The National Champions visit with Governor Riley in Montgomery at the Capitol builidng last week as part of their recognition for an outstanding season. The Governor presented the team with a proclamation stating that the team was the best in the land in 2008.
Jennifer Sexton JUCO Player of the Year
Even though Sexton had good velocity on her fastball, she was never able to roll up high strikeout totals. But that didn’t mean the former Sparkman High star wasn’t successful. With good command of all her pitches, Sexton enjoyed plenty of success while at Sparkman — helping the Senators win the Class 6A state championship as a senior in 2006. Sexton may not have rolled up huge strikeout totals while in high school, but that all changed when she arrived at Wallace State-Hanceville. While working with Wallace State assistant coach Tracy Grindrod, Sexton learned to throw a drop ball — which eventually became her strikeout pitch. “I was more of a contact pitcher in high school,” said Sexton, who has been selected as the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Junior College Athlete of the Year. “I always had to depend on ground balls and fly balls to get outs. But that’s because I didn’t have a strikeout pitch.” After adding a drop ball to her repertoire, Sexton emerged as one of the most dominate pitchers in the Alabama Community College Conference — helping Wallace State win its first NJCAA national championship in softball this season. As a sophomore, Sexton finished the season with a 1.07 ERA and 221 strikeouts. She also set a new Wallace State record with 31 wins. “I was just more mentally tough this season,” Sexton said. “When I was a freshman last year, everything was kind of overwhelming. Coach Tracy (Grindrod) really worked with me a lot. He really helped me become a better pitcher.” During the offseason, Sexton and former Boaz High star Holli Hill devoted themselves to becoming better pitchers. According to Sexton, the two Wallace State pitchers would stay after every practice to work with the team’s catchers. And if the duo couldn’t get one of their catchers to stay, they would simply throw to each other. “We drove our catchers crazy,” Sexton said. “They got tired of us asking them to stay after practice. Holli pushed me hard during the offseason.” The extra work Sexton and Hill put in paid off. Both pitchers surpassed Wallace State’s previous strikeout record of 175. Hill holds the new record with 231 strikeouts. “I always pitched the first game, and she pitched the second,” Sexton said. “That combination really worked well for us.” After graduating from Wallace State with a 3.9 GPA, Sexton hopes to add a few more championship rings to her collection. Along with teammate Kaitlyn King, Sexton will continue her softball career at the University of North Alabama next season. “I’m excited about playing at UNA,” Sexton said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to win championships at every level. Hopefully that will continue when I get to UNA.” Sexton is the second straight Wallace State athlete to be named JUCO Athlete of the Year by the ASWA. Men’s basketball star Cory Cooperwood received the award last year.
Wallace State President and Dean's List Scholar Athletes
The President’s List and Dean’s List at Wallace State include 12 from the National Champion softball team. To earn a spot on the Wallace State President’s List, students must maintain a perfect 4.0 GPA for the semester while taking a course load of at least 12 hours. Placement on the Dean’s List is awarded to students maintaining a 3.5 GPA or higher.
|President's List:||Dean's List:|
|Dandi Ammons - Briarwood Christian Academy||Haley Allcorn - Susan Moore|
|Kaylea Brewer - Giles County TN||Amber Johnson - St Clair County|
|Sallie Burch - Lawrence County||Lacy Kerr - Ahtens|
|Jena Franks - Muscle Shoals||Allison Reynolds - Oak Mountain|
|Ashley Smith - Pelham|
|Jennifer Sexton - Sparkman|
|Caitlin Williams - Priceville|
|Sallie Van Kirk - Clements|
The NJCAA Division I Champions Wallace State-Hanceville, led the way with five overall selections, two on the first team, one on the second team and two on the third team. The first team selections included pitcher Jennifer Sexton and third baseman Rachel Baucom. Second team was pitcher Holli Hill and third team selections were catcher Dandi Ammons and shortstop Hannah Strength.
2008 Louisville Slugger/NFCA NJCAA Division I All-American Teams
NFCA Regional All-Americans
The NJCAA Division I Champions Wallace State-Hanceville, led the way with five All-Region selections, all on the first team. That group included pitcher Jennifer Sexton, pitcher Holli Hill, catcher Dandi Ammons, third baseman Rachel Baucom and shortstop Hannah Strength
2008 Louisville Slugger/NFCA NJCAA Division I All-Region Teams
Sexton - Baucom make First Team All-American!
Jennifer Sexton was selected to the first team NJCAA All-American team for her efforts in the circle this season. She is joined by first-team All-American infielder Rachel Baucom. Jennifer finished the season with 31-3 record while Rachel had a team leading .442 batting average with 12 home runs. Sexton will be playing at the University of North Alabama next season while Baucom will be attending either Central Arkansas or Delta State University. Congratulations on a job well done.
Lady Lions Sign 14 for 2008.
The Wallace State softball team inked scholarships with 14 area seniors for the 2008-09 softball season. The new members include one from Tennessee, one from Mississippi and twelve from Alabama with many from the north central area in Alabama. This group of young athletes look to bring many talents to the Wallace State Softball program and continue the winning tradition. The new Lady Lions include:
- Ashley Tolbert, Corner High School, Warrior AL
- Haley Anderson, Corner High School, Warrior AL
- Ali Barnette, Austin High School, Decatur AL
- Kelsey Dennis, Pelham High School, Helena AL
- Jessica Graves, JB Pennington High School, Blountsville AL
- Alana Kramer, North Side High School, Jackson TN
- Stephanie Needham, Hewitt-Trussville High School, Trussville AL
- Allyson Ritenour, Oak Mountain High School, Birmingham AL
- Tara Sadler, Bob Jones High School, Madison AL
- Catie Smith, Hillcrest High School, Tuscaloosa AL
- Katelyn Tribble, Springville High School, Springville AL
- LaRae Womack, Etowah High School, Attalla AL
- Saige Wright, Tuscaloosa Academy High School, Cottondale AL
- Kristen Skinner Millry High School, Millry AL
- Paige Windham Millry High School, Millry AL