CLASS 4A STATE SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Orange Beach 5, Houston Academy
Orange Beach High School Secures AHSAA Class 4A Softball Title
Jacksonville, AL – The atmosphere was charged with anticipation as Orange Beach High School’s sophomore pitcher, K.J. Favors, took the mound for the AHSAA 2023 Class 4A State Softball Championship finals. Favors’ dreams of a no-hitter were shattered early on when Houston Academy’s lead-off hitter, Mary Suzan Aman, ripped a single up the middle, marking the beginning of an intense battle on the diamond.
While the opportunity for a perfect game slipped away, Favors remained committed to delivering Orange Beach their third AHSAA state title. The Makos, led by head coach Shane Alexander, rallied behind their talented pitcher, and Favors delivered an outstanding performance, allowing only one hit throughout the game. The Makos asserted their dominance by triumphing over Houston Academy with a resounding 5-0 victory, clinching the 4A state crown.
With a season record of 46-10-1, Orange Beach showcased their unrivaled strength against 4A competition. The championship game, originally scheduled at Oxford’s Choccolocco Park, was relocated to Jacksonville State University’s Jana McGinnis Stadium to escape predicted rain. Meanwhile, head coach Sharon Cherry’s Houston Academy Raiders (47-9), had previously claimed the Class 3A state championship in 2022 but transitioned to Class 4A for the current season.
In the highly anticipated finals clash, the Makos’ offensive prowess proved overwhelming. Favors maintained her composure, facing only 24 batters, allowing a lone hit, walking two, and striking out four to earn well-deserved MVP honors. The Makos wasted no time in establishing their dominance, with freshman Teagan Revette leading the charge by driving in Daigle Wilson, the team’s sophomore shortstop, in the opening inning.
The Makos’ momentum continued to build, as junior Falyn Beebe and freshman Addy Oldham, batting eighth and ninth in the lineup respectively, unleashed back-to-back triples in the second inning, stretching the lead to 3-0. Eighth-grader L.C. Robbins further solidified the Makos’ advantage with a towering solo home run in the third inning, while freshman catcher Ava Hodo contributed another run with a triple in the fourth frame.
Robbins and Oldham stood out with impressive performances, each notching two hits. Wilson’s exceptional performance saw her reach base on all four plate appearances, including a single, two walks, and a hit-by-pitch. Wilson also showcased her speed, stealing two bases and crossing home plate twice. With only one senior on the roster, Orange Beach’s young team is brimming with excitement for the future, aiming to leave an indelible legacy like no other “new” school in history.
Houston Academy valiantly fought in the elimination bracket games, securing their spot in the championship match against Orange Beach. In a spirited clash against Brooks, Houston Academy triumphed with a convincing 10-3 victory. Their leadoff hitter, Mary Suzan Aman, was exceptional, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Pitcher Emily Adams showcased her skill, scattering 13 hits across seven innings and emerging as the winning pitcher.
The battle between Brooks and Curry in the first 4A elimination game was an exhilarating affair, marked by multiple ties and lead changes. Ultimately, Brooks emerged victorious with a hard-fought 6-5 win. Adrianna Johnson’s clutch single in the sixth inning propelled the Lions to a crucial two-run lead, securing their path to the next round. Although Curry added another run, bringing the score to 6-5, Brooks’ pitcher Abby Herndon remained composed and sealed the victory with six strikeouts.
In recognition of their outstanding performances, K.J. Favors, Teagan Revette, and L.C. Robbins from Orange Beach, alongside Houston Academy’s Mary Suzan Aman, Emily Adams, and Ansleigh Smith, were named to the Class 4A All-State Tournament team.
The AHSAA 2023 Class 4A State Softball Championship showcased the unwavering determination and exceptional skills of these talented athletes. As the Orange Beach Makos bask in the glory of their third consecutive title, their remarkable journey and the passion for the game will undoubtedly inspire future generations of softball players.
Cover Photo | Orange Beach sophomore K.J. Favors earns 4A MVP honors tossing a 1-hitter in the 4A championship game (AHSAA PHOTO | Vasha Hunt)