Happening Now

Piedmont Cutting Loose

Senior Ava Pope gets congratulations from Piedmont coach Rachel Smith after hitting a home run against Wellborn on Tuesday. (Photo by Jean Blackstone/For East Alabama Sports Today)
Senior Ava Pope gets congratulations from Piedmont coach Rachel Smith after hitting a home run against Wellborn on Tuesday. (Photo by Jean Blackstone/For East Alabama Sports Today)

Piedmont, AL – With still more out there to accomplish, Piedmont’s successful senior softball class looks to enjoy the rest of the ride.

By Joe Medley

It took a while to read off the accomplishments of Piedmont’s three senior softball players Tuesday.

The all-state, All-Calhoun County, all-area, all-tournament and academic accolades for Jaycee Glover, Ava Pope and Savannah Smith tell one story.

The record, which stands at 114-67-2 after the Bulldogs beat Wellborn 13-1 on Tuesday, says another thing.

Then there’s history. As freshmen, the trio helped Piedmont make its first state-tournament appearance in the school’s fast-pitch era. As seniors, they can make it four in a row.

“I still remember the feeling of the first team that made it,” aspiring pre-med student Glover said. “I was close with all of the girls then and even the seniors there.

“Now realizing that I’m a senior, I think it would be special if we could go 4-for-4.”

The Bulldogs looked the part Tuesday, pounding out 15 hits support of Smith’s four-hitter with six strikeouts.

Pope, Cayla Brothers and Cacey Brothers homered. Glover, Smith, Cayla Brothers and Carson Young had doubles.

Cacey Brothers had three RBIs. Pope, Smith and Cayla Brothers had two apiece.

With a home run on senior night, Pope walked away with the biggest grin. What’s better than a home run on senior night?

“Not very much, I have to say,” she said. “First pitch, I was like like, ‘Um, this looks good,’ so I just pulled the trigger.”

It was memory to add to so many for Piedmont’s senior trio, and not all of their favorite memories involve a bat, a glove or a bright yellow ball. All gave their favorite memories from softball to be read over the public address during pregame senior-night activities, and two of the three players recalled a rude awakening in Hixson, Tenn.

There to play in Hixson High School’s 2023 tournament, they got a wee-smalls wakeup call for a tornado warning.

For most of their careers, the three seniors have been the force of nature that helped to make Piedmont a point of light in Calhoun County softball. Their accomplishments include the program’s first county-tournament championship, in 2023, and this year’s runner-up finish.

It was all part of the long read-off of accomplishments as the three players stood at the pitcher’s circle before Tuesday’s game. They had time to stand there and think of it all.

“Really, it just doesn’t feel like we’ve been here that long,” Smith said. “Knowing that we’ve accomplished all of those things, academically and athletically, I think that just proves what great people we all are.”

Area, regional and state tournaments offer chances to accomplish more before Glover, Pope and Smith turn in their blue-and-gold uniforms. To that end, Piedmont coach Rachel Smith, Savannah’s mom, offered them a key in a private talk Tuesday.

“This class, they’re so conscientious of being great athletes, and being leaders and great academically,” Rachel Smith said. “I just told them before the game that I felt like all three of them are pressing a little bit this season, as far as feeling the pressure that they have to lead.

“I told them, ‘I want you all to spend the rest of this season just cutting loose and having fun.’ That’s what I want for them.”

Senior Ava Pope gets congratulations from Piedmont coach Rachel Smith after hitting a home run against Wellborn on Tuesday. (Photo by Jean Blackstone/For East Alabama Sports Today)
Senior Ava Pope gets congratulations from Piedmont coach Rachel Smith after hitting a home run against Wellborn on Tuesday. (Photo by Jean Blackstone/For East Alabama Sports Today)

 

Piedmont played host to Wellborn on senior night for Glover, Pope and Smith, believed to be the winningest senior class in Piedmont softball history.

Photos by Joe Medley

Cover photo: Piedmont senior softball players (from left) Jaycee Glover, Savannah Smith and Ava Pope and their parents participate in senior-night activities before playing Wellborn on Tuesday.
Piedmont senior softball player Jaycee Glover’s memorabilia table for senior night.
Piedmont senior softball player Jaycee Glover with parents Magan and Matt during Tuesday’s senior-night activities.
Piedmont senior softball player Jaycee Glover receives flowers from teammate Cayla Brothers during Tuesday’s senior-night activities.
Piedmont senior third baseman guards the hot corner during the Bulldogs’ game against Wellborn on Tuesday.
Piedmont senior softball player Ava Pope’s memorabilia table for senior night.
Piedmont senior softball player Ava Pope with parents Amy and Nathan on senior night.
Piedmont senior softball player Ava Pope receivers flowers from teammate Carson Young during Tuesday’s senior night activities.
Piedmont senior right fielder Ava Pope during the Bulldogs’ game against Wellborn on Tuesday.
Piedmont senior softball player Savannah Smith’s memorabilia table for senior night.
Piedmont senior softball player Savannah Smith and parents Rachel and Steve during Tuesday’s senior-night activities.
Piedmont senior softball player Savannah Smith receives flowers from teammate Cacey Brothers during Tuesday’s senior-night activities.
Piedmont senior pitcher Savannah Smith deals against Wellborn on Tuesday.

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