The outspoken one
Regan Sandlin enjoyed a prolific high school career and now looks to the future
*The following is the final part 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
She's never needed any special motivation. Softball came natural.
So natural she made an all-star fast pitch team in just her second year, after playing slow pitch for six years prior. But she's so lucky, she went to Australia that year, and didn't get to play.
She played shortstop her junior and senior year, won three state championships, and never is at a loss for words.
She's Regan Sandlin.
The outspoken leader of the Hartselle Lady Tigers softball team, Sandlin has enjoyed a high school career that would rival anybody's.
She talks about the transition from slow pitch to fast pitch, from not thinking a high school team existed to leading it to state championships. She talks about how the coaching change between her junior and senior year caught her off guard, and how humility has played a big part in her high school softball career.
From Priceville to Hartselle…
Sandlin is not from Hartselle, but Priceville, where she still lives today.
She played softball in the county league until sixth grade, when she started going to the Hartselle school system.
Up until sixth grade, she only had played slow pitch softball.
"It was a tough transition going from slow pitch to fast pitch," Sandlin said. "I mean, I struck out three times in a slow pitch game, because I was playing both at the same time."
Sandlin, 18, remembers one summer where she left a Hartselle City League fast pitch game for a slow pitch tournament game in Huntsville.
She quickly caught on to the new game, though, making a fast pitch all-star team in just her second year. She didn't get to play for good reason.
"My granddad told me he would take me anywhere I wanted to go," she said. "I wanted to go to Australia, so we went there to tour for three weeks and I missed out on playing for the all-stars. I didn't complain, though. I got to go to Australia for free."
Sandlin and her granddad flew into Sydney, Australia, and toured the entire continent by bus.
"I would go back if I had the chance," she said. "I liked Australia a lot."
She started out not thinking she could play…
While at Hartselle Junior High School, Sandlin said she had no idea a high school team existed.
"I never thought about Hartselle having a team that actually had a purpose and could win state championships," Sandlin said. "I didn't expect to play softball, but when I got there, the seniors ahead of us taught us the ropes and what it was like to be a Hartselle Tiger."
Sandlin eventually grew into the team's starting shortstop during her junior and senior years. The only year she did not play shortstop was her sophomore season. She gave way to Cara Roberts, who was a senior at the time.
From Pressley to Alexander…
Three days after winning the state championship in 2002, Sandlin, along with the rest of the Lady Tigers, found themselves without a coach.
Gary Pressley was fired just days after his second state championship in three years.
"I felt like they could have let us enjoy our state championship a little more before firing our coach," Sandlin said. "The rumor had been all year, if he didn't win state, he would get fired. Then, we won state and he still gets fired."
Enter, Shane Alexander.
Sandlin was familiar with Alexander, as he was her junior varsity basketball coach.
"He's a really good coach," Sandlin said. "He made us work hard and reminded us of what our main goal was all year."
What Alexander said about Sandlin…
When asked what comes to mind when the name Regan Sandlin comes up in conversation, he didn't hesitate.
"Best shortstop in the state of Alabama. No doubt," he said. "I haven't seen anyone any better than her."
Sandlin hit .320 and notched 33 RBIs this past season, and was a vacuum at shortstop.
"I don't think about stuff like that," Sandlin said of Alexander's comment. "I just go play and don't think about trying to show anybody up. I know there's a lot out there better than me, so maybe coach doesn't get out that much."
"Softball comes so natural to her," Alexander said. "And she's a great leader. She was the vocal leader on the field this past season."
Sandlin was known for letting players around her know what she was thinking.
"I was a vocal leader," she said. "It was something I felt I needed to do. That's how I've always been. I mean, I'm going to say what I think one way or another."
Being vocal, however, sometimes gives people the impression of arrogance. That's not true for Sandlin.
"I just don't think about all the awards," she said. "I just want to play and have fun."
When asked about being snubbed from the ASWA All-State Team, Sandlin said, "I didn't even know there was one. Like I said, that stuff doesn't bother me, because as long as I get to play, I'm happy."
Sandlin did make the Class 5A, All-Tournament Team in Montgomery.
Heading down to T-town…
Regan Sandlin had offers to play softball from The University of Alabama-Huntsville and Huntingdon College (Montgomery), but she wants to call the Capstone home for the next few years.
She will be attending The University of Alabama come fall, with the hopes of walking on the Alabama softball team.
"I've wanted to go to Alabama for a long time," she said. "I'm going to go down there and tryout for the team, and hopefully walk on."
As far as a major, she wants to go into something medical, but "doesn't want to be in school for the next 15 years."
"I'm thinking about going into nursing," Sandlin said. "Maybe sports training or physical therapy, but I'm not really sure."
Sandlin will live with Erin Thompson, a senior soccer player last year.