HATTON — Emma Latham defies softball logic.
At 5-foot-5 and 115 pounds, the star player for the Hatton Hornets isn’t the typical size for a power hitter. Put a softball bat in her hands and watch her swing. Wow! This girl can hit.
In 61 games this season, Latham hit .489 with 89 hits, 15 home runs, nine triples, 17 doubles and 63 RBIs. She scored 86 runs and stole 44 bases.
All those numbers add up for her to be named The Daily’s Class 1A-4A Player of the Year. The Hatton shortstop received the same honor in 2017.
“We’ve been fortunate at Hatton to have great players like Emma come through the softball program,” said Hatton's Denton Bowling, who is the 1A-4A Coach of the Year. “She’s a kid that’s got that 'it factor.' She’ll do anything to help her team be successful.”
Class 2A Hatton (44-17) plowed through a regular season schedule loaded with bigger schools going all the way up to the state’s largest classification of 7A.
The only school that stopped Hatton from taking the 2A state championship was eventual champion G.W. Long, which beat Hatton twice in the state tournament by scores of 3-0 and 2-0.
“This last season seemed to go by so quick,” Latham said. “It’s hard to believe that it’s over.”
Latham first played on the varsity in the seventh grade. In her last four seasons, the Hornets went 160-78 with a state championship in 2017. Hatton won three area championships and two regional championships.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association record book will have Latham’s name in several places. She’s second all-time in runs (418), fourth in triples (32), fifth in home runs (70), sixth in hits (395), seventh in doubles (80), ninth in RBIs (263) and 10th in stolen bases (211).
Remember, the big power numbers come from a player who looks more like a speedy slap hitter at the top of a softball batting order.
“I learned how to hit from watching my dad (Zak) work with my older brother (Taylor),” Latham said. “I learned early that the lower half of your body drives the ball.”
Zak and Amanda Latham helped feed their daughter’s drive to be the best she could be by letting her play travel ball. Summers of traveling to play the best around the country nourished Latham’s talents.
“Emma goes to the plate every time with a plan of attack,” Bowling said. “She’s a patient hitter. When she swings, she gets everything out of it.”
Before the state tournament, Latham had decided that high school would be the end of her softball career. On the way home after the heartbreaking losses to G.W. Long, Latham started rethinking her plan. That’s when she got a message from North Alabama softball coach Ashley Cozart, who offered Latham a scholarship two years ago.
“She said, if I wanted to play at UNA, to just to let her know,” Latham said. “That’s when I decided I wasn’t ready to stop playing. I’m excited about getting to play at UNA.”