Longtime Texas High softball coach Robbie Hatfield knew early into the 2019 season that he had a special player in freshman Lauren Allred.
It would be an understatement to say Allred was a key factor in the Lady Tigers race to the postseason. She led all Texarkana schools with an incredible .622 batting average. That’s one reason why Fox Sports Texarkana has named the Texas High phenom 2019 Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year on its Texarkana City All-Star Team.
Add to that batting average a .678 on base average, 16 doubles, a triple and seven home runs. Allred also scored 46 runs, while driving in another 43. There’s also the fact she was defensively a brick wall at third base for the Tigers.
Fox Sports Texarkana recognizes that Texas High faces the toughest competition of the city’s schools. Not only did the Tigers make a run at a district championship, but in the postseason the bowed out early to one of Texas’ best squads in Forney. It was no easy task for the Lady Jackets, who were forced to play three games before prevailing with a pair of 4-1 wins. That’s why Hatfield is our Coach of the Year, and senior Lindsey Egger is the Pitcher of the Year.
Egger was 17-7 in the circle this past season with a 3.03 ERA. In 166 innings she struck out 166, yielding 68 walks and 155 hits.
Now for our first-team selections:
Senior Isabella Gunderson of Liberty-Eylau is the first-team pitcher after helping the Lady Leopards reach the playoffs. She finished 12-7 on the season with a 2.58 ERA. In 113.2 innings she struck out 59, beating Pittsburg and Pleasant Grove twice for the second seed in District 15-4A going into the postseason.
Texas High’s Kylie Spriggs is our catcher. She was brilliant behind the plate defensively, hitting .330 with 9 doubles and a triple. Spriggs had 28 RBI.
There were several outstanding players at the same position, so we’re recognizing our four selections simply as infielders.
Pleasant Grove’s Bre Jones would have been a strong candidate for player of the year if not for Allred. Jones hit .560 this season with 13 doubles, 4 triples and 3 home runs. Her on base average was .625. She also scored 31 runs and drove home 22, with 13 stolen bases.
Senior Savannah Phelps was Liberty-Eylau’s most productive hitter and a defensive wizard. She hit .494 with an on base average of .620. Phelps had 10 doubles, 4 triples and 4 home runs. She scored 29 runs, with 18 RBI and 11 stolen bases.
Texas High senior Kaitlyn Cross is one of our All-Star infielders. Cross hit .404 this year with an on base percentage of .500. She had 10 doubles, 1 triple, 5 home runs, 35 RBI and 27 runs scored.
The Lady Hawks’ Kristin Key had an explosive bat this spring, hitting .465. She contributed 11 doubles, 2 triples, 3 home runs, scored 24 runs, and drove in 24.
L-E twins were brilliant in the outfield
Liberty-Eylau twins Keeley and Kayla Norris are among the best defensive outfielders the school has had in the last decade. Both are also a force at the plate. Keeley hit .455, with an on base percentage of .606. She had 4 doubles, 2 triples, a home run, and 26 stolen bases. Keeley scored 29 runs and drove in 10 more. Kayla hit .386, with 4 doubles and a triple. She added 31 stolen bases, while scoring 23 runs and driving in 13.
Our third outfielder is Pleasant Grove’s Kaylee Kelley. She was dynamite for the Lady Hawks, hitting .476 with an on base average of .506. Kelley had 8 doubles, 2 triples and scored 27 runs.
Every All-Star team should have a utility player, and we’re no exception with Arkansas High junior Kaitlyn Fortenberry earning this key position. Pitching for a young Lady Backs team, Fortenberry was dominating at times with 154 strikeouts and a 2.99 ERA. She was also Arkansas High’s best hitter with a .472 average, and owner of our most incredible statistic, an .898 on base average.
Liberty-Eylau’s McKenzye Williamson fits well as our designated hitter. She hit .364 for the Lady Leopards. Her on base average was .493. Williamson was a powerful performer with 6 doubles, 6 home runs and 27 RBI.