Tunstall softball players, along with their families and friends and coaches, packed into the back dining room of Danville’s Kickback Jack’s last Monday night for a plethora of awards during Tunstall’s end-of-the-year ceremony on July 1 at Kickback Jack’s from Tunstall coach Caine DeVivi.
Senior shortstop Nia Green, who will attend Longwood University in the fall, sat at the top of the list, earning Most Valuable Player honors.
Green’s longtime best friend and Tunstall utility player Kayley DeVivi earned the Trojan Award.
Seniors Brooke Craddock, Saige Johnson, Harley Hearp and Abby Wallace earned Coaches’ Awards as well.
By the end of the night, Green, Craddock, Johnson, Wallace, Hearp, Kayley and Cassidy Scarce earned both captain stripes and bars.
Sophomores Megan Gee and Leah Holder each earned their varsity levels for their three-year service to the team.
Tunstall had a busier awards season then most Hollywood actresses or production companies.
It started in mid-June when the Trojans placed nine players on the Piedmont All-District team.
Hearp, Wallace, Scarce, Green, Kayley and Craddock were all named to the all-district team.
Griffith, Johnson and Kalei Hundley earned second-team honors.
But we’re still not done.
Green was named the Piedmont’s player of the year, while Kayley earned pitcher of the year.
“I just think it really shows how hard we’ve worked this season. Like you said, for nearly every starting position getting selected to the team shows how much effort we put into this season,” said Craddock.
While Scarce agreed with Craddock on the Trojans’ work ethic she also gave Tunstall’s focus this year a shout out as well.
“We worked very hard in practice and would go out every day and do what we had to do in practice. We didn’t play around or anything,” Scarce added. “It really helped us to the type of season we had.”
Scarce wasn’t lying.
Tunstall posted a 22-3 mark on the season and won the program’s first Piedmont title in nearly a decade.
“To me, that’s what was so special about this senior class,” Craddock said. “We’ve played together so long and bonded and for us to bring home a district title for the first time in a while was an awesome experience.”
The Trojans’ awards tour continued the following week as they placed six players on Region 3D teams as well.
Kayley, Wallace, Green and Craddock earned first-team nods, while Hearp, Scarce and Hundley were selected to the second-team.
If that wasn’t enough, Kayley earned Region 3D player of the year honors as well.
Kayley and Green rounded out their trifectas a week later, earning selections to the 2019 Class 3 All-State Softball team.
With the individual accolades that flowed this season, it’s not shocking to find out Tunstall re-wrote some VHSL history as a team.
Tunstall banged out 340 hits this season, moving the program into fifth for single-season runs. The Trojans also placed one more Top-10 finish, scoring a single-season eighth best 266 runs.
Kayley (55), Green (49) and Wallace (40) led the Trojans’ offense this season in hits.
Green drove in a team-high 43 runs while Scarce drove in 28 and Craddock finished with 27.
Kayley also set the new VHSL single-season record in doubles with 19, breaking the previous mark of 15.
“Our hitting was a result of splitting our practices into two halves every day,” Kayley said. “The first half we’d practice hitting, the second we’d work on defense. We’ve always been a good offensive team and taking more cuts offensively and really bonding like we did helped out to.”
“It was really one of those things where somebody starts out the game with a hit and the rest of them just keep falling in line. Having a dugout behind you that’s awesome helps to and it’s really all about the people behind you and the amount of work you put into it.”
Craddock added, “We’ve played together for so long now and once you play with somebody for such a long time, you learn each other really well and it helps.”
The Trojans had one more chance to reflect on their accomplishments this season as a team at Kickback’s and the Piedmont District title was at the forefront.
“It was really exciting going out there and beating Franklin County because we had already beat them twice and it’s hard to beat a team three times in a row but we played as hard as we could, kept cheering each other up and ended up pulling it out,” Scarce said.
“One of the things about the championship game I’d like to add is that it was so different from the other two times we’d played them,” Kayley said. “The first two times we’d played FC we beat them pretty handily, but having that game being so close only brought more excitement to the win.”
“It was a great win because we all had to work together for that and it wasn’t one where you could say just one or two people made the difference. Everybody contributed. But it was awesome for [Brooke], who’d never been to a district championship game to finish one out like that her senior year.”
Before the awards were passed out, Caine DeVivi took some time to express his gratitude. Especially towards his family and Tunstall’s Athletic Director Dustin Echols and his staff.
“Most coaches at the beginning of the season are lucky enough if they have enough money to even buy balls,” Caine said. “We don’t have to worry about that. Dustin and the athletics department take care of us and we need to remember and thank them as well.”