All-East Alabama softball: Central's Kelley, Glenwood's Perdue win top awards again

dmitchell@ledger-enquirer.comJune 3, 2014 

For the second consecutive year, Central's Allie Kelley and Glenwood's Dusty Perdue earned the top awards for the Ledger-Enquirer's All-East Alabama softball team.

Kelley, a junior, was named Player of the Year, while Perdue earned Coach of the Year.

While Kelley's numbers weren't quite what they were a year ago, when she won 31 games and struck out 179 batters, she did put together a similarly successful campaign that featured its most success during the stretch run late in the season.

She was 17-9 with a 1.95 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 176 innings pitched, She batted .299 with nine doubles, three home runs and 23 RBIs. Six of her nine losses were by a combined seven runs -- five by one run and one by two.

Her success later in the year coincided with the team's, which turned early-season struggles into a 27-18 record and a trip to the regional finals.

"At the beginning, I think we all had some trouble buying in (to new head coach Matt Hendricks)," Kelley said. "It was hard for us to let go of what we were used to. In the second half, we just trusted what he wanted to do and trusted each other."

The results were undeniable.

Kelley attributed much of her success to the addition of pitching coach Stasha Joyce this year. Kelley said Joyce has pushed her to work harder on her mechanics and focusing on getting her pitch speed up a couple miles per hour. That, of course, means more time spent in the weight room.

Kelley said she'd like to boost her speed from about 61 miles per hour, where it is now, to around 65 by next season.

For Perdue, he led a team that went 34-11 and finished in third at the state tour

nament.

While it wasn't the goal he and his team had set for themselves when they began play at state, he said failing to win it all didn't diminish the team's successes.

"Any time you can win 34 out of 45 games, it's a successful season," Perdue said. "We would have liked to win, especially with our seniors leading the way, but we had a great year regardless."

A couple of Glenwood's seniors, Macey Tucker and Cailah Niles, finished off careers that rank among the best in the history of Glenwood softball.

They'll lead the list of players Perdue has to replace going into next year. Given his track record, the odds are high that Glenwood will be in good hands.

"We hate to lose them, but it happens," he said. "We've just got to keep working. We plan on being back there next season."

David Mitchell, Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports and on Facebook at facebook.com/ledgerenquirersports

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