Haley Pittman is considered one of the best pitchers in central Alabama, but the Alabama Christian Academy junior also wielded a potent bat at the plate this season.
Pittman, a Florida commitment who was selected to play in the Alabama All-Stars Sports Week softball game in July, led the Eagles with a .487 batting average this season as well as a team-leading 76 hits, 55 RBIs and 11 doubles.
“If Florida doesn’t let her swing the bat a little bit, I think they’re dumb,” ACA coach Chris Goodman said.
Pittman was an easy selection as the Capital City Conference Player of the Year after leading the Eagles to the Class 4A state championship in mid-May. She earned a school-record 36 wins in 2019 (with a 36-8 record) and set the school’s career mark in strikeouts, recording 448 this season to boost her total to 1,322.
“It’s been a teamwork season,” Pittman said. “We’ve all worked together.”
Her 110 career wins ranks 24th on the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s record list for wins and her career strikeouts rank 19th.
This past season, she pitched 239.1 innings but Goodman hedged his assessment of his record-setting star entering postseason play, remembering earlier pitchers who had carried the team to a state title. All Pittman did was pitch 43.1 innings in the seven-game state tournament while leading her team at the plate. Faced with a grind through the loser’s bracket and a game pushed back to Saturday, Pittman responded with five wins in five games and 30.1 innings pitched.
“She proved to me she’s a workhorse,” Goodman said after the championship performance. “I’ve always said Lauren Webster and Caitlin Perry, coming back through the loser’s bracket (in the state tournament), they were my workhorses. But I’ll tell you what, (Pittman) got in a groove (in the final day of the state tournament).”
ACA’s run to a state title overshadowed the performance of the other three Capital City Conference teams this season as Trinity had to postpone games because of a shortage of players, then lost their coach at the end of the school year; Catholic battled to a third-place finish in the rugged Area 4 race before falling short in the area tournament; and St. James advanced to the regionals and picked up its first regional win since 2010.
St. James had three players on the all-CCC team, Catholic had two and Trinity had one. The team, as expected, was dominated by ACA’s six first-team selections and its coach as the coach of the year.
“We’ve gone into seasons before with a lot of returning players and you think, ‘this is our year, we’re strong everywhere, we’re going to have a great shot at this,’” Goodman said. “Going into this season, we really didn’t know what to expect. We went over to Central and won their tournament, beating Hewitt-Trussville and Spain Park in the semifinals and the finals. All of a sudden, I was like, ‘Maybe we’re not that bad.’ With Pittman on the mound, she gives you a chance every game.”
1B – Macie Wilson, Sr., St. James
2B – Baylee Perkins, Sr., Alabama Christian
SS – Monica Willingham, Jr., Alabama Christian
3B – Rose Costanza, So., Alabama Christian
C – Morgan Parish, So., St. James
OF – Haley Ingram, So., Alabama Christian
OF – McKenzie Norton, So., Catholic
OF – Kenslee Harrison, Sr., Trinity
DP – Hayley Cassidy, So., Alabama Christian
P – Haley Pittman, Jr., Alabama Christian
P – Alanna Aiken, So., Catholic
P – Savannah Christian, So., St. James
PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Haley Pittman
COACH OF THE YEAR – Chris Goodman
HONORABLE MENTION: Josie Blanks, 1B, Sr., Catholic; Carissa Gilbert, P, Fr., Catholic; Cam Greene, P-OF, Fr., St. James; Hannah Griggs, 2B, So., St. James; KK Hall, SS, 8th, St. James; Mallory Hildebrand, C, Catholic; Aniya Jackson, 1B, Jr., Alabama Christian; Katherine O’Connor, OF, Jr., Catholic; Emily Olsey, 3B, Sr., St. James; Maddox Trumbly, OF, Fr., St. James; Chloe Walden, 2B, Catholic; Nikki Walker, 3B, Jr., Catholic; Lily Windham, C, So., Trinity.