All-State members announced over weekend

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Alabama Sports Writers Association released their All-State members in both baseball and softball over the weekend. Charles Henderson’s Chase Smartt was selected as a first team member and was also named Player of the Year as well as Hitter of the Year. Joining Smartt on the All-State list is Trojan teammate, Austin Ingram who made the All-State second team in Class 5A.

Pike-Liberal Arts School’s Kayla Benton and Bailey Rushing were named to the AISA All-Second team list.

Smartt, who was also named The Messenger’s All-Area Player of the Year, finished 2015 with a .523 batting average. He also hit for power, finishing with seven homeruns for the season with 50 RBIs. In a year where Smartt saw few good pitches, Chase walked a total of 26 times in the year. It was the third straight year Smartt made the All-State first team roster.

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“In terms of his career here on the varsity team, his impact on the team is, if not the greatest, one of the greatest in the history of this program,” said Charles Henderson head coach Derek Irons. “It’s incredible because everyone we played knew who he was. He was pitched around quite a bit, and for him to get the hits he did tells you that when teams did make mistakes, he made them pay.”

Joining Smartt on the All-State team is teammate Austin Ingram. The senior made the second team in large part because of his input offensively. Mainly hitting behind Smartt, Ingram had the responsibility of protecting the rest of the lineup and score runs. Ingram took advantage of the opportunity in 2015. He batted .384 for the Trojans, hitting six homeruns and driving in 40 RBI’s.

It was the second straight season Ingram was named as an All-State selection.

Benton, also a 2015 selection for the Messenger’s All-Area Player of the Year Award was named a member of AISA All-Second team.

Benton finished the year batting .511 in the year for the Patriots, making it back-to-back seasons of batting over the .500 mark. Benton hit one Home Run and drove in 28 runs.

“When you draw it up, she was the perfect leadoff hitter, said John Ramage president of the Booster Club at Pike Liberal Arts. “She struck out very infrequently and she was always on base. When she reached first base it was almost automatic that she was going to reach second base.”

Bailey Rushing joined Benton on the second-team list for the 2015 season. She finished the season hitting .462, third highest on the team, following Sam Yarbrough, and Benton.

Lizzy Galloway rounded out the local players selected on the list. She pitched a masterful season in 2015 for the Goshen Eagles. She finished with an Earned Run Average of 2.23. She also did well offensively, batting .353 on the season.