No Such Thing as “Summer Break” for Local Athletes

By: Tim Lambert
Some of you reading this may remember when summer vacation was about a three-month-long affair. Not these days—especially if you’re an athlete. For some families, their “vacations” consist of following their kids’ teams as they compete almost until the time school starts back up. To each his own, I guess. At least a couple of local teams are making the most of it. The 11-year-old Limestone Legends finished 2nd at the Dizzy Dean state baseball tournament back in June, winning their Red division with wins over Arab and Pell City before falling to Blue division winner Corner in the title game. The 13-year-old team from Limestone County swept through their bracket, defeating Huffman, Gardendale and Spain Park to take the crown. Both teams went on to play in the Dizzy Dean World Series in Southaven, Mississippi.

The Athens Gators have posted several wins at various meets since their swimming season started in early June. Boys and girls teams both won at Marshall County, TN by a combined score of 374-231. They followed that up with a home matchup with Florence where the girls came out with a 187 win while the boys were defeated 208-164. The Gators claimed a combined 43 gold medals against Lawrenceburg. A home meet against Fayetteville ended in a split with the Athens girls winning 147-137 and the Gator boys coming up short 148-120. The teams swept Sheffield by a combined score of 389-265 before dropping a meet against Shelbyville 328-288. The Gators came back to win the ARPA district 1 championship with a combined score of 2899 to Florence’s 1793 and Sheffield’s 1732. A meet at Sewanee resulted in a fifth-place finish for the team.

Michaela Williams of Athens finished third at the recent Alabama Women’s State Amateur Golf Championship in Montgomery. Michaela, a 2016 graduate of Athens High School is now a member of the team at the University of Tennessee. Younger sister Ally also posted a previous win in the 16-18 division of the AGA Junior Golf Championship with a three-day total of 219.

Athens High’s Jacob McNairy and James Clemens’ Jordan Anderson and Garrett Brown were named as part of the All-Huntsville Region baseball team. McNairy also participated in the Southeastern Underclassmen Shootout at Troy which featured six teams from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. The rising senior pitched for Alabama Team 1, going three innings in an 8-5 win over Team Tennessee. The games were sponsored by the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association. Anderson was picked in the 40th round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Texas Rangers. He had previously signed to play with Mississippi State and will stick with the Bulldogs for the time being. He is the first James Clemens Jet to be selected in the draft. Athens native Gregory Lambert was drafted by the San Diego Padres. The left-fielder, who graduated from Madison Academy, has been playing for Southern Illinois in the Missouri Valley Conference for the past three years where he led the team with a .329 batting average, 74 hits, 7 home runs, 52 RBIs and a .551 slugging percentage. He also holds the school record with 25 doubles.

Two Athens High grads signed scholarships in recent weeks. Tionna Moore will continue her basketball career at Gadsden State while Luke Simpson will play baseball at Alabama A & M.

Local athletes took part in various games during this past All-Star Sports Week in Montgomery. James Clemens’ Kaley Arnett along with Athens High’s Mary Arlin Bunnell and Sean O’Connor played in soccer games on Tuesday. The Lady Golden Eagles’ Alexis Woods and Lauderdale County’s Allie Craig Cruce competed in girls’ basketball on Wednesday. West Limestone’s Baily Browning was on the softball field on Tuesday. Tanner’s Dexter Fuqua was in Thursday’s football game. ABS and Lindsay Lane were two of 108 schools who finished this past school year with no fines or ejections. The schools were honored at the AHSAA Sportsmanship Luncheon as part of All-Star Week.

Upcoming events and registrations:
Registration for Athens Boys and Girls Football Association is $75 in July. Call 777-0326.
Youth fall baseball registration ends July 30 for ages 5-12. Youth fall softball registration ends July 31 for ages 5-12. Fee is $50. Call 233-8740.
The Rogersville Chamber of Commerce and Town of Rogersville will co-host A Night with Coach Gene Stallings at the Florence-Lauderdale Coliseum August 3 at 6:30 p.m. For tickets or more information, call Kate Brown at 247-9449.
Tune in for the PlayAction Sports Update, three times each weekday on 1080 AM WKAC. Visit us online at!
By: Tim Lambert