Prep notebook: Alexandria star finds softball home at Southern Union
by Brandon Miller
bmiller@annistonstar.com
Feb 05, 2014 | 2142 views |  0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alexandria High’s Kaitlyn Rhodes found a home away from home recently when she signed to play softball at Southern Union State Community College. On Friday, she’ll celebrate the signing with friends and family.

“I’ve been looking at them since I was a 10th grader,” she said. “Once some of my friends started going there, it just kind of stuck. I know a lot of people from Calhoun County that went out there to play, and they’re very easy to get along with. I really like it.”

Rhodes, a catcher, will be recognized at a signing reception Friday at 2 p.m. in Larry Ginn Gymnasium.

She was named honorable mention on The Anniston Star’s Class 4A-6A All-Calhoun County team last season. Rhodes and the Valley Cubs start the 2014 season Feb. 25 against Etowah.

DAY GAME: Not even last week’s winter weather could keep Woodland and White Plains from playing basketball.

While a good number of games across the state were canceled, the two teams rescheduled for Tuesday afternoon. The day began at 1 p.m. with the student body getting out of class to watch some hoops.

Woodland and White Plains have played an afternoon series the last two years. It’s a trend that has boomed in Calhoun County over the past year, and Woodland girls coach Larry Strain appreciated the idea since he was in high school at Randolph County.

“We’d play Dadeville during the day,” he said. “It was the only time we’d get to play during the day, and we’d do it once a year. One year we’d go down there and the next year they’d come up here.”

Clay Central athletics director Steve Giddens was the coach at Randolph County at the time, and Strain said that’s who he got the idea from.

Woodland played Clay County during the school day for several years, but when Clay Central – a combination of Clay County and Lineville – was scheduled to open in August 2012, Strain gave White Plains boys coach Chris Randall a call.

“Coach Randall always loves doing little extra things with basketball,” Strain said. “That’s why White Plains is so special in basketball.”

On Tuesday, Woodland students were charged $3 for admission, which is half of the normal ticket total, and the money sometimes is used as a fundraiser. Randall said the money from when White Plains hosted last year was enough to pay for the team’s trips to Destin for their Christmas tournaments.

On Tuesday, the Class 2A top-ranked Woodland girls tipped off with White Plains at 1 p.m. and won 70-23. The White Plains boys defeated Woodland in the game that followed 51-40.

“I just think it’s good for our students to get to watch our basketball team,” Strain said. “Most kids don’t get to go to ballgames at nighttime, so they get an opportunity to see us play during the day. I thought it’d be a good idea for school spirit.”

REMEMBERING FRIENDS: After signing with Auburn on Wednesday, running back Racean Thomas didn’t forget where he came from.

Almost immediately after sending his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday morning, Thomas was communicating with Weaver High students through Twitter, letting them know he was headed their way soon.

Thomas attended Weaver schools until he was in eighth grade when his family moved to Oxford. Thomas’ recruitment grew to the point that he became a consensus five-star player.

“He’s a Weaver boy,” Weaver athletic director Daryl Hamby said. “Roc’s a good kid and still friends with a lot of kids that go here.”

Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star.
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