Cara Goodwin  Cullman AL

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Commit Status:   University of Alabama at Birmingham

Cara Goodwin

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Cullman AL

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Update: 2-TIME NFCA 1st Team ALL-AMERICAN!!!
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Good Hope High School 2012

171 47 12 2 4 7 13 0 .380 .404 .526 34 2

Good Hope High School 2011

120 31 12 1 2 9 8 2 .383 .429 .550 17 4

Good Hope High School 2010

146 48 16 2 1 10 13 0 .459 .484 .616 47 2
My Pitching Stats

Good Hope High School 2012

318 60 525 0.86 43 6

Good Hope High School 2011

256 59 439 1.12 28 11

Good Hope High School 2010

178 52 301 0.94 26 7
My News

Raiders’ Goodwin among state finalists for High School Heisman

By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times The Cullman Times Tue Oct 30, 2012, 05:30 PM CDT

CULLMAN — Awards season is beginning earlier than usual for one of Alabama’s most talented student-athletes.

Months before the the start of the 2013 softball campaign, Good Hope’s first All-American, Cara Goodwin, was selected Sunday as one of 20 state finalists — 10 females and 10 males — for the Wendy’s High School Heisman award.

According to the award’s website, the honor is annually handed out to “the nation’s most esteemed high school seniors” who display exceptional leadership and thrive in “learning, performing, and leading in the class room, on the field and in the community.”

The national field will shrink to 102 student-athletes on Nov. 5, when the state winners — one boy and one girl from each state, as well as the District of Columbia — are announced. Twelve national finalists will then be picked, two of which will eventually be crowned the national award winners.

The first stage of the High School Heisman program involved naming school winners, one senior boy and one senior girl, from all schools across the country that applied.

In addition to Goodwin, six other student-athletes in The Times’ coverage area were chosen as school winners — Keegan Thompson and Hannah Cornelius, Cullman; Caleb Marsh and Courtney Walker, West Point; Savannah McAlpine, Vinemont; and Jessie Gladys, Hanceville.

The Raider ace, who broke numerous school softball records, earned All-State and All-American honors, and led the Red and White to their second-straight state appearance in 2011, is the sixth local student-athlete — Austen Cooper, Addison (2011); Alexandria Scott, Addison (2010), Christina Franks, Vinemont (2010); Palee Myrex, Cold Springs (2009); and Matt Garmon, Cold Springs (2007) — to garner High School Heisman award state finalist status since 2007.

Addison’s Scott is the only one thus far who has advanced as a state winner.

% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at robk@cullmantimes_dot_com.

ASA 16U "A" National - UPDATE!

Overall we finished 9-2 at Nationals and a 3rd place finish! (151 teams) I am very proud of my team-mates and coaches! We played some fantastic softball and had some incredible wins. My stats for the week were: 6 wins, 1 loss, 39 2/3 IP, 4ER, 43K. Great job ladies! GO VIPERS!!!

PREP SOFTBALL: Whitehead, Goodwin start, shine in All-Star game

By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times The Cullman Times Wed Jul 11, 2012, 08:10 AM CDT

MONTGOMERY — It's not uncommon for athletes from bigger schools across the state to ask where Good Hope and Holly Pond are located when meeting players from either community.

Those kinds of questions will no longer be a concern for a number of Alabama's best prep softball players, though, after Cara Goodwin and Katlyn Whitehead put the Raiders and Broncos on the map by being chosen as the starting pitcher and catcher for the North squad in the first game of the All-Star Sports Week softball doubleheader Tuesday night in Montgomery.

The pair of Cullman County standouts then backed up that selection by working together for three shutout innings en route to a 0-0 tie in the night's first contest. With Holly Pond's Whitehead calling the shots from behind the plate, Good Hope's Goodwin made it look easy from inside the pitcher's circle. The Raider struck out five of the state's most talented sluggers and allowed only one hit and one walk before Hatton's Hillary Carpenter took over in the fourth inning.

“I thought it was a really good experience because me and 'K-dub' played on the same travel team for awhile,” Goodwin said. “It was cool to have her catching for me. It was an honor to even start.”

Whitehead, a Wallace State commit, was practically floating after her All-Star outing.

“It was a very great experience for me,” the Bronco said. “Starting catcher, I mean, I couldn't even explain how happy it made me. To me, it means that all our hard work paid off, that somebody actually recognized us.”

Sparkman's Dale Palmer, who coached the North squad along with Ragland's Jonathan Nix, said Goodwin and Whitehead “rose to the top” during the team's practices and combine Monday and Tuesday, making them easy picks to start at their respective positions.

“We had two catchers, and I felt like Katlyn was a little bit above the other girl,” Palmer said of Whitehead. “She's good at blocking and mentally, she's real sharp. I like that in a catcher.”

Palmer's reasonings for choosing Goodwin, a UAB commit, were a bit more personal, however.

“My travel team played against Cara last weekend, so I know how good she is,” he said with a laugh. “You can hear the ball spinning when she throws it, and she's got really good movement. I felt like she gave us the best shot in that first game to get us through the first two innings without them being able to score. She proved me right.”

Whitehead lined a crisp single to right field in her first at-bat in the third inning, the North's only hit in the opening ballgame until Lawrence County's Mackenzie Hill added another in the final frame.

Between Whitehead's contributions at catcher and with the bat, Holly Pond softball coach Steve Miller was beaming with pride.

“That was special. You can't ask for anything better than that out of a kid,” he said. “I've coached 22 years now, and I've never had a kid in any sport — and I've coached almost all of them — on an All-Star team. And I've had some really good players. But she's deserving. She should be where she's at.”

Sitting next to Miller for both of Tuesday's games was Good Hope coach Wayne Harris, who was just as proud of his player.

“She did what she needed to do on the mound and didn't give up a run, so you can't complain there,” he said. “I think it's a great big deal for her and the school and the community, to see her on this grand stage down here. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It puts that icing on the cake on a great season that she's had.”

A two-run homer from Daphne's Peyton Grantham, the South's MVP, highlighted a 7-5 win for the South in the nightcap. Sparkman's Margaret Willis, the North's MVP, touted a two-run blast of her own.

