What were Shelby County’s biggest sports stories from 2013?

South African David Frost captured the 2013 Regions Tradition. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

South African David Frost captured the 2013 Regions Tradition. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Over the next two days, we will take a look back at Shleby County’s biggest and most interesting sports stories from 2013. Today, we will look back at January-June. Be sure to check back tomorrow for June-December.

JANUARY

Thompson wins County basketball tournament

The Thompson Warriors boys basketball team won the Shelby County basketball tournament for the third straight year with a 51-41 victory over the Shelby County Wildcats.

“We put a lot of emphasis on winning this tournament,” said Thompson head coach Patrick Davis. “We make it a goal and feel like if you win this tournament – it says something.”

Tyler Madison led all scorers with 17 points for Shelby County with Brandon McKinney adding 14 points.

Duke Thomas led Thompson with 14 points with Marcus Lewis finishing with 13 points for the Warriors. DeAndre Gamble added 11 points.

 

Niven gets 200 wins

The Montevallo Lady Bulldogs defeated West Blocton 64-35 Jan. 4.

With the win, Montevallo head coach Tena Niven earned her 200th career win.

Kiah Smith led the Lady Bulldogs with 18 points with Myshael Thompson adding 15 points. Lauryn Lilly added nine points.

 

Mullens named All-County POY for football

Spain Park senior Nick Mullens leads a talented list of football players from all over Shelby County in the 2012 all-county team and was named the Shelby County Reporter player of the Year.

Mullens led the Jaguars to the quarterfinal round of the 2012 Class 6A playoffs and to Spain Park’s first ever region championship. The Spain Park senior threw for 3,649 yards on the season with 40 touchdowns while completing 64 percent (290-452) of his passes.

Mullens was also an honorable mention on the Class 6A all-state team.

 

Thompson wrestling captures Hoover Invitational

The Thompson Warriors picked up four individual championships on their way to the team title at the Scott Rohrer Hoover Invitational Jan. 5 at Hoover High School.

Riley Pike, Jaden Hunter, Brewer Gilliland and Nick Hall each won their respective weight classes to lead Thompson to 320.5 points. The Warriors were followed by Scottsboro (259) and Catholic (234.5).

A total of 11 Thompson wrestlers placed in the tournament. Reed Jacks and DeMario Haynes took second in their weight classes while Austin Gould and Conner Gilson each took third. TJ Rayam finished fourth in the 285 weight class while Jacobi Dial was eighth in the 197-pound classification.

 

Smith named AISA baseball Coach of the Year

The 2012 baseball season was a special one for Cornerstone Christian head coach Tim Smith. He won his first ever baseball state championship, and on Jan. 18 was named the Alabama Independent School Association Class 1A Coach of the Year by the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association.

“It was a big honor,” Smith said. “I appreciate what it’s about, but to me it’s about the kids. Kids make the coach. I had some good baseball players last year and it wasn’t real hard to coach them to be honest.”

 

FEBRUARY

Berry Middle basketball wins championship

The Berry Middle School 8th grade girls’ basketball team won the Metro South Championship Feb. 1 by defeating the Clay-Chalkville Lady Cougars 41-23 at Simmons Middle School.

Berry won back-to-back Metro South Championships having won last year’s 7th grade championship game over Mountain Brook.

Berry finished 19-0 for the season topping their 19-1 record from last year. Jada Ashford from Berry was named the Metro South Tournament MVP.

 

Seniors cement college commitments for Signing Day

Seniors across Shelby County put their pens to paper to solidify their commitments to schools of their choice during National Signing Day Feb. 6.

National Signing Day was the end result of months of recruiting by colleges and numerous visits by local student athletes. Two players from Shelby County switched from their verbal commitments after official visits in the late stages of recruiting.

Chelsea’s Julius McCall and Spain Park’s Nick Mullens each had previously committed to UAB, but both changed their minds after late visits to other schools.

 

THS wrestling takes third-straight state title

Brewer Gilliland and Nick Hall each captured individual state titles while leading Thompson to its third straight Class 6A wrestling state championship at the Alabama High School Athletic Association state wrestling championships Feb. 16 in Huntsville.

The Warriors returned to Alabaster to a celebration reception to honor their astounding achievement.

“It was a different experience this time,” said Thompson head wrestling coach Shawn Weltzin. All 11 of the Warriors that qualified for the state tournament scored points to finish with 196 points for the title – just seven head of Vestavia Hills.

 

Spain Park’s Lindsey steps down for AU job

Chip Lindsey, Spain Park’s head football coach for two seasons, has been offered an off-field support position at Auburn University and accepted the job in Tigers’ football program.

Lindsey led Spain Park to its first region championship in school history in 2012 with an appearance in the Class 6A quarterfinals with a record of 10-3.

