Caroline Hudson

Henry County High School first baseman Caroline Hudson squeezes a throw to get an out during the Lady Patriots’ 3-1 victory over Stewart County April 17 at HCHS. Hudson completed her HCHS career this spring by etching her name in several spots in the Lady Patriots’ record book for hitting.

High school sports is at a standstill locally with a state-mandated dead period coming up soon.

So it’s a good time to catch up on record books and look back at what happened in Henry County High School sports in the past year. There are some neat numbers that have accumulated for several players and coaches.

The Patriot football team has had a record book since it began playing thanks to tireless work for many years by the late Bill Davis. Davis stopped doing the Patriot statistics in the early 1990s with first Brian Foster taking over at the games and now Darrin Thompson adding up the numbers on Friday nights.

There was a gap of a couple of years in which the record book didn’t get updated. Being the one that uses it the most, I started taking the after-game stat sheets and updating the book and I’ve been doing it ever since.

About the same time, former Patriot player and coach Russ James along with super fan Dave Parke began to go through old scorebooks and newspapers to build a boys’ basketball book. They did outstanding work and developed a book with a score from all the Patriots’ games with seasonal scoring leaders, 3-point field goal leaders, career scoring leaders and career 3-point leaders.

Both moved from the county and guess what, yep, I started updating that book every year, too.

Another duo put together a record book for softball. Former Lady Patriot coaches the late Randy Veazey and Chad Hodge used scorebooks saved by the first Lady Patriot head coach, John Dale French, to develop a book of hitting and pitching statistics. With Veazey’s death and Hodge moving on to coach elsewhere there was a gap in updating of that book in the early 2000s, so again I acquired the needed stats and we got it going again.

Since we had a boys’ basketball book, it seemed a shame to not have a girls’ basketball book. David Jackson had put together a list of the girls’ players that had scored 1,000 points several years ago. I had that and then realized that once we began to archive by computer at The Post-Intelligencer in the early 1990s, I could probably put together team pages and scoring lists for those seasons to the current season pretty easily.

So I did that and we have a partial girls’ record book. That book starts with the 1990-91 season because that is where our computer archives began. I haven’t had the time (because of all the games our schools play) to try to go through our microfilm files and try to piece together the years from 1969 to 1990 for the girls. James and Parke would tell you that is a long, tedious process.

Right now, that really hurts when we talk about career 3-point totals because former Lady Patriot standout and current girls’ basketball assistant coach Renae Lassiter hit 84 3-pointers her senior season of 1990-91 which is the still the most an HCHS girls’ or boys’ basketball player has ever sank in a single season. That is her career total for right now in our book because I haven’t been able to research the first three years of her career.

I wrote about football records after the Patriots’ run to the state championship game last December. So here is a look at some things that changed in the books for softball, girls’ basketball and boys’ basketball last season.

 

SOFTBALL

Two names took over several slots in the record books by the time the Lady Patriots had completed the 2019 season. For hitting, it was graduating senior Caroline Hudson and in pitching, soon-to-be senior Emily Brown moved to or near the top in several categories.

Lassiter has taken over as the Lady Patriots’ softball head coach for next season and she is the program’s 10th head coach since it became a full-time sport in 1987. She certainly will miss the impact of Hudson, who will be taking her bat to Liberty University in Virginia next season.

Hudson compiled a .557 batting average in 2019 which is the third best batting average ever for a Lady Patriot. Junior Avery Cox batted .500 this season for the seventh best average ever for a Lady Patriot. Cox recorded 55 hits this season, which tied former Lady Patriot Gracie Osbron’s 2018 total for fifth best hit total.

Hudson had 54 hits this year to now rank seventh. She also scored 45 runs this year to rank seventh in that category for a single season.

Both Hudson and Cox slugged a dozen doubles which tied them with 1992 Lady Patriot Heather Melton for 10th for doubles in a season. Hudson’s nine home runs rank sixth for a single season while Cox had 48 runs batted in to rank No. 5. Hudson drove in 44 runs to move into the No. 8 position on that list.

Hudson’s career numbers are even more impressive, including becoming the career leader for RBIs with 179. She finishes second in batting average at .482, hits at 202, at bats at 419, doubles at 50 and home runs with 32. She also is No. 3 in walks drawn with 61 and fourth in runs scored with 126.

With another season to play, Cox ranks fourth in career batting average at .420 and ninth in hits with 90.

Brown’s pitching achievements have risen her to the top in some categories deemed good and some bad, although the bad numbers are more by virtue of the volume of games she pitched in, rather than bad performance.

She had 16 wins this season, which is the fourth most in a single season. She holds that record with 24 wins in 2017. She also allowed the sixth most earned runs, 41, this season while pitching 130 1/3 innings for the eighth most in a season. She gave up 123 hits, which ranks fifth.

For her career, Brown is now the winningest pitcher ever for the Lady Patriots with 58 wins. Graduating senior Paige Roberts moved to No. 6 on the wins list with 24. Roberts will pitch at Bethel University next season.

Brown now has the sixth most losses ever for a Lady Patriot hurler with 20 and has given up the most earned runs with 145 and second most runs surrendered overall with 215. She ranks second in innings pitched with 444 1/3 and tops the hits allowed list with 426.

 

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Hudson’s name also now appears in the Lady Patriots’ basketball record book after she hit 51 3-pointers in the 2018-19 season to rank fourth in single season 3-point shots made.  She is also fifth in career 3-point baskets with 73 while graduating teammate Caroline Singleton ranks 15th in 3-pointers made with 48.

Lady Patriot head coach Cliff Curd completed his eighth season at the helm of the program and now has coached more games than any girls’ basketball coach in HCHS history. His record is 142-99 with five straight 20-win seasons. The 142 wins is second among the Lady Patriots’ head coaches behind the late Stanley Cooper’s total of 156. Cooper was the first HCHS girls’ head coach.

 

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

There wasn’t a lot of movement in records for the boys’ basketball team other than Will Singleton’s 61 3-point baskets, ranking as the third best total for a Patriot in a single season. He has 65 in his career, with a season to play, to rank 13th in career 3-pointers made.

The Patriots went from their inaugural season, 1969-70, until 2015 with every leading scorer averaging double figures. That streak was broken in both the 2016 and 2017 seasons before James King hit for a 21.0 scoring average in 2018. Junior forward John Odoms extended the streak of double figure scoring leaders to two with a 13.9 average this season.

 

TOMMY PRIDDY is a Paris native who has been sports editor at The Post-Intelligencer since 1985. He can be reached by email at sports@parispi.net.

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