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franklin county times

North Alabama Kraze has good season

The North Alabama Kraze “00” team members stand with their accolades after the 2012 “A” Class Gold World Series in Jackson, Tenn. The team took second place in the tournament. The members of the team are: (front row left to right) Presley Witt, Leeah Jackson, Leisha “Moonshine” Steger, Savannah “Bam” Sudduth, Faith Welch; (back row): Coach Doug Jackson, Jalyn Cherry, Abby Askew, Sidney Miller, Johnna Staggs, Lyndsey Johnson and Coach Billy Steger. Not pictured is Maci Birdyshaw.

The North Alabama Kraze “00” is a travel softball team comprised of players from around our area.

The “00” denotes the year that the players were born. The team plays in the 12-year-old bracket, so “00” is short for the year 2000.

The Kraze “00” is coached by Doug Jackson, the assistant softball coach at Phil Campbell, whose wife Nina is the head coach for Phil Campbell High School softball starting this season.

The Kraze recently competed in the 2012 United Southern Girls Fastpitch (USGF) “A” Class World Series in Jackson, Tenn., where the team finished in second place out of 18 teams.

This is a great accomplishment for a team that started the season in a lower division.

“I think we played well,” Doug Jackson said. “I think we started off a little bit slow, but as the season progressed they formed into a great team.

“We wanted to be a ‘B’ Class team and we did that. As we progressed we started playing ‘A’ Class ball and we did well in that too. You always want to win it, but we did well as a team in ‘B’ Class ball, so we wanted to step into that ‘A’ Class zone. We felt we did well after we stepped into that situation and came out a runner-up to a great ‘A’ Class team (Lady Lightning 12U.)”

Jalyn Cherry, Presley Witt, Leeah Jackson and Abby Askew were named to the All-World Tournament team.

Cherry was also named Outstanding Offensive Player of the Series and won the home run derby with two home runs during the skills competitions.

Askew was named Outstanding Pitcher of the Series as well.

The team as a whole received the Best Sportsmanship Award for the 12 and Under age group.

Witt is the daughter of Vanessa and Carl Witt of Collinwood, Tenn., Leeah Jackson is the daughter of Doug and Nina Jackson of Phil Campbell, Leisha “Moonshine” Steger is the daughter of Billy Steger and Amanda Jeff of Union Hill, Savannah “Bam” Sudduth is the daughter of Kevin and Trina Sudduth of Vernon, Faith Welch is the daughter of Van and Debbe Welch of Savannah, Tenn. Cherry is the daughter of Junior and Lois Cherry of Savannah, Tenn., Askew is the daughter of Matt and Dena Askew of Tuscumbia, Sidney Miller is the daughter of Dave and Saundra Miller of Madison, Johnna Staggs is the daughter of John and Amy Staggs of Rogersville, Lyndsey Johnson is the daughter of Chasity Crawford of Vernon and Maci Birdyshaw is the daughter of Barry and Ronda Birdyshaw of Lawrenceburg, Tenn.

The Kraze finished in the top two or higher in seven out of nine tournaments during the season and top two or higher in 10 out of 13 tournaments for the year.

They would also like to thank the North Alabama Kraze organization and all of their sponsors. It would not have been possible without them.

Travel softball, which is played during the summer, is becoming more and more popular across the South as college teams gain more prominence on the national level.

Participating during the summer gives players added benefits that may help lead to a college scholarship in the future.

“I think if girls are really interested in playing softball at the next level it is very important to step out there and play travel ball,” Doug Jackson said.

“You have a lot of coaches at these tournaments looking at you, so you get a lot more exposure playing travel ball. It’s very important if you want to go to the next level, because you’re going to get better playing in the summer than sitting at home.”