Lindsey came to Spain Park after a season at Troy University as the quarterbacks coach. Prior to joining Troy’s coaching staff, he was the head football coach at Lassiter High School in Marietta, Ga. from 2008-2009.

 

MARCH

Hoffman traded to LA Galaxy

After playing his first season of Major League Soccer for the Philadelphia Union, former Oak Mountain High School standout Chandler Hoffman will return to Los Angeles as he traded to the LA Galaxy March 1 in exchange for a conditional draft pick

Chandler was drafted No. 13 overall by the Union in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft. He made seven appearances in his rookie season with Philadelphia – including two starts.

Hoffman was a three-year starter for the UCLA Bruins soccer team.

Before his career at UCLA, Hoffman earned Shelby County Reporter Player of the Year honors and guided Oak Mountain to back-to-back state titles in 2007 and 2008.

 

Madison, Mock All-County basketball Players of the Year

His coach, teammates and school looked upon Shelby County High School senior forward Tyler Madison when the Wildcats began the 2012-2013 basketball season.

His leadership off the court and his play on it earned him the respect of opposing coaches and earned him the 2012-2013 Shelby County Reporter boys’ basketball Player of the Year.

Chelsea senior center Amanda Mock reached two remarkable career milestones all the while leading a young Lady Hornets basketball team.

Mock accounted for over 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in her four-year career at Chelsea and is the 2012-2013 Shelby County Reporter girls’ basketball Player of the Year.

 

Raney named Spain Park head football coach

The Hoover Board of Education approved Shawn Raney to become the next head football coach at Spain Park High School March 11.

“I’m very excited to get started,” said Raney after the board approved the measure. “I think this is a great opportunity to continue what coach Chip Lindsey has started.”

Raney was hired from Hoover High School where he served as the Bucs’ defensive coordinator for the past three seasons.

 

Charley scores hat trick in win

Spain Park senior Simone Charley led the Jaguars to a 4-1 Class 6A, Area 9 victory over Hoover on March 19.

Charley scored two goals in the first 13 minutes and added a penalty kick to earn a hat trick in the Spain Park (10-3-1, 1-0) victory.

Both of Charley’s first half goals came on similar plays where she beat the Hoover defenders to the ball and beat the goalkeeper.

Charley scored her third goal nine minutes into the second half. It came on a penalty kick after Hoover was called for handball inside the 18-yard box, giving Spain Park a 4-1 win.

 

APRIL

Former MLB star Trucks passes away

Baseball fans across the country mourned the loss of Calera resident and former Major League Baseball pitcher Virgil “Fire” Trucks Sr., who passed away at the age of 95 at Shelby Baptist Medical Center March 23.

“Fire” Trucks – known for his fastball – played 19 years in the major leagues with the Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Athletics, New York Yankees and St. Louis Browns. He finished his career with a record of 177-135 with 1,534 strikeouts and was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1974 and the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.

Trucks was on the 1945 Detroit Tigers World Series championship team and is one of four pitchers to throw two no-hitters in the same season in 1952.

 

Oak Mountain golf captures boys county title

The Oak Mountain Eagles boys’ golf team had three players finish in the top-10 to win the Shelby County golf tournament April 2 at Eagle Point Golf Club.

Oak Mountain’s Harrison Mink followed a fifth place finish in the Panther Classic April 1 with a second place finish at the county tournament with a round of 72. Matthew Kelley (77) and Zac Holton (77) tied for fifth place with a 77 to contribute to the Eagles’ first place team finish with a score of 312. Oak Mountain finished four strokes ahead of Briarwood’s team score of 316.

 

Spain Park knocks off No. 1 Thompson

The Spain Park Jaguars took advantage of a couple big innings to take a 2-1 Class 6A first round playoff series victory over the No.1 ranked Thompson Warriors.

The Jaguars (24-16) dropped the first game of the series 4-1, but battled for a 5-4 win in game-two and took game-three 9-6 April 22.

The Jaguars advanced to take on Pelham on the road in the second round of the playoffs with a best-of-three series April 26.

 

MAY

Gov. Bentley appears at state high school fishing tourney

Gov. Robert Bentley surprised the crowd at the final weigh-in for the Alabama Student Angler Bass Fishing Association state tournament May 11 at the Columbiana Sports Complex.

The ASABFA features high schools all over the state, including Chelsea, Pelham, Thompson, Oak Mountain, Briarwood Christian and Spain Park high schools in Shelby County.

Seth Butts and Jonathan Harbin won the 2013 ASBFA State Championship with 10 fish weighing 29.18 pounds and 200 points. Tuscaloosa High School Team Taylor Teague and Caleb Little caught the big fish, which weighed 7.73 pounds. Top five high school teams of the year were: Sylacauga, first; Hartselle, second; Hayden, third; Tuscaloosa County, fourth and Childersburg, fifth.