Whitehead walked and later scored in the third inning of that second contest, and Goodwin piled on one more strikeout when she returned to the pitcher's circle to close out the top half of the seventh.

“I think they represented their county about as well as any county was represented here tonight,” Palmer said of Whitehead and Goodwin. “I don't think there were any mistakes made by either one of them, and they handled every kid they faced.

“Cullman ought to be proud. We had quite a few players here from Madison County, but those two kids right there shone just as much as anyone from Madison County.”

% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at robk@cullmantimes_dot_com.

PREP SOFTBALL: Goodwin becomes Good Hope’s very first All-American

By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times

GOOD HOPE — Cara Goodwin became Good Hope High’s very first All-American athlete Tuesday after earning one of only 16 spots on the 2012 National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s High School All-American First Team. The Raider phenom made the exclusive list as an at-large pitcher.

“I was ecstatic,” said Goodwin of her reaction to Tuesday’s news. “I thought it was an honor just to be in the running for it. I didn’t think I would get it.”

Good Hope softball coach Wayne Harris said he couldn’t help but let out a celebratory yell when he saw Goodwin’s name among the All-Americans on the NFCA’s website late Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m so excited for her I’m speechless,” he said. “You can’t get any bigger than All-American. You put up those kinds of numbers, and I think that helps.”

The numbers Harris referred to are Goodwin’s school-record 43 wins, 525 strikeouts and 318 2-3 innings pitched in 2012. Those stats, along with four no-hitters, 19 shutouts and a 0.86 ERA, helped her land on the NFCA’s South Region First Team last week, which wasn’t long after she was named the Class 4A Pitcher of the Year and a First Team pitcher by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. Goodwin was snubbed by the ASWA when the Super All-State Team was released, but Harris thinks this All-American honor more than makes up for that exclusion.

“You’ve got a different body of voters, and everybody is going to see things differently,” he said. “It was disappointing that she wasn’t recognized, but at the same time, a name and a piece of paper is just a name and a piece of paper. To me, this shows the people not just in the South, but in the nation, recognize her abilities. I’m just glad she got this.”

The Raider softball program has certainly been on the rise in recent years. The Red and White compiled a school-record 43-7-2 showing this past season, storming through the consolation bracket to win the Northwest Regional Tournament before ending the year at the state tournament in Montgomery. Harris believes that kind of showing, coupled with Goodwin’s All-American status, can only help the school going forward.

“Good Hope’s reputation in fastpitch helps solidify our program and hopefully encourages all the kids to work hard and maintain that level of performance,” the coach said. “They can take this and roll it into next year right where we were and hopefully finish a little stronger — springboard to get us to the second day in Montgomery. That should be our new goal.”

With all she accomplishes in the pitcher’s circle and at the plate, Goodwin is undoubtedly the Raiders’ biggest star on a stacked team of top-notch athletes. The UAB commit had no problem admitting she wouldn’t have been chosen as an All-American if not for the players who surround her on the diamond.

“I wouldn’t be here without my team,” Goodwin said. “They get big ups.”

Three senior players recently graduated, but the core of the Good Hope softball team — Goodwin, Kayla Tillman, Alannah Henke and Darcie Wilson, among others — will return next spring. That has Harris licking his chops about the Raiders’ potential for 2013.

“I think that if the team does what they did this year, they can be just as good, and she can be just as good,” he said. “Will she throw 318 innings? I’d love to have two or three other people to share the workload so she can get more rest. A rested pitcher tends to throw even better.

“She’s a workhorse. One of the umpires during the season called her a beast, in a good way. She enjoys pitching and trying to get people out. If she does what she loves to do and enjoys doing it, she can be in the same situation next year.”

As of Tuesday, there were eight pictures displayed on the walls of the school’s gym, commemorating past Good Hope athletes who have earned All-State honors. Although no official announcement has been made, it’s likely Goodwin will eventually be added to that Wall of Fame as the Raiders’ first All-American.

The good-natured teen can’t wait to see it.

“It’ll feel good,” she said. “I’ll be able to look up at it and say, ‘Oh yeah, that’s me.’”

Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at robk@cullmantimes_dot_com.

PREP SOFTBALL: Goodwin only Ala. player to earn NFCA All-Region honors

By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times The Cullman Times Fri Jun 22, 2012, 11:11 AM CDT

CULLMAN — Good Hope's Cara Goodwin was the only softball player from the state of Alabama to be honored when the National Fastpitch Coaches Association recently released its 2012 High School All-Region teams. The Raider was rewarded for a record-breaking junior season with a First Team selection as a pitcher in the South Region.

“It's just an overall reflection on everything she accomplished this year, that our team accomplished this year,” Good Hope coach Wayne Harris said. “She was the pitcher, her teammates got hits and runs, and we got wins.

“It's a big deal. I've never had a First Team player. I have a lot of proud feelings for what she's done.”

Goodwin is now eligible for inclusion on the NFCA's First Team, Second Team or honorable mention High School All-American squads, which will be announced June 26.

“I don't know any of the kids on the list, but it's an honor to be in the position she's in,” Harris said. “It'd be the icing on top of the cake if she was able to make the final cut. Speaking as her biased head coach, of course she deserves a fair chance.”

This is Goodwin's latest honor since the Raiders' school-record 43-7-2 campaign came to a close at the state tournament in May. She was tabbed the Alabama Sports Writers Association's Class 4A Pitcher of the Year nearly two weeks ago, accompanying her obvious selection as a First Team pitcher.

The now three-time All-State ace has produced mind-boggling numbers in every year of her prep career, and 2012 was no different. Goodwin not only broke school records and climbed the state record books in wins (43), strikeouts (525) and innings pitched (318 2-3), but she also tossed four no-hitters and 19 shutouts while sporting a squeaky-clean 0.86 ERA.

The UAB has been spending her summer pitching for the Birmingham Vipers' 16-and-under travel team. They qualified for the Amateur Softball Association's national tournament by winning a qualifier in Arkansas earlier this month and finished second out of 96 teams at the Scenic City 16's Summer Showcase in Chattanooga this past weekend.

