Carthage softball coach Rob McFall is quick to say senior Taylor Wills was the Lady Bulldogs “go-to girl in the circle.”
But it took having a little more help this year handling the Carthage pitching duties that helped the Tyler Junior College signee earn third-team honors on the 2019 Collin Street Bakery/Texas Sports Writers Association Class 4A All-State Softball Team.
Wills is one of two Carthage players making the team, while Beckville had four, including first-teamer Shelley Pierce, and Elysian Fields had one.
The other Lady Bulldog on the team is sophomore third baseman Roo Harrison.
Joining Pierce on the team from Beckville are pitcher Ally LaGrone on the Class 2A second team; outfielder Kinley Pepper on the third team; and shortstop Madisyn Bridges was honorable mention.
Elysian Fields shortstop Kayla Evans was a Class 3A honorable mention pick.
Wills was 17-6 for the 25-10 Lady Bulldogs with 142 strikeouts in 129.2 innings.
Harrison hit .424 with 24 RBI and 23 runs, and had on-base percentage of .480 and a .561 slugging percentage.
“Taylor was a four-year starter and our go-to-girl in the circle,” McFall said. “She had another great year. Her ERA went down and her strikeout to walk ratio was better as well.
“We had some other pitchers step up and that helped her relax. And the more relaxed she was, the better she threw. She was the one we put in the game when we needed a win. A big district game and it was Taylor in the circle.”
McFall thinks TJC is just the place for Wills.
“Tyler Junior College is a top-notch program that can send her to the next level if that’s what she wants.”
Although just a sophomore, McFall has already gotten some big things from Harrison.
“She had a great year,” he said. “She was a clutch hitter, whether it was getting a two-out hit to keep a rally going, or driving in a run, or getting a hit to start a rally. She did a great job of hitting what they threw.
“At third base, if it was hit to her she was going to gobble it up and throw them out at first. She could go to her left and guard the line. That opened things up for Taylor and let her use both sides of the plate. She really came through for us pitching in the playoffs. I think she had three saves and a win in nine playoff games. She probably has a good shot at being one of our two pitchers next season.”
Harrison isn’t the only sophomore McFall has coming back so he is definitely look forward to the future.
“We would have liked to have gone farther this year, but it’s exciting with a good group of sophomores like we have,” McFall said. “If we continue to work hard, they’ll have great success just like everyone else that’s come before them.”
Pierce had some outstanding offensive numbers for Beckville to help earn first-team honors.
She hit .479 with 11 home runs, 13 doubles and three triples, with 55 RBIs and 35 runs scored.
LaGrone was 24-9 for the Ladycats with a 1.68 ERA and 252 strikeouts and 59 walks in 175.1 innings. She also had six doubles, 30 runs and 22 RBIs.
Bridges, who is a junior like LaGrone, hit .382 and scored 43 runs. Pepper. a senior, hit .447 with seven doubles and three triples, along with 23 RBIs and scored 38 run.
Evans, a senior shortstop of Elysian Fields, hit .404 with five doubles, three triples, 20 RBIs, 36 runs, 28 stolen bases and a .904 fielding percentage.