“I know she worked every summer and during every break while everyone else was enjoying their time off,” Saks coach Michelle Lively said. “She’s a three-sport athlete and could probably play any sport, but she never lost sight of what she wanted to do, and that was pitching. She pitched during basketball season, she pitched during softball season, she pitched during the summer, she pitches in the rain.
“That’s what makes her stand apart from everyone right now.”
West, who signed a softball scholarship with Jacksonville State last fall, earned 33 wins for Saks this past season and led the Lady Wildcats to their fifth consecutive Class 3A state tournament. In addition to her pitching, she batted .358 with 46 RBIs, 30 runs and 11 home runs when she wasn’t on the mound. But the statistic that raised eyebrows around the state was her 610 strikeouts on the season.
“Last year I had over 500 and I planned on reaching over that this year,” West said. “I was looking at stats for the year and I thought by the end of the year I could reach something like that.”
The total was 47 short of the state record and is fourth all-time.
However, West wasn’t the only dominating pitcher in the area to be recognized.
Cherokee County’s Tori Davis was not only named the Class 4A Pitcher of the Year and Player of the Year, but was also named to the Super All-State team.
Davis made all-state in 2012 for the first time and was also named the player of the year. This past season she continued her success in the circle, winning 40 games with a 0.47 ERA and 447 strikeouts.
“What really worked for me was having my teammates behind me,” Davis said. “They did a wonderful job the entire season and we couldn’t have had the season we had without them. I just had confidence in my teammates and knew I could do it with them behind me.”
Davis also hit .379 on the year, despite focusing on pitching more than hitting. She hit seven home runs and recorded 38 runs and a team-high 54 RBIs, helping the Warriors reach the Class 4A state tournament for the fifth consecutive season.
“We had fun together and that’s really what you remember,” Davis said. “Sure we didn’t make it as far as we wanted to, but the season we had before the end of it was great. We came together and tried our best.”
Davis is one of 10 finalists for Miss Softball, which will be announced at the ASWA banquet Sunday at Jacksonville State University.
Davis was joined by teammate Madison Millsaps, who made the Class 4A team, after leading Cherokee County in most offensive categories.
The junior hit .513 with 79 hits — including 27 doubles and seven home runs — on the year, and she also drove in 54 runs. Millsaps had a .569 on-base percentage.
In Class 1A, Heather Smart of Spring Garden made the All-State team, as well. Smart led the Lady Panthers with a .544 batting average and recorded 25 runs and 13 RBIs. The senior also stole 14 bases.
Sports Writer Brandon Miller: 256-235-3575. On Twitter @bmiller_star.