Hard-working Sand Rock duo to represent North All-Stars

Sand Rock’s Jacob StClair drives in for a layup against Westbrook Christian last season. Photo by Shannon Fagan.

MONTGOMERY – Sand Rock seniors Jacob StClair and Jadyn Foster haven’t taken any vacation time for themselves so far during the summer months. That’s because they’re both just so used to working at their respective sports year around. StClair is a basketball gym rat, while Foster spends most of her time on the softball diamond.

This coming week, the duo will be rewarded for their respective efforts throughout their careers. Both will be representing Sand Rock on the North squads for the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s annual All-Star Sports Week. Admission to each all-star event is $5.

StClair, a point guard, averaged 24.1 points, 3.3 boards, 5.7 assists and 1.9 steals for the Wildcats last season. He’ll suit up for the North-South boys basketball game on July 19 at 6:45 p.m. at the Montgomery Multiplex at Cramton Bowl.

StClair will be just the second Sand Rock boys basketball player to ever play in the All-Star contest. The other was Dylan Mackey in 2013.

“I’m extremely grateful because I put in a lot of work,” StClair said. “I’m just excited I get to do this because not a lot of people get to from Sand Rock or around here. I’m glad to be a part of it.”

Sand Rock boys basketball coach John Blackwell is also proud to see StClair representing the North.

“I’ve been coaching a lot of years and he’s the fifth player I’ve coached that’s done this. I had four girls to do it at Glencoe,” Blackwell said. “He’s the only (Class) 2A guy who got picked, and he’s one of two points guards. That tells you how rare it is to be selected to something like this.

“You see people get this honor and they feel like they have to have this special game, but he doesn’t. He just needs to go down there and be Jacob StClair. If he does that he’ll be just fine.”

Foster, a pitcher/third baseman, batted .481 with 22 doubles, 15 home runs, four triples, 11 walks, nine stolen bases, 66 runs and 63 RBIs last season. She’ll suit up for the North-South softball doubleheader at 4 p.m. on July 20 at Lagoon Park.

“I’m excited because I’ve worked hard for this, basically my whole life,” Foster said. “I’m thankful they chose me to be recognized.”

Like Blackwell said of StClair’s selection, Sand Rock softball coach Josh Bates said Foster’s selection is “a tremendous honor.”

“For her to get this recognition to play just proves if you put in the time and put in the work, you’re going to get those opportunities,” Bates said. “I would hate to put a guess on how many softballs she hits a week. I’ll come by the field and she’s there hitting. I know she’s been there because I can see where somebody’s been on the field and it’s usually her. She goes up to aunt’s place in Fort Payne and she’s hitting. She’s playing on a travel team. She just puts in a lot of time.”

In all, the WEIS radio coverage area has five athletes and two coaches competing during the All-Star Sports Week activities. Joining StClair on the North boys basketball roster is Piedmont senior point guard Alex Odam. Odam averaged 25.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 2.5 steals for the Bulldogs last season.

On the girls’ North basketball roster is Collinsville senior point guard Tyla Tatum. Tatum tallied 18.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.5 steals last season. The North-South girls basketball game is scheduled to tip off at 5 p.m. on July 19.

Foster isn’t the only Sand Rock connection on the North softball squad. One of her coaches is 2006 Sand Rock grad, former North-South girls basketball participant, and current Hewitt-Trussville softball coach Taylor Burt.

Burt has guided the Lady Huskies to the Class 7A state title in 2021 and state runner-up this past season.

“She’s a really good coach, and I’m excited she’s from Sand Rock,” Foster said of playing for Burt. “It’s just cool we get to play and coach together.”

“We’re excited to have that Sand Rock connection with Jadyn and Taylor there. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Bates said. “She’s seen Jadyn play a lot over the years. She always comes and watches when we’re at regionals or state when they’re not playing, so she knows the caliber player she’s getting with Jadyn. I think she’s real excited to have her.”

All-Star Sports Week begins Monday with the North-South baseball doubleheader at Riverwalk Stadium at 4 p.m. Piedmont senior utility player Taylor Hayes and Bulldog head coach Matt Deerman are part of the North baseball team.

Hayes went 8-0 on the mound, including game one of the Class 3A state championship series against Trinity, with a 1.08 ERA and 49 strikeouts. At the plate, Hayes batted .472 with 17 doubles, 11 home runs, 26 walks, 11 hit by pitches, six stolen bases, 28 runs and 64 RBIs.

Deerman guided the state runner-up Bulldogs to a 36-7 record last season.

Sand Rock’s Jadyn Foster races to home plate for an inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the second inning against Gaston in the Class 2A, Area 12 softball tournament at Spring Garden last season. Photo by Shannon Fagan.
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