Jun. 25—ALEXANDRIA — Brian Hess keeps churning out winning softball teams at Alexandria, and his history suggests he's close to another special season.
The 2021 season was special enough.
For coaching the Valley Cubs to a 35-12 finish and into the final day of play in Class 5A, Hess is The Anniston Star's Calhoun County 4A-6A coach of the year.
Alexandria won the Calhoun County tournament and Area 11 regular-season and tournament titles. The Valley Cubs advanced to the state tournament as the East Regional's No. 1 5A qualifier and finished in the final four.
And the best part? Alexandria had no seniors.
Pitcher Rylee Gattis, the Alabama Sports Writers Association's 5A pitcher and player of the year, and Jacksonville State commit Ashley Phillips, a first-team all-state shortstop, lead a strong returning group for 2022.
"Like I told them, with this many young kids to be in the top four, I said, 'There's not a soul in this place back in February that ever would have thought we'd have got to this point,'" Hess said after the Valley Cubs completed play at state. "So to be able to get to this point, I'm proud.'"
Hess won state titles at Alexandria in 2004 and 2014. His 2003 team had no seniors.
Sports Writer Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.