In case it’s escaped anyone’s attention, Beaumont High’s record 47-home run output on the Lady Cougars’ softball season blew apart the previous mark of 35, set only four years earlier.
Only one of those HR-hitting players, Savannah Flinn, has graduated.
It leaves Julia Shepherd (12 HRs) and Alyssa Gonzalez (11 HRs) among the leading candidates set to return in 2018.
Alyssa Mays, outfielders Joey Casey, Mahkenzy Lewis and Aubrey Slider, plus shortstop Megan Watkins crashed the remainder of the Lady Cougar HRs. Each are scheduled to return next spring.
This free-swinging bunch isn’t so free-swinging. These kids seem to have plate discipline. No over-swinging. No lunging at pitches. Smooth, quick swings. Mostly.
Rival teams better have a game plan in 2018. It’s not like a pitcher can work around one hitter. There could be at least seven legit HR threats in the lineup.
Imagine any freshmen coming to Beaumont. Last year’s Freshman of the Year had to be Shepherd. Right? Ninth-grader. Twelve HRs. Batting average over .500.
Any more like her ready to show up at Beaumont?
There was a work ethic lodged in their plate approach, said coach Frank Fuimaono.
Speaking of Shepherd.
Beaumont’s 4-2 playoff loss to visiting Santa Barbara San Marcos had one glaring play.
Shepherd, who had homered in her first at-bat, was struck on the left arm by pitcher Hailie Rios on her next trip. Though you want to see her swing the bat, the plate umpire ruled Shepherd didn’t attempt to move out of the way of that pitch.
Instead of taking her place at first base, perhaps setting up a rally, Shepherd was forced to keep hitting. Sore, perhaps, from taking Rios’ pitch, she popped out.
Highly, highly questionable call. Umpires, trying to interpret rules, sometimes get in the way of a good game.
Shepherd, for her part, homered in all four Beaumont playoff games.
RECORD-SETTING SEASON UNKNOWN
For some reason, Styrone Hairston, Jr., who scored an incredible 338 points on the football field in 2012, isn’t reflected in the CIF-Southern Section record book.
He should be.
That season, he rushed for 3,376 yards over a 13-game schedule.
He would be seventh all-time in the Southern Section records-keeping numbers, trailing Ventura’s Tyler Ebell (4,495) in 2000. Riverside Norte Vista’s Eric Melesio racked up 4,459 yards last fall.
Truth is, Hairston’s remarkable season, a QB read-option attack that included 56 total TDs, plus two 2-point conversions, landed him with 338 points.
Again, Melesio beat Hairston last season. He came up with 340 points. Hairston’s 338 still belongs in the Southern Section’s top 10.
The lack of inclusion, perhaps, brings into question on the accuracy of the Southern Section’s record-keeping. On the other hand, if no one reports the numbers, it’s hard to be accurate.
It’s a nice feeling to sift through the records just to reflect on so many schools, players and memorable seasons that have taken place for over a century.
Hairston’s 2012 season was memorable.
Think about it: Over a century. Hundreds of high schools. Thousands of players. Hairston’s righteous place in the record book deserves a mention.
It’s curious to note that Banning High product Chrystine Kistner, an all-conference pitcher for Midland (Texas) College with a 21-8 record this past season, had just one win as a Lady Bronco sophomore pitcher, one win as a junior, before compiling an 11-6 mark as a senior.
At bat, however, Kistner struck the ball at a .377 clip as a Banning sophomore, .516 as a junior (6 HRs) and then hit .439 as a senior.
Speaking of Hairston, the former Bronco will be featured in the Record Gazette later this summer.
HOT ROD NUMBERS
Leah Pritchett, who called Cherry Valley home a few years back, has registered some jaw-dropping numbers on the NHRA (drag racing) Top Fuel circuit in 2017.
Though Steve Torrence wrestled the Top Fuel points lead away from Pritchett – 1,071-to-1,021, the duo is 1-2 – Pritchett is enjoying a spectacular season.
A three-time winner already in 2017, Pritchett has scored some top numbers when she hasn’t won.
At Englishtown, N.J., she posted a .046 response time (RT), a .036 RT at New Hampshire a week later. Response times are critical to hot rodders. The quicker the jump on the start tree, the faster the time.
She didn’t win at Commerce, Ga., either, but she had a .023 RT plus a 3.669-second elapsed time (ET) over the thousand-foot distance her dragster must travel.
In North Carolina, that ET registered at 3.737 seconds.
Her lifetime best speed is 330.24 miles an hour.
She’s won at Baytown, Texas, Pomona and Wild Horse Park, Arizona, reaching the semifinals in New Hampshire and Las Vegas, losing in the finals at Bristol, Tenn.
As for speed, consider this: Years ago, NHRA cut down the travel distance from a quarter-mile to 1,000 feet due to safety concerns. That cut, over 300 feet, probably means there will be no more speed records.
Next up is this weekend’s Fallen Patriots Route 66 National at Elwood, Ill.