On Thursday night Hayley Praytor and her twin brother Thomas “Moose” Praytor will be inducted with a star studded class in to the Saint Paul’s Hall of Fame in Mobile, Alabama.
The 2018 class is not only filled with High School standouts but players who went on to College and Pro careers including athletes still competing in the NFL and Major League Baseball.
During her tenure at St Paul’s Hayley Praytor’s name became synonymous with Girls Softball. Praytor spent 6 years on the Varsity Squad garnering two selections to the All County Team in 2007 and 2008.
Praytor played a multitude of positions during her career including a year catching for future LSU/USM pitcher Hannah Griffin before settling in for her final season in right field, a position she would carry to Huntingdon College.
During High School Praytor was a left handed “slap” hitter producing runs and runners. A unique stance and Praytor’s hand eye coordination made her a threat to put the ball in play at every at bat.
With a six year tenure on the team and as the only Senior, Praytor’s leadership skills were put to the test at every turn but none more so than the 2008 State Championship Tournament in Montgomery, Alabama.
The lady Saints were solidly in the winner’s bracket marching to the finals when delays pushed the tournament finals to the same day as her Graduation. Praytor made the decision to stay with her team missing graduation and was quoted at the time, “On our team we always have each other’s back.”
The Saints lost the tournament but the lesson in leadership carried Praytor forward to college.
Heavily recruited out of High School, Praytor chose Huntingdon College and was one of 16 freshmen to check in for the Softball team. Four years later Praytor was the lone surviving member of those original 16. Dedication and leadership learned at St. Paul’s carried the Mobile native forward.
By the time Praytor reached her Senior Year at Huntingdon, a broken ankle and shoulder surgery had taken their toll on the once speedy slap hitter. As she had done before Praytor adapted becoming a power hitter. In her final at bat Praytor blasted a bases loaded double to win the Conference Title, a story book ending to a Hall of Fame career.
While Hayley Praytor was speeding around the diamond her twin brother, Thomas “Moose” Praytor was speeding around race tracks in the Southeast.
The Moose played his fair share of sports at St Paul’s, Football (Middle School Champion & State Champions), Golf and Soccer Praytor’s path to St Paul’s Hall of Fame would be like no others and faster.
In the almost 50 years history of St Paul’s no student has ever reached the Hall of Fame as a Race Car Driver but from the first appearance of a race car in Mrs. Cottons class in 2nd grade it seemed like Praytor’s destiny was sealed.
Like most young racers Praytor started racing at eight years old in an old yard kart that quickly progressed to bigger and faster cars. While at St Paul’s Praytor won a track Championship, a State Championship and three Rookie of the Year titles in different classes of cars.
After graduating in 2008, Praytor continued his racing career in the Pro and Super Late Model Divisions racing in Mobile and Pensacola.
In 2012 Praytor got his first big opportunity with a 1 day test at Daytona. The test led to 4 more races in 2012 including the inaugural ARCA Mobile 200 and a top 20 finish at Talladega.
By 2013 Praytor landed a full time ride with Hixson Motorsports out of Tennessee and finished 9th in the ARCA Championship in his first full year of competition and was awarded the HG Adcox Sportsmanship award. Praytor followed that up with a 7th place finish in 2014.
In 2015 Praytor struck out on his own with his own race team based out of Mobile Alabama. It was the first time a team had ever competed full time in a National Touring Series out of Mobile. Praytor finished 8th in the Championship standings the first season out of Mobile, following it up with a 5th place finish in 2016 and a 7th place finish in 2017.
Over his first six seasons of competition Praytor became the Ironman or “IronMoose” of the Series competing in 105 consecutive races while logging over 13,000 miles of competition.
Praytor ended his streak of consecutive starts earlier this year at Talladega and has been mentoring young and upcoming talent. The Moose will continue racing on a part time basis in 2019.
The St Paul’s Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony is Thursday night at the Country club of Mobile and halftime recognition during the Saints Homecoming game Friday night at halftime.