HOOVER – Decatur’s Tanner Burns and Westminster Christian’s Annie Willis were named Mr. Baseball and Miss Softball, respectively, by the Alabama Sports Writers Association on Sunday night at the group’s 46th annual convention at the Hyatt-Wynfrey in Hoover.

In addition, Mobile Christian’s Ethan Hearn was named the recipient of the ASWA’s Jimmy Smothers Courage Award. Named after the long-time sports editor of the Gadsden Times and guiding force in the ASWA, it recognizes his commitment to local and high school sports coverage, and honors a high school athlete who has overcome adversity and shown immense courage.

Burns, expected to be a high choice in the Major League Baseball player draft this week, was selected the ASWA’s Class 6A first-team shortstop and the 6A Player of the Year when the group’s prep committee met last week to select its all-state team. Burns was also the 6A hitter of the year in 2016 as a utility player, a first-team pitcher in 2015 and first-team designated hitter as a freshman.

In 37 games for the 32-5 Red Raiders, the senior hit .467 with 18 homers, 46 RBI, 49 hits and 56 runs. He walked 29 times and struck out just six times. As a right-handed pitcher, Burns went 10-1 with a 0.88 ERA and 116 strikeouts against 22 walks, while allowing eight earned runs in 64 innings. The Auburn signee helped Decatur to the quarterfinals – where the team was ranked 32nd in the nation before its loss to Cullman.

Joining Burns on the ASWA's Super 10 baseball players in the state is Piedmont's Taylor Hayes. Hayes, the Class 3A Player of the Year who helped guide Piedmont (27-14) to a state runner-up this season, compiled a .461 average at the plate with 16 doubles, three home runs, a triple, 21 walks, 13 stolen bases, 43 runs scored and 31 RBIs. He also went 10-5 with a save, a 1.76 ERA and 132 strikeouts on the mound. Hayes has signed to play football at Jacksonville State.

Willis was the Pitcher and Player of the Year in Class 4A in helping her team to a runner-up finish and a 51-4-1 record. With 543 strikeouts this year, she finished her pitching career with 1,975. This year, she went 43-3-1 and had an ERA of 0.40. She pitched five no-hitters, three perfect games and 21 shutouts. Willis allowed 44 walks, 90 hits and 15 earned runs in 259 2/3 innings.

The senior hit .464 this year with 12 homers, 64 RBI, 70 hits, scored 40 runs, walked 23 times and struck out just nine times. She was a first-team all-state pitcher as a junior and sophomore and was honorable mention as a freshman. The Troy signee helped the Wildcats to a high-water mark of 14th in the country.

Hearn was honored for his courage in the face of tremendous adversity. The sophomore returned from football practice on a Thursday night last November to find his mother dead of an apparent suicide.

Though his teammates and coaches rushed to his house to comfort him that night, few expected him to make the trip to Oakman early the next morning for the team’s Class 3A quarterfinal playoff game. Not only did Hearn make the trip, he made 8.5 tackles in a Mobile Christian victory and eventually helped power the Leopards to the title game.

ASWA SUPER 10 BASEBALL VOTING

(First place votes in parentheses)

BASEBALL

Tanner Burns, Decatur (9) 117

Bubba Thompson, McGill-Toolen (2) 87

Jacob Heatherly, Cullman 80

Cody Greenhill, Russellville 66

Sam Praytor, Helena 57

Connor Jednat, UMS-Wright 39

Taylor Hayes, Piedmont 37

Jonah Smith, Sweet Water 17

Brock Guffey, Hoover 13

Drew Williamson, T.R. Miller 11

MR. BASEBALL WINNERS

2017: Tanner Burns, Decatur

2016: Owen Lovell, Cullman

2015: Brax Garrett, Florence

2014: Cody Reed, Ardmore

2013: Keegan Thompson, Cullman

2012: Mikey White, Spain Park

2011: Daniel Koger, Huntsville

2010: Daryl Norris, Fairhope

2009: Luke Bole, Hartselle

2008: Tyler Stovall, Hokes Bluff

2007: John David Smelser, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa

2006: Del Howell, American Chr.

2005: Colby Rasmus, Russell Co.

2004: Patrick White, Daphne

2003: Joey Doan, Baker

2002: Allen Ponder, Lee-Scott Acad.

2001: Eric West, Southside-Gadsden

2000: Wade Miller, G.W. Long

1999: Matthew Maniscalco, Oxford

ASWA SUPER 10 SOFTBALL VOTING

Annie Willis, Westminster Chr. (8) 115

Jenna Ergle, Sumiton Chr. (3) 105

Kendall Beth Sides, Sumiton Chr. 73

Mary Katherine Tedder, Spain Park 70

Abbey Latham, Demopolis 56

Josie Page, Washington Co. 49

Lacey Fincher, Faith Acad. 39

Zoie Emrick, Buckhorn 24

Alex Wilcox, Brantley 23

Amy Woodham, Slocomb 17

MISS SOFTBALL WINNERS

2017: Annie Willis, Westminster Chr.

2016: Ashlee Swindle, Curry

2015: Lacey Sumerlin, Baker

2014: Madi Moore, Winfield

2013: Kasey Cooper, Dothan

2012: Haylie McCleney, Mortimer Jordan

2011: Shelby Holley, Pisgah

2010: Leigh Streetman, Hueytown

2009: Hilary Phillips, Ider

2008: Lindsey Dunlap, Hueytown

2007: Whitney Larsen, Vestavia Hills

2006: Anna Thompson, Grissom

2005: Tara Donaldson, Baker

2004: Anna Thompson, Grissom

2003: Holly Currie, Pisgah

JIMMY SMOTHERS COURAGE AWARD WINNERS

2017: Ethan Hearn, Mobile Chr.

2016: Alex Wilcox, Brantley