FAIRHOPE, Ala. – The Fairhope High Pirates are the 2020 MaxPreps top pick for the best softball team in the state of Alabama. The MaxPreps team spotlighted players expected to help the 2018 7A state champions succeed this season.
The Pirates will be led again by 2019 Class 7A Pitcher of the Year Alea Johnson. The sophomore starter who comes into the new season 39-5 with 438 strikeouts in 258 innings in the books, Johnson pitched and an ERA of just .62. Meanwhile opposing batters are averaging just .141 each against her. She also is good with the glove fielding at .939.
Batting she hit .470 with 56 RBIs (54 hits) including nine home runs last season. As an eighth grader she hit .343, drove in 48 and hit six of her 46 hits over the fence.
Also leading the Pirates’ 2020 campaign is Bella Wiggins in centerfield. The junior hit .461 last year and is maintaining a .500 on-base percentage.
Also highlighted by MaxPreps pitcher was Shelby McKenzie who won 11 varsity games in 2019 for Fairhope as a seventh grader. She hit .500 with a .750 on-base percentage last year. But she has moved to Pace, Fla., so the Pirates will be looking to make up the difference.
Head coach Chuck Nelson said with the addition of pitchers Ryley Harrison and Bailee Welsh the rotation should be in good shape.
The 2020 roster includes:
00 Lorna Agren LF Jr.
2 Justice Palmer C Jr.
4 Bella Wiggins CF Jr.
6 Claire Wagner 1st Sr.
10 Jordan White OF Sr.
11 Bella Cabral SS Fr.
15 Riley Harrison 3rd, P Fr.
55 Alea Johnson P, 1, 2 So.
95 Haley Minchew INF, C So.
96 Claire Norton INF So.
97 Alyssa Williamson OF Jr.
98 Katie Burch 2, OF So.
99 Bailey Welch RF, P Jr.
To see the other top teams picked by MaxPreps visit MaxPreps.com.
The Pirates kicked off their season at Robertsdale’s Swing into Spring tourney. Fairhope went 4-1 (outscored opponents 23-2) losing once to Saraland 2-1. On the winning side, they defeated Daphne twice 10-0, 6-0 (Johnson no-hitter) and sank the MGM Vikings 5-1. Fairhope then got another crack at the Spartans and won the final 1-0 on a Bailey Welch RBI to score Bella Cabral. Johnson threw a one-hitter and struck out eight of 14 batters faced to get the win.
The neighboring rival Trojans will get a rematch Thursday (Feb. 18) when the Pirates host Daphne at 6:30 p.m. To check schedules of all Baldwin teams, visit: AHSAA.com/softball.