre, Campbell Hawthorne, and Lindsey Wells – led the team this year.

“Kaylee was our pitcher,” Hawthorne said. “She was in the circle for the most part and played a huge role on our team. Campbell led as well. All three seniors did a good job.”

Hawthorne said the team started four eighth graders. Those players were instrumental in taking home the state title, she added.

“Without the contributions they made, there is no way we could have won it,” Hawthorne said. “They played way above their age level and essentially played a varsity sport when they are junior high kids.”

The team’s winning legacy inspired its members to work for the win, Hawthorne added.

“Once [athletes] go to the state tournament, it puts that taste in their mouth and they want to get it back,” Hawthorne said. “I’ve seen that for the last ten years. They don’t think their season is a success if they don’t get back to state.”

The title, and the trophy, only confirm what Taylor said the community already knows.

“It’s awesome whenever we can come away with some hardware to show everybody that they are great athletes, but also great kids,” Taylor said. “The community support that we get here for the team and the school is amazing. In a lot of ways it’s what Brantley really is.”