The Vipers will travel to Denver, Colo., next week to participate in the 16th annual Louisville Slugger Independence Day Tournament. Almost 400 college coaches attended the exclusive showcase in 2011.

Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at robk@cullmantimes_dot_com.

2012 Scenic City 16's (summer) Runner-Up

We took runner-up this weekend at the Scenic City 16's Showcase in Chattanooga. 96 teams were there and we had a lot of fun! Congrats Vipers! Great job!

2012 ALL-STATE SOFTBALL TEAM: Good Hope’s Goodwin named 4A Pitcher of the Year

June 9, 2012

2012 ALL-STATE SOFTBALL TEAM: Good Hope’s Goodwin named 4A Pitcher of the Year
Raiders’ Henke, Tillman also earn ASWA honors
By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times The Cullman Times Sat Jun 09, 2012, 06:00 AM CDT

CULLMAN — As Wayne Harris watched Alabama's Jackie Traina and Oklahoma's Keilani Ricketts duke it out in Game 3 of the Women's College World Series late Wednesday night, the Good Hope coach couldn't help but think about how Raider ace Cara Goodwin stacks up with two of the best softball pitchers in the country.

Sure, Goodwin is in high school, and Traina and Ricketts are top-tier Division I athletes in college. But Harris has seen enough from his own phenomenal pitcher to feel Goodwin belongs in the same discussion.

In 2012 alone, Goodwin had 43 wins and 525 strikeouts in 318 2-3 innings — all school records and in the top 15 of the state's record books. To top it off, the UAB commit had four no-hitters, 19 shutouts and sported a 0.86 ERA.

“When we got to the playoffs, we were talking about numbers and how staggering Cara's were,” Harris said. “Over my career, how softball has changed, to see somebody that consistent day in and day out, and to strike out over 500 batters in a year, that's just wow. Her numbers rank right up there with the best ever in high school.”

Harris apparently isn't the only one in awe of Goodwin's spectacular junior campaign. With today’s release of the Alabama Sports Writers Association's All-State teams, the Good Hope superstar was named the Class 4A Pitcher of the Year. Goodwin was also an obvious selection to the First Team as a pitcher.

“I think she's done everything that Cara Goodwin can do for Good Hope softball,” Harris said. “And by doing that, even if she wins a paperclip, whatever she gets, she's truly deserving. She's put in the hard work. She's a true competitor and a great teammate who wants to win, who wants to work hard. She comes to the ballpark wanting to get better and help her teammates get better.”

Considering the Raiders’ school-record 43-7-2 season that included a North Regional title and berth to the state tournament, it’s not surprising the Red and White landed three players on this year’s All-State squad. Goodwin was joined on the prestigious list by teammates Alannah Henke, a First Team first baseman, and Kayla Tillman, an honorable mention designated hitter.

Harris said he’s had the pleasure of watching Henke, who recently completed her sophomore year, develop since she forced her way into Good Hope’s starting lineup as a seventh grader. Henke excelled in the clean-up spot (No. 4) in the batting order this year, batting .455 with 70 hits, 41 runs, 40 RBIs, 16 doubles, five home runs and three triples. The slugger was also walked 22 times.

“I’d probably be walking her, too,” Harris said. “Because if she gets a hold of the ball, she’s going to hit a double or a home run.”

Tillman, a Second Team selection in basketball this past year, is no stranger to postseason accolades. Harris placed the rising senior at the top of the order early in the season, a role where she consistently sparked the Raiders’ offense. Good Hope was often able to take leads into the second inning because Tillman either led games off with home runs or found ways to get on base and let her teammates do the rest.

“It helps a lot when you get that run in the first inning,” Harris said.

Tillman finished the season with a school-record 12 home runs. She also had a .480 batting average with 84 hits, 51 runs, 46 RBIs, 16 doubles and two triples. Harris was especially impressed with Tillman’s RBI total, considering her position in the lineup.

“Being a leadoff, you don’t always get those types of numbers,” he said. “This year, her natural ability caught up with her athletic ability. She’s a great athlete who can play any sport she wants.”

‰ Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at robk@cullmantimes_dot_com.

PREP SOFTBALL: County’s best

Goodwin named Player of the Year; 26 others make All-County squad
By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times The Cullman Times Sun May 27, 2012, 09:47 AM CDT

CULLMAN — Wayne Harris can only imagine what it’d be like if all the student-athletes named to this year’s All-County softball squads were given the opportunity to team up on the same field.

“This is a great list of athletes,” the Good Hope coach said of the 27 girls who garnered First and Second Team honors for their performances during the 2012 season. The selections were compiled and voted on by Cullman County’s seven softball coaches. “I wish they could play together for a year or two.”

After a school-record 43-7-2 campaign that included a Class 4A North Regional Title and a trip to the state tournament, it’s no surprise four Raiders — and their coach — earned spots on the First Team, including three of the All-County squad’s four highest honors.

Good Hope ace Cara Goodwin, who verbally committed to UAB shortly before the season, was chosen as the county’s Player of the Year, an obvious choice considering the junior phenom’s eye-popping 2012 season. From the pitching circle, Goodwin was responsible for all 43 of the Raiders’ wins. She also fanned a whopping 525 batters in 318 2/3 innings of work. Those stats are new school records and place Goodwin near the top of the state’s single season record books in all three categories — tied for fourth in wins, 10th in innings pitched and 13th in wins.

If that weren’t enough, the junior was also rock solid at the plate, sporting a .380 batting average with four home runs and 34 RBIs.

Goodwin’s teammate, Kayla Tillman, was tabbed as the county’s Offensive Player of the Year. The junior, an All-State Second Team selection in basketball, crushed an astounding 12 home runs. Tillman also compiled 84 hits, 16 doubles, 46 RBIs and a stellar .480 batting average.

Harris was picked as the Coach of the Year. Good Hope’s other two First Team inclusions were lefty slugger and first baseman Alannah Henke, as well as the Raiders’ ever-reliable catcher Darcie Wilson.

