North Alabama Rattlers roll through summer tourneys with pair of titles, three runner-up trophies

By Staff
Scot Beard
For the North Alabama Rattlers softball team, the USSSA 14U Madison Summer Slam III tournament was a chance for redemption.
In five previous tournaments, the team never finished worse than third.
In Madison, the Rattlers had the opportunity for revenge against the teams they lost to.
"In the last tournament, all of the teams that beat us in the previous tournaments were there," said Rattlers coach Jimmy Taylor. "We wanted to beat them to prove a point."
The Rattlers succeed in proving that point, compiling a 5-0 record in the tournament to win the championship trophy.
Now, the Rattlers have a new goal – finding room in their trophy cases for all the hardware they have won this summer.
In May, the Rattlers finished second in NSA North League Championship and took third at the USSSA North Alabama Championship. The success continued in June with a first-place finish in the USSSA Alabama NIT World Series Qualifier and a second-place finish in the USSSA State Tournament.
They opened July by finishing second at the USSSA 14U Madison Slam I tournament.
All that success has paid off well for the Rattlers.
"The official rankings have not come out yet, but the director told me we are going to be ranked first in the state and fourth nationally," Taylor said. "These girls have done a phenomenal job."
Taylor said it was difficult to mention only a couple of players that were instrumental to the team's success because the players were focused more on team effort than individual accomplishments.
He said he has been pleased with his pitchers – Olivia Taylor, Kathryn Warren and Jessica Speake – throughout the season. He was also happy to see Braeden Sellers hit her first career home run.
"They've all been special in some sort of way," Taylor said. "Our big advantage has been from the top to the bottom of our lineup we've had strong hitters. We've also played good defense"
Taylor said one of the keys to the team's success has been the improvement on basics throughout the season. He said the Rattlers' base running kept getting better as the season progressed.
Taylor said he hopes this team's success will get other softball players in the area interested in playing travel ball. Taylor will coach a travel team based in Huntsville for the fall season and will hold tryouts in a few weeks.
Until then, he will enjoy what his Rattlers did this summer.
"It was a team effort," Taylor said. "I have nothing but the highest praise for each of the girls and what they have accomplished."

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