Priceville’s Richard state’s top 4A player
PRICEVILLE – Danielle Richard doesn’t see herself as a true power hitter.
The Priceville junior’s 23 homers this season might make opposing coaches disagree.
Richard, who hit .545 and finished with 65 RBIs was named the Class 4A hitter and player of the year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association.
Also named to the Class 4A as a first-team shortstop, Richard was joined on the annual all-state teams by Hartselle trio Ashley Bonner, Breanna Riley and Meaghan Gray.
Remarkably, Richard entered the season with just four career homers in her first two years with the Lady Bulldogs’ varsity team.
The sudden power surge wasn’t a result of a big growth spurt, but rather the tough off-season work for the 5-foot-4 slugger.
“I knew I might hit well this season, but I didn’t know I would do this well,” Richard said. “I think its just a result of coming out here and working hard. We’re always working, even when we don’t have practice. It’s all a matter of working hard.”
That work paid off as the homers came by the handful for Richard.
“For me it wasn’t about home runs,” she said. “It was about doing well, hitting the ball and winning games. When you hit a home run, it just feels good. I just made solid contact.
“The power comes from using your whole body. good mechanics, using the body and driving the ball. A bigger person doesn’t have to use their body as much as I do to get their power.”
Currently being recruited by Georgia Tech, Jacksonville State, Lipscomb, LSU, Mississippi State and Kentucky, Richard started to draw the attention of opposing coaches as her home run totals grew. In 178 total at-bats, Richard walked 21 times, including four intentional walks.
“Teams started pitching around me and that was a little frustrating,” Richard said. “But there were no hard feelings. They were just playing the game.”
More than half of Richard’s 85 hits this season were extra-base hits. She finished with 18 doubles and five triples.
Richard had four multi-homer games, including two in the same inning against West Morgan in the Morgan County Softball Tournament.
Offensively, the numbers were the result of plenty of work against pitching machines and live pitching, but Richard would trade all 23 of the homers for a chance to play in the state tournament.
Priceville missed the state tournament after suffering a tough loss to Lawrence County in the Class 4A regional.
“The season was kind of bittersweet,” Richard said. “We just couldn’t pull it out and get to the next round.”
Bonner earned all-state honors for the second straight season. A Class 5A honorable mention choice a year ago, Bonner hit .380 for the Lady Tigers with 68 hits and 43 RBIs. She finished her junior season with six homers as Hartselle advanced to the state tournament in Montgomery for the third straight year.
Bonner also scored 29 runs and had 15 doubles.
Riley and Gray, who shared starting pitching duties for Hartselle earned honorable mention awards in Class 5A.
Riley, a junior, went 22-10 for the Lady Tigers, while Gray, a Northwest-Shoals signee, finished 20-8 overall.
Riley averaged almost 11 strikeouts for seven innings and limited opponents to a .173 average. Her ERA was 2.11.
She had 281 strikeouts.
Gray limited opposing hitters to a .206 average. Her ERA was 2.32.
Priceville’s Meaghan Bond was an honorable mention pick in the outfield after hitting .391 for the Lady Bulldogs. She finished the year with 59 hits and 30 RBIs.
Leigh Streetman led Class 6A Hueytown to its fourth state title in six years on her way to earning Miss Softball honors.
The senior finished 46-8 with 568 strikeouts in 304 innings. Her ERA was an incredible 0.35.
Streetman is the second Hueytown pitcher to win the award in the past three years with left-hander Lindsey Dunlap capturing 2008 Miss Softball. A pitcher has earned Miss Softball each year except 2007 since the award’s inception in 2003.
Other winners of the award are Pisgah’s Holly Currie in 2003, Grissom’s Anna Thompson in 2004 and 2006, Baker’s Tara Donaldson in 2005, Vestavia Hills’ Whitney Larsen in 2007 – the only non-pitcher — Hueytown’s Dunlap in 2008 and Ider’s Hilary Phillips in 2009.
Streetman is the Class 6A MVP and Pitcher of the Year, and heads the ASWA Super All-State team, which is comprised of eight pitchers and two position players.
Other pitchers joining Streetman on the team are Class 6A Satsuma’s Hannah Campbell and Hoover’s Marcy Harper, Class 5A Scottsboro’s Hilary Mavromat and Eufaula’s India Kornegay, Class 3A Sumiton Christian’s Emily Ivey, Class 2A Ider’s Stephanie Swanson and AISA Cornerstone Christian’s Chelsey Dunnaway.
Class 6A Hoover catcher Madison Dickey and Class 5A Mortimer Jordan first baseman Morgan Estell are the only non-pitchers in the group.
Streetman’s 568 strikeouts was best in the state this season as she averaged more than 13 strikeouts per seven innings. She threw 15 shutouts and four no-hitters, including a perfect game to open the state championship tournament against top-ranked Satsuma.