Holly Pond, whose season ended at the North Central Regional Tournament, claimed four First Teamers, including Defensive Player of the Year Katlyn Whitehead. The Wallace State commit wowed Bronco coach Steve Miller wherever he needed her on the field. That was third base for most of the season before a late move to catcher, the same position she’ll eventually play for the Lions. Whitehead and Goodwin were both selected to represent the North squad at the 16th annual Alabama All-Star Sports Week in July.

“Other than pitcher, I feel Katlyn would be able to play any position on the field at any time,” Miller said. “She is a true utility player.”

Holly Pond's Montana Holcombe joined Whitehead on the county’s First Team. The sophomore standout, who reached 1,000 career strikeouts midway through the season, had 313 strikeouts on the year, including 32 in her team’s two regional matchups.

The Broncos’ other two selections were left-handed slap hitter Taylor Rowell, a sophomore outfielder, and infielder Taylor Miller.

All four of Fairview’s seniors landed on the All-County First Team. Bea Woodard, a Snead State signee, and Jessilynn Lubert made it as outfielders, while Annie Holcomb, a Wallace State signee, was picked as a catcher. Infielder Sabrina Russell rounded out the Aggies’ selections.

West Point placed three student-athletes on the First Team, while Vinemont had two and Cold Springs had one.

The Warriors were represented by Karra Elam, infield; Kacie Beck, utility; and McKenzie Baswell, outfield.

The players picked from Vinemont, who reached the North Central Regional Tournament, were Raven Christiansen, utility, and Katie Fuller, infield.

Cold Springs’ eighth-grade pitcher Rilee White was selected as a utility player.

See below for the complete All-County First and Second teams.

Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at robk@cullmantimes_dot_com.

All-County Softball Team


Player of the Year: Cara Goodwin, Good Hope

Offensive Player of the Year: Kayla Tillman, Good Hope

Defensive Player of the Year: Katlyn Whitehead, Holly Pond

Coach of the Year: Wayne Harris, Good Hope


Montana Holcombe, Holly Pond

Rilee White, Cold Springs


Darcie Wilson, Good Hope

Annie Holcomb, Fairview


Alannah Henke, Good Hope

Karra Elam, West Point

Sabrina Russell, Fairview

Katie Fuller, Vinemont

Taylor Miller, Holly Pond


Bea Woodard, Fairview

Jessilynn Lubert, Fairview

Taylor Rowell, Holly Pond

Mackenzie Baswell, West Point


Raven Christiansen, Vinemont

Kacie Beck, West Point

Second Team


Kaitlyn Kelley, West Point


Taylor Payne, Cold Springs


Sarah Quick, Holly Pond

Maegan Sterling, Good Hope

Kiersten Simmons, Vinemont

Kendra Pearson, Vinemont


McKinnley Davis, Cold Springs

Haley Freeman, Cold Springs

Bailie Andrews, Good Hope

Arkansas ASA Qualifier Champions!

We went undefeated (5-0) to win the Arkansas ASA Qualifier this past weekend! Way to go Vipers! See you at Nationals!

Good Hope ace Goodwin's stats staggering heading into state

By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
GOOD HOPE — Cara Goodwin never thinks twice about her stats. Even as the Good Hope ace continues to climb the state record books in wins and strikeouts, the individual numbers she’s compiled are the least of her concerns.

“I just focus on winning,” the junior said. “When you work for something really hard and you get it, it feels awesome, but I don’t ever pay attention to specific numbers.”

She might be the only one. With her frequency for reaching double-digit strikeouts, as well as the likelihood she’ll lead the Raiders to victory every time she enters the pitching circle, there aren’t too many folks who have been able to ignore Goodwin’s jaw-dropping stats this season.

Heading into the Class 4A state tournament Friday in Montgomery, Goodwin’s 43 wins has her tied for fourth all-time in the state. Pisgah’s Holly Currie’s record of 52 set in 2002 is safe and sound for another year, but there’s a good possibility Goodwin can take sole possession of third (44) by Friday or Saturday. Her 504 strikeouts, only 153 behind the state’s current record-holder, are good for 17th on the all-time list.

“When you put up those kinds of numbers, it’s impressive,” Good Hope coach Wayne Harris said. “She still does stuff that amazes all of us.”

The latest example of that remark came during the regional tournament this past weekend in Huntsville. In the Raiders’ first game Saturday morning against Wilson, Harris said Goodwin “threw her normal, typical ballgame.” However, a few missed pitches the Warriors capitalized on resulted in a 5-2 loss for Good Hope.

In the Red and White’s first rematch with Wilson later in the day, Goodwin showed she had learned and matured from the defeat earlier in the day, holding on in a nine-inning thriller for a must-win 5-4 victory. Then, in the if-necessary title game, the ace switched things up by adding a steady dose of her drop ball to stymie the Warriors for a championship-clinching 5-0 shutout.

“She proved that she could throw a different style of game and still win a ballgame,” Harris said. “I think that will go a long way not just this weekend or next year, but for her career after high school. The more diverse you can be, the better.”

With Goodwin going to her drop ball in the title tilt, Kayla Tillman said she knew there’d be more slow dribblers hit her way at third base.

“I kept thinking, ‘I have to get this for her,’” Tillman said. “Because if I didn’t, I’d feel bad because she works so hard to do so much for this team. I think some people don’t even realize how hard she worked to pitch four games that day. And if she had to pitch more, I know she would have.”

Darcie Wilson has been catching for Goodwin since the eighth grade. She said the two have developed a sort of “twin telepathy” over the years.

“We’ve been pitching to and catching for each other for so long that it feels like we know what the other one wants,” Goodwin said. “As soon as I shake ‘Darce’ off, she knows what pitch I’m wanting to throw.”

That doesn’t mean Wilson likes the thought of being at the plate instead of behind it for an at-bat versus her teammate.

“If I was to go against her batting, I’d forget what she threw and not be able to tell what she’s throwing,” the catcher said. “She’s wonderful.”

Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at robk@cullmantimes_dot_com.

Good Hope High School "The Dream Team"

Raiders’ best bunch ever thinks of squad as ‘one big family’
By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times The Cullman Times Thu May 17, 2012, 08:00 AM CDT

GOOD HOPE — Between a school-record 33-2 basketball season during the winter, as well as a school-record 43-5-2 softball campaign this fall, this year’s batch of female student-athletes at Good Hope is undoubtedly the best the school has ever seen.

