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Hartselle Enquirer

It's all about the rings

By Staff
Halbrooks admits winning state rings is name of the game
* The following is part one in a four-part series honoring the four Hartselle High School senior softball players. This year's seniors have won three state titles in four years.
Nick Johnston, Hartselle Enquirer
Robin Halbrooks' jewelry box got a little bit heavier during her high school softball career.
Halbrooks, a graduating senior, won three state titles in her four years at Hartselle. The outfielder just smiled when asked about state championship rings.
"I'm ready for a big ring," Halbrooks said. "This year's ring will be the biggest so far. I'm excited about that."
Halbrooks has seen the glory days during high school, but she's also seen a very confusing time, when former head coach Gary Pressley was fired three days after winning the school's second championship in three years.
How she got started…
As always, Halbrooks started in slow pitch at five years old. She has her dad, Bobby, to thank for the early start.
"He really helped me get started," Halbrooks said. Bobby Halbrooks played college baseball at Wallace State-Selma. "Dad always helped my teams if he wasn't coaching them."
Halbrooks also played under James Bates. During the summer between her eighth and ninth grade years, Halbrooks was on a World Series Championship team, coached by Bates.
Halbrooks said it might have been a turning point in her early softball career.
"We played some outstanding teams," Halbrooks said. "We won the Class B division … I have a ring for that, too."
A look back at high school, and a look ahead…
Halbrooks will be attending The University of West Alabama to play softball and study to become a math teacher.
But moving on to bigger and better things may be a step back, considering the friendships made at Hartselle High School.
"It's going to be tough," Halbrooks said about leaving. "But, the good thing is it's not the end of my softball days. I get to look forward to college ball."
West Alabama also is looking forward to having Halbrooks on campus. Persistence must have paid off.
"They went out of their way to recruit me," she said. "They sent me Christmas cards, and it's more like home down there. It's countryish."
Halbrooks will likely play in the outfield, though when she tried out she played at first and second base, too.
How she handled the coaching change…
Halbrooks played for Gary
Pressley during her first three years at Hartselle.
Then without warning, according to Halbrooks, Pressley called a team meeting.
"He said, 'They're getting rid of us,'" Halbrooks said. "It was very shocking. We had just won the state title three days earlier. It was kind of confusing."
Pressley had been scrutinized for his coaching style.
"He definitely kept the fire under us," Halbrooks said. "Coach Al (Current head coach Shane Alexander) is a little more laid back."
Halbrooks said the main difference between the two were practice regiments. Alexander, according to Halbrooks, worked the team more on fundamentals.
What "Coach Al" has to say about Halbrooks…
"She's a hard-nosed player," Alexander said. "She gives everything she's got."
Halbrooks hit .375 and scored twice during the state tournament. She had what proved to be the game-winning RBI against Gardendale in the championship.
"She came up big for us," Alexander said. "She may not be as skilled as some, but she makes up for it with high energy.
"I know she's going to West Alabama and I'm excited for her."