By Jonathan Deal
Nancy Keenum couldn’t remember a time when her team didn’t feature at least one player from Limestone County. It’s no different this season with four Calhoun players hailing from Athens or Limestone County schools.
The veteran softball coach recruits the area for talent every offseason and has a trio of local players leading the team this season. West Limestone’s Hannah Dildine, Ardmore’s Allison Hodges and Athens’ Shelby Kerr all start for Calhoun Community College while East Limestone’s Chyanne Brown is in her first season with the team.
“Every year, I always have some Limestone County folks,” said Keenum. “Last year, we had more Admore girls and this year their are four different schools.”
Four former Ardmore players — Kelsey Gilbert, Kelsey Turner, Brittney Brown, Callie Bryant — helped the team to 44 wins and a fourth-place finish at the Alabama Community College Conference Tournament.
Another former Ardmore player, Allison Hodges, has four home runs and a .375 batting average this season. The sophomore is lucky to even be playing after a near-fatal car accident kept her off the field during her first year on campus.
“She is a good student and great person,” said Keenum. “Because of what’s happened to her, I think she has the attitude of ‘you have to take advantage of every opportunity.’”
Another Limestone product that nearly had her career cut short in a car accident and is starting for Calhoun is Hannah Dildine. The former West Limestone pitcher is leading the team with a .443 batting average and is 3-1 on the mound with five saves this season.
“She is as pure an athlete as you can be,” said Keenum. “She can do more than one thing. Last year she played outfield and now is pitching, batting in the No. 3 spot and leading the team in batting average.”
Shelby Kerr, a 2013 Athens High graduate, is starting at second base for the Warhawks and batting .268. Another first-year player, Chyanne Brown from East Limestone, plays first base and looks to be a major contributor next season.
The team recently began conference play with a pair of wins at Marion Military Institute to improve to 27-15. Today, they travel to Shelton State for another pivotal conference game.