It would probably be difficult for outsiders to explain how these two programs have managed to combine on an unfathomable 76-7-2 record and matching trips to their respective state tournaments. But for Cara Goodwin, Kayla Tillman, Alannah Henke, Darcie Wilson and Kacy Thomas, five players who have been invaluable to the Lady Raiders’ success both on the court and on the diamond, it’s simple: These Raiders aren’t just teammates. They’re friends. They’re sisters. They’re family.

“We just play around and have fun, and I guess that’s what works for us,” said Henke, whose hot bat from the left side of the plate will be on full display when Good Hope kicks off its quest for a Class 4A state title against Bibb County Friday at noon in Montgomery. “We’re pretty much just like one big family.”

Wayne Harris has been coaching many of these girls since they were in the seventh and eighth grades. During his time with the Raiders, he’s had the pleasure of watching their chemistry blossom to levels that make it easy to see why they’ve established such a winning tradition.

“The core group, the ones that play both sports, I think they’ve been around each other, I don’t want to say forever, but they’ve basically grown up together,” Harris said. “They’ve been playing competitively with each other since they started playing sports.

“Academically, they’re just as competitive in the classroom. They all have the desire to succeed and do their best. It doesn’t matter who it is or what the obstacle is. We have some people who don’t play basketball who come in and fit right in. They’ve blended well together.”

When Harris first got to Good Hope, he said he had to teach the team how to recognize the fine line of when it was appropriate to have fun and when it was time to “go to work.” After a record-breaking 2012 and a 2011 season that ended at the regional level, it’s safe to say those lessons have paid off.

“We’ve done a good job of keeping that balance,” the coach said. “You can still have a whole lot of fun and be successful. That’s what it’s supposed to be about. If it’s not fun, then you don’t want to do it.”

Finding ways to have fun hasn’t been a problem for the Good Hope softball team. The girls constantly joke around with Harris and assistant coach Wesley McSwain and never have problems coming up with new nicknames for each other. Wilson joked that her latest is WTP, short for “warning track power” because other than one home run this season, most of her shots have come up just short and bounced off the fence.

“We all pretty much have the same bond,” Goodwin said. “We’re really close. We go out to eat all the time. We’re just really good friends. There are teams that don’t get along and get caught up in fighting. But we never fight. We never argue or anything. It carries over onto the field.”

With one more day of the regional tournament left to be played, celebrating was the last thing on the Raiders’ minds Friday in Huntsville when they broke the previous school record for wins (39) with an 11-1 thrashing of Deshler. After storming through the consolation bracket Saturday to claim the title and a berth in Montgomery, though, Harris and Co. have finally had a little bit of time to reflect on the feat.

“It’s a good source of school pride,” the coach said. “I think a lot of it is that they want to do the best they can for Good Hope.

“It’s a source of pride for me because of what they’e done. I drive the bus, unlock the field, and they come out here and do the work. It means a lot because 15-20 years from now, they’ll know they did something special.”

Wilson and Tillman, two starters on the basketball team who have also been instrumental in the softball team’s success, agreed. Wilson said these two programs have left an impression at the school that won’t be forgotten any time soon.

“It’s something we’ll always remember,” she said. “Good Hope has had some good records and some good runs, but this is probably the best one they’ve ever had. It’s great to be a part of that. It’s amazing.”

As crazy as it sounds, softball isn’t even Tillman’s best sport. The junior, who was a Second Team All-State basketball selection in December, is currently knee-deep in the recruitment process to decide where she’ll play at the collegiate level. When she submits information to potential suitors, Tillman said she always includes that she was a member of a Raiders’ squad that broke the school record for wins.

“I always put that because it’s something big that a lot of people never do,” she said. “We’re setting records that to me won’t be broken for awhile. With this whole team, it’s more like the dream team. Everybody wants to be on a team that can set school records and go to state. It’s pretty cool. It’s something that when I grow up, I’ll have to tell my kids about.”

Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at robk@cullmantimes_dot_com.

Class 4A Regional Champions!!!

I am so proud of our team! We battled all day long and earned the right to hoist the Regional Trophy as North Regional Champions! Congrats Lady Raiders! We earned it! Now let's go to State and bring home the big one! RAIDER NATION!!!

PREP SOFTBALL: The hard way

Raiders rally through consolation bracket for regional title
Staff Reports
The Cullman Times The Cullman Times Mon May 14, 2012, 09:51 PM CDT

HUNTSVILLE — Good Hope’s original recipe — take two quick wins Saturday in Huntsville, let them simmer for a little under a week and then partake in the final feast that is the state tournament — for a Class 4A North Regional title was a bit simpler than the one they were eventually forced to use.

Although the Raiders ended up walking away with the region championship and a coveted opportunity to compete for the state championship, an early-morning 5-2 defeat versus Wilson Saturday caused the Red and White to start from scratch.

That one loss, sprinkled with three wins, 30 innings and one gutsy rally through the consolation bracket, allowed No. 4 Good Hope to put the finishing touches on a dish they’ve been craving all season long — a savory regional championship topped with a gravy train leading straight to Montgomery.

The fact that two of those three victories came against the same Wilson squad that defeated the Raiders earlier in the day was just icing on the cake. Good Hope kept its regional aspirations alive with a gritty nine-inning 6-4 win before turning around and shutting out the Warriors 5-0 to lift the regional trophy.

Before the Raiders got their second — and eventually third — helping of Wilson, they had to face East Lawrence in the consolation bracket final. The Red and White defeated their area-rival for the fourth time this season — 4-0 on Saturday — clinching a berth in the state tournament regardless of whether they wound up winning the region title.

Which they did, even though that glorious result might’ve seemed miles away after the 5-2 loss to begin play Saturday. Tournament MVP Cara Goodwin did her part on the mound in that game, striking out 15, but the Good Hope bats had trouble keeping up with the Warriors.

Kayla Tillman had two hits, and Darcie Wilson was responsible for an RBI single in the seventh inning.

