By Lee Davis
Spain Park may have fallen short of its goal to win the Class 7A softball championship, but in every other way, 2017 was the year of the Jaguars.
Coach C.J. Hawkins’ team compiled a 48-9 record, won its region and spent much of the season in the top three of Class 7A ranking. Spain Park also earned recognition as one of the nation’s best high school programs.
“We had a special group this season with some amazing young ladies,” Hawkins said. “I’m proud of their accomplishments.”
The Lady Jags’ domination also was reflected in the 2017 All-Over the Mountain softball team, chosen by an exclusive poll of the eight Over the Mountain softball coaches from Class 7A and Class 6A schools. Spain Park landed seven players on the squad, and ace pitcher Annabelle Widra and slugger M.K. Tedder shared 2017 Over the Mountain Softball Player of the Year honors. Hawkins was named Coach of the Year for the third consecutive season.
“It’s an honor to be named Coach of the Year by my peers in the profession,’ Hawkins said. “But any award I receive is a tribute to the players and their families. We ask a lot of our girls, but it all pays dividends at the end.”
Widra, who just completed the eighth grade at Berry Middle School, was a prime mover in Spain Park’s successful season before attending a single class on the high school campus. She earned 36 wins, with 272 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.26.
Tedder, a senior infielder, batted a hefty .460 with 57 RBIs and scored 61 runs and was an integral part of the Lady Jags’ strong run.
“Annabelle and MK were vital parts of our success,” Hawkins said. “We were blessed with many outstanding players and leaders, and they were two of the best.”
Other Spain Park players named to the All-Over the Mountain team were Bailey Bowers, Julianna Cross, Maddie Majors, Jenna Olszewski and Caroline Parker.
Also chosen for the team were Lydia Coleman, Riley Coyne and Taylor Wheat, Briarwood; Emma Bauer, Devon Grace Boyd and Abigayle Parker, John Carroll Catholic; Kristie Looney and Venice Sanders, Homewood; Madeline Harris, Caroline Nichols, Hannah Presley and Abby Tissler, Hoover; Elaine McDonald and Hollon Skinner, Mountain Brook; Jenna Galloway, Cassidy Greenwood, Abby Jones and O’Neil Roberson, Oak Mountain; and Merritt Cahoon, Sarah Cain, Ashley Dieguez, Audrey Mellon, Jessica Perley and Mary Claire Wilson, Vestavia Hills.