Good Hope’s offense didn’t get going in the 4-0 win against East Lawrence until the fourth inning. In that frame, Kacy Thomas followed up a Maegan Sterling single with one of her own to drive in Alannah Henke. Henke later scored Tillman with an RBI grounder, and Bailie Andrews brought home the last two runs with an RBI single in the sixth.

Goodwin struck out seven Eagles in that must-win victory.

Tillman led off the Raiders’ first rematch with Wilson with a solo home run, setting the pace for their eventual tournament-extending triumph. Goodwin, Henke and Wilson’s back-to-back-to-back doubles were good for two runs in the third inning, and Skylan Thompson extended the lead to 4-0 with a run-scoring fielder’s choice later in the frame.

Four Warrior runs in the fifth inning tied the ballgame at 4-4, a score that would stand all the way into the ninth. In that final frame, Henke knocked in Tillman with an RBI single, and Goodwin touched home on a double by Wilson.

The momentum was completely in Good Hope’s favor by first pitch of Saturday night’s if-needed championship game. Wilson got the ball rolling with a two-RBI single in the first inning. Thompson scored Henke on a sacrifice bunt in the fourth, and Tillman poked an RBI double in the fifth before later scoring on a passed ball.

Goodwin capped off an MVP performance with eight strikeouts against the Warriors, giving her a whopping total of 56 in six tournament games.

Good Hope is 43-5-2 heading into next week’s Class 4A state tournament at Lagoon Park in Montgomery. The Red and White, who have ballooned their school record for wins in a season after breaking the previous mark of 39 on Friday, will play Bibb County in the first round Friday at noon. If they win, which they did 4-0 against the Choctaws last month, they’ll advance to play either third-ranked Alabama Christian or No. 8 Haleyville at 7 p.m. The losers from both games will meet for a consolation-bracket matchup Friday at 5:30 p.m.

The other four 4A teams still alive are top-ranked Holtville, Wilson, No. 2 Cherokee County and Headland. The state championship contest will be Saturday at 5:30 p.m. with the double-elimination format causing an if-necessary title game to be scheduled for 7 p.m.

PREP SOFTBALL: Raiders open regional with 2 wins, set school record

PREP SOFTBALL: Raiders open regional with 2 wins, set school record
By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times The Cullman Times Sat May 12, 2012, 12:24 PM CDT

HUNTSVILLE — Good Hope's Cara Goodwin isn't much of a morning person. Neither are a lot of her teammates. So with the squad's first game of the Class 4A Regional Tournament scheduled for 8 a.m. Friday in Huntsville, it was pretty easy to understand why the Raiders got off to such a groggy start.

Despite a few early-morning struggles, though, Good Hope rode Goodwin's arm to a 1-0 victory over West Limestone before waking up the bats for an 11-1 thrashing of Deshler. The No. 4 Raiders (40-4-2) advance to play Wilson in the winner's bracket at 8 a.m. Saturday for a spot in the regional title game.

Goodwin was nearly unhittable on the mound in the first game, but unfortunately for Good Hope, so was West Limestone's Shelby Browning. However, it was the Raider phenom who was able to claim the win after the Red and White finally broke through for a run in the sixth inning. Goodwin had 14 strikeouts and allowed three hits.

Kayla Tillman led off the frame with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Bailie Andrews. Goodwin then moved Tillman to third with a groundout before Alannah Henke knocked a hard-hit chopper to the shortstop. The ball hit the fielder's glove and bounced away for an error, allowing Tillman to score.

Skylan Thompson's single in the third inning was all Good Hope had been able to muster before that game-winning sequence of events.

“I think we were still asleep,” Tillman said of her team's opening-game performance, which included a slew of uncharacteristic errors.

If that was the third-baseman's assessment after a 1-0 victory, then bright-eyed and bushy-tailed might've been more appropriate following the Raiders' 11-1 romp over Deshler.

Good Hope exploded for seven runs in the first inning — highlighted by RBI hits from Andrews, Henke, Kacey Thomas and Tillman — before adding two more in the fourth on a single by Goodwin, as well as a double by Henke.

Tillman provided some late-inning insurance by slugging a two-run homer in the final frame, capping off a 3-for-5, four-RBI performance.

“Right before I went up to the plate, my mom said, 'Hit it over. I haven't seen anything yet,'” Tillman said. “So happy mother's day, mom.”

The Raiders tied and then broke the school record for wins with their pair of triumphs Friday. That's not a feat Goodwin or any of her teammates are ready to celebrate just yet.

“It doesn't mean anything if we don't win tomorrow,” the ace said.

Wayne Harris was in full agreement. The coach said he is more concerned about his squad finishing out the tournament strong.

“We came in 0-0 today,” he said. “Now we're 2-0 and one win away from where we want to get to. Winning two tomorrow is our goal — get those first two wins and then worry about next week (state).”

AHSAA Class 4A Area 13 Champs!

Area champions! Great job Lady Raiders! We are now 38-4-2 this season! We play in the Regional tournament on Friday @ 8AM in Huntsville at the Sportsplex. Can't wait! GO LADY RAIDERS!!!

Up to date High School stats on MaxPreps!!!

Check out our team and player stats here!

maxpreps / high schools / good hope raiders


Cara Goodwin Spotlighted in the Cullman Times-Verbal Commitment to UAB!!!

By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — Cara Goodwin, a two-time All-State pitcher for Good Hope’s softball team, recently narrowed a lengthy list of college suitors to one by verbally committing to UAB.

According to Raiders’ coach Wayne Harris, the junior superstar was also recruited by Southeastern Louisiana, Murray State and Seton Hall, among numerous other top-notch programs.

“I considered all of my options and decided that UAB is the best fit for me,” Goodwin wrote on her profile on softballshowcase_dot_com. “Being able to play Division I softball is a dream come true.

“A special thanks to coach Jeff (Gillespie) and all of my teammates and friends that have helped me get to this point. I would never have made it this far without all of your help and support.”

All it takes is one look at Goodwin’s remarkable prep rèsumè to see why she’s had so many schools vying for her commitment.

The phenom has 740 strikeouts in 435 innings over the past two seasons, compiling a 54-18 record with a whopping 31 shutouts.

Goodwin is not only a beast on the diamond — she’s been The Cullman Times Pitcher of the Year two seasons in a row — but she’s an exceptional scholar as well. The honor society student touts a 4.0 GPA, helping her earn Academic All-American honors in 2010 and ‘11.

“It’s a great opportunity for her,” Harris said of his player’s decision to join the Blazers. “UAB is getting a good athlete whose going to work hard on the field and in the classroom.”

Goodwin will eventually join a program that has experienced a great deal of recent success.

The Green and Gold matched the school record for wins with a 39-19 mark in 2011 en route to its second straight NCAA Championship bid. The Blazers’ pitching staff, who combined for a 1.82 ERA, was a big reason why they received one of the tournament’s 34 at-large invitations.

“It puts a lot of energy in your program,” Harris said in reference to the benefits of such a high-profile commitment. “Hopefully it will open up some opportunities for some of our other kids.”

The fact that Goodwin made a decision so early should serve as a definite advantage — both on the field and away from it.

“It’s a great thing to know what your future is going to be,” Harris said. “I think it takes away the rigors and the stress of it. Now she can focus on schoolwork and going back to being a regular kid and playing ball.”

Today’s season-opener against Addison was cancelled because of severe weather warnings. Their first game will now be Monday at home against West Point.

Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at robk@cullmantimes_dot_com.

2012 AHSAA All-Star game!

I am very pleased to announce that I was chosen to participate in the 2012 AHSAA All-Star game to be held in Montgomery, AL on July 11, 2012. The rosters are very limited for this prestigious event and it's a huge honor to be chosen to play! I will do my very best to represent Good Hope and Cullman County. Special thanks to all of my team-mates and coaches!

Good Hope High School - 1000 K's!!!

Good Hope High School: In our latest win (3-0 vs. Hayden, 15K's), I became the 30th pitcher in AHSAA history to record 1000 strikeouts! I love my Lady Raiders!!!

NFCA MaxPreps Player of the Week!!!

What a fantastic honor! I was named MaxPreps player of the week for the South Region! Special thanks to my team-mates and coaches!!!


Good Hope High School - Win season opener!

We played our first varsity game today! I K'd a school record 19 batters and went 3 for 3 with an RBI triple for the games only run in a 1 - 0 victory over West Point. RAIDER NATION!!!

My Coaches!

A special thanks goes out to my pitching instructor Josh Johnson. We have been a great team since I was 9 years old. He has been an amazing mentor and friend. I would be lost without his instruction. I also want to thank my high school coach Wayne Harris, he has always looked out for me and made sure that all of my game stats are available after every game and season. That exposure is invaluable.

Verbal Commitment to UAB!!!

I am exited to announce, that I have decided to verbally commit to UAB! I considered all of my options and decided that UAB is the best fit for me. Being able to play Division 1 softball is a dream come true. My family and I are so blessed! A special thanks to coach Jeff and all of my teammates and friends that have helped me get to this point. I would never have made it this far without all of your help and support. I can't wait to get started with coach Townsend and her staff! GO BLAZERS!!!

Semester grades are in!

Honors Eng = 97
Human Anat = 98
Multi Design = 100
P.E. = 100
Pre-Calculus = 98
Spanish 2 = 99
US History = 98

Rising Stars Results! UNDEFEATED!!!

We had a fantastic time in Florida @ Rising Stars this past weekend! We went undefeated in 5 games! We played some great competition and met some great new friends! My stats for the weekend were: (5 games combined) 16 IP, 3 H, 0 RUNS ALLOWED, 8 BB, 30 K. This was our final fall tournament. I want to thank all of my Viper coaches and team-mates. I love you! GO VIPERS!!! Varsity season is just around the corner.....

Scenic City 16's Showcase CHAMPIONS!!!

We had a fantastic weekend of softball! 42 teams, 1 Champion! Congrats to all of my team-mates and coaches! GO VIPERS!!! Here are my weekend totals:
18 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 8 BB, 25K, with 2 shut-outs & 1 no-hitter.
We faced some great competition and came out on top.

Pitching Instructor

In 2004 I began taking pitching lessons from Mr. Josh Johnson. He is currently the head softball coach for Faulkner State Community College. He has been a great mentor for me and I can't thank him enough for all that he has done for my development.

PREP SOFTBALL: Goodwin, Holcombe honored

By Stan Veitch
The Cullman Times Sat Jun 11, 2011, 04:44 PM CDT

CULLMAN — Two of the area’s best young pitchers have been noticed by the state’s sports writers.

Good Hope sophomore Cara Goodwin and Holly Pond freshman Montana Holcombe were selected as first-team all-state selections by the Alabama Sports Writers Association.

Goodwin also made all-state last season.

This year, she is the only sophomore on the Class 4A first team.

Goodwin finished the 2011 season with a 28-11 record. She allowed 41 earned runs in 256.2 innings, good for a 1.12 ERA. In thos 256.2 innings, she struck out 429 batters and walked only 60 while throwing 14 shutouts.

In addition to her pitching prowess, Goodwin led the Raiders with a .383 batting average. She drove in 17 runs and hit 11 doubles and two home runs.

In 107 at-bats, she only struck out eight times.

To round out her complete game, Goodwin had a .993 fielding percentage.

Holcombe tallied a 28-12 record with 338 strikeouts and a 1.15 ERA.

She led the Broncos with a .402 batting average.

Cullman catcher Megan Sims, Good Hope first baseman Alannah Henke, Addison pitcher Alex Scott and catcher Sadie Beam were all honorable mention in their class.

Sims, a senior, batted .431 and hit nine home runs, 13 doubles and three triples while driving in 34 runs.

She is a Columbia (Tenn.) State signee.

Henke, a sophomore, batted .376 with 11 doubles, two home runs, one triple and 22 RBIs.

She finished with a .964 fielding percentage.

Scott finished her senior year with a 22-12 record. She had 139 strikeouts and walked 92 in 210 innings.

Scott threw one no-hitter and four shutouts.

At the plate, she had a .329 batting average, striking out only 10 times in 164 at-bats. She finished with 15 RBIs with seven doubles and two triples.

Beam, also a senior, was voted onto the team at designated hitter.

Beam had a .354 batting average with seven home runs, seven triples and 14 doubles. She drove in 48 runs and stole 24 bases.'

Stan Veitch can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at stanv@cullmantimes_dot_com.

PREP SOFTBALL: Goodwin, Sims lead all-area team

By Stan Veitch
The Cullman Times Sun Jun 26, 2011, 08:00 AM CDT

CULLMAN — Choosing a Hitter of the Year was fairly easy this year, as Cullman catcher Megan Sims had a fantastic season.

But picking a Pitcher of the Year was a bit more difficult, as there were two very worthy candidates.

Holly Pond’s Montana Holcombe and Good Hope’s Cara Goodwin were both extremely impressive — and both ended the season with very good statistics.

In fact, the statistics were almost the same in a few categories — Goodwin compiled a 28-11 record while Holcombe finished at 28-12. Goodwin had a 1.12 ERA and Holcombe countered with a 1.15 ERA.

But in the end, Goodwin’s strikeout total was the difference maker.

She finished the season with 429 strikeouts, compared to 338 for Holcombe.

Again, either would’ve been a great selection for Pitcher of the Year. But alas, only one can be chosen.

The third pitcher, Cullman’s Brittney Kerr, transferred from Hartselle prior to the season. She will be playing for the University of Mobile in the upcoming season.

Meanwhile, Sims was making pitchers pay, as she hit nine home runs to go along with a .431 batting average and 13 doubles. She drove in 34 runs. She hit seven home runs early in the season before settling down to a more normal schedule.

Sims will attend Columbia (Tenn.) State on a softball scholarship.

Addison’s Alex Scott could’ve made the team as the third pitcher, but her offensive numbers were good enough for her to be at second base.

Catcher was a loaded position this season, as last year’s Hitter of the Year, Addison’s Sadie Beam, and Darcie Wilson of Good Hope also had solid seasons and could’ve been considered for first team catcher. Instead, both are on the team at designated hitter.

Holly Pond coach Steve Miller earned honors for the Broncos midseason turnaround. At one point, Holly Pond was slogging along at 11-11. Following a big loss to Sumiton Christian, the Broncos held a team meeting and proceeded to go on a tear, improving to 29-13 before losing two games at the North Central Regional.

Along the way, Holly Pond made history by winning its first Cullman County tournament in the fast-pitch era and by winning its area title for the first time as a fast-pitch team. The Holly Pond Tournament was also won by the hosts.

Stan Veitch can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at stanv@cullmantimes_dot_com.

PREP SOFTBALL: Sophomore Goodwin still learning art of pitching

By Stan Veitch
The Cullman Times Mon Mar 28, 2011, 10:08 PM CDT

GOOD HOPE — Although already an artist, Cara Goodwin is still in the process of learning the art of pitching.

The Good Hope High sophomore started taking pitching lessons in the fourth grade and first went into a game two years later.

“I was taking lessons once a week and started getting some confidence in my pitching,” she said. “Then coach put me in a game and that was it.”

It certainly was, as she has been pitching ever since. In coach Wayne Harris’ first season at Good Hope, Goodwin was an eighth-grader and he pulled her up to the varsity to pitch every other day. Trenda Bates was a junior and the other pitcher.

“Cara had her moments that first year,” Harris said. “She still missed her spots sometimes and pitching to girls that were three and four years older than her, she learned from some long-ball lessons.

“Fortunately, we had Trenda, so we didn’t have to throw Cara to the wolves.”

Goodwin came into her own last season, earning first-team All-State honors from the Alabama Sports Writers Association.

“You could really see the maturity in Cara last year,” Harris said. “She works hard in the offseason, learning new pitches. She had a grasp of the pitches before but couldn’t throw them for strikes. Now she can throw three or four pitches for strikes.”

The rise ball is what Goodwin said is her best pitch at the moment, but she is trying to develop her drop ball. She also throws a changeup and a pitch that Harris describes as “cutter, curve, I’m not exactly sure how to classify it.”

Strikeouts have become the norm, as Goodwin averages almost two an inning. But she doesn’t care for the individual statistic, as long as her team records an out.

“To me, a groundball is just as good as a strikeout,” she said.

One thing that has worked in Goodwin’s favor is having Darcie Wilson as a long-time catcher. Wilson is also a sophomore and started catching for Goodwin in the sixth grade.

“Darcie calls my pitches for me most of the time,” Goodwin said. “A lot of the credit for my success goes to her. She really works hard and is a great catcher.”

Harris tempered the statement about Wilson calling pitches.

“I let them call until they mess up,” he said. “Sometimes, I’ll call a timeout and correct the sequences. I’m trying to get Darcie to think like I would think in situations.”

Situational pitching is something that having more than a couple of pitches helps with, too.

Harris related that he has heard coaches telling their batters what to look for, based on past experience.

“I want her pitching to be unpredictable,” Harris said. “I’m trying to get her not to just pitch inning to inning, but rather to each batter according to how they did the time before.”

Josh Johnson, who is now the coach at Faulkner State Community College, is Goodwin’s mentor. He has been teaching her since she started and now manages to get together with Goodwin once or twice a month, in Birmingham or the Cullman area.

Stan Veitch can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at stanv@cullmantimes_dot_com.

Travel/Club Info
Birmingham Vipers - Gillespie
Birmingham AL
Jersey #24
School Info
Good Hope High School
Cullman AL
Jersey #24
GPA: 4.25
ACT: 24
Clearinghouse: Y
My Camps

UNA Elite Skills Camp 2011

UAB Pitching Camp 2004

UAB Pitching Camp 2005

UAB Hitting Camp 2011

Southeastern Louisiana U Skills Camp 2012

Murray St. All-Skills Camp 2012

My College Interest
Team History

B\'ham Vipers - Gillespie 2011

Predators Fastpitch 2011

Predators Fastpitch 2010

Predators Fastpitch 2009

Raiderettes 2008

Raiderettes 2007

Raiderettes 2006

Cullman Crushers 2005

Cullman Crushers 2004

Cara Goodwin Fastpitch Softball Recruiting Profile