 

Vincent softball takes area tournament

The Vincent Yellow Jackets softball team won the Class 2A, Area 10 tournament after defeating Fultondale 12-9 in the championship game April 30.

Vincent’s Jameia White was named the Area 10 tournament MVP and was joined by Ashleigh McCloud and Ashlynn Melton on the all-tournament team.

The Yellow Jackets opened the tournament with a 20-3 victory over Holy Family. Barber allowed three runs on two hits with four strikeouts in the win. Melton went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Barber finished 1-for-1 with a double and two RBIs.

 

Briarwood boys’ soccer wins title

The AHSAA Class 5A Boys Soccer State Semifinals saw the Briarwood Lions get out to an early lead and then hold on for dear life as Athens High led an absolutely furious charge to try and comeback and beat them.

The finals saw them get in control early and never look back, taking down St. Paul’s 3-0.

The championship is the fourth in school history, and the first since 2007.

Kimel led the team with four shots, with Conner Lee loggin =g three. Goalkeeper Jordan Box totaled three saves, and according to Wallace, only gave up one goal the entire tournament.

 

Pelham baseball takes state championship

The Pelham Panthers remain the last team standing at the end of the AHSAA State Baseball playoffs, taking down Hewitt-Trussville in the second game of the Championship Series, 1-0 to capture the 2013 crown.

It was a pitcher’s duel throughout, as Pelham’s Jack Pierce squared off against Hewitt’s Alec Talley for seven complete innings, with Pierce giving up no runs on just two hits.

Thomas Lowery, the winning pitcher of Game 1, was named series MVP.

 

CVA baseball wins third championship in four years

After capturing its third AISA state championship in four years, it’s safe to say the Coosa Valley Rebels baseball team has established as a dynasty.

Under first year coach Tyler Dent, the Rebels took an unorthodox route to the title, needing a little help and a second chance to bring the trophy home. The Rebels fell to Clarke Prep in the semifinals, but after protesting Clarke’s illegal use of a pitcher, the loss was overturned.

In the final round, CVA took on perennial power Lowndes Academy, where they swept the other Rebels in two games, 4-2 and 5-4.

 

Payne, Stroup named Gatorade Players of the Year

Oak Mountain’s Toni Payne and Chandler Stroup were named the Gatorade Player of the Year for the State of Alabama in soccer.

Sroupe, who was a defender for the Eagles, scored 13 goals and logged 12 assists this season, and along with the rest of the OMHS defense, allowed just 11 goals against.

Payne, who scored 47 goals and passed for 35 assists on the season, led Oak Mountain to a runner-up finish in the 6A State Championship game and also played on the U.S. Soccer under-20 Women’s National team.

The award, which is given in a partnership between the Gatorade high school sports leadership team and media outlet USA TODAY, is designed to recognize outstanding on field play, high academic achievement and exemplary character off the field.

 

JUNE

Frost wins Regions Tradition

South African native David Frost shot 4 under for the round and 16 under overall to take the 2013 Tradition, beating Fred Couples by one stroke.

It marks the second victory on the season, and first major championship for Frost, who not only battled Couples down the stretch, but Mother Nature as well. The final round tee time was moved up to 7:30 a.m. to avoid the inclement weather approaching the Birmingham area.

The victory marked Frost’s fifth career Champions Tour victory in his 87th start, earning him $335,000 and 660 points in the Charles Schwab Cup points chase. He takes over the lead in standings by 300 over Berhard Langer.

 

Pelham’s Johnson named All-County Player of the Year for Baseball

Fletcher Johnson was named the 2013 Shelby County Reporter All-County Player of the Year. Johnson was a driving force behind the Panthers’ run to a AHSAA Class 6A state championship.

Johnson finished the season batting .355, with eight homers, 10 doubles, 27 RBI’s, an on-base percentage of .516 and 42 runs scored.

In addition to All-County, Johnson was named the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham Baseball Player of the Year, was voted the Alabama Sports Writer Association Class 6A Player of the Year, and was named to the ASWA Super All-State team.

He will be attending the University of Tennessee-Martin on an academic scholarship and intends to major in engineering.

 

Oak Mountain’s Seitz leads stout All-County softball team

Oak Mountain senior Caroline Seitz was named the 2013 Shelby County Reporter All-County Softball Player of the Year.

Her offensive statistics alone are impressive, as she batted .446 on the year, knocking in 12 home runs and 64 RBIs. Once she got on, she stole 27 bases.

She led the team in nine offensive categories, and finished her career with a school-record 37 home runs.

In addition to the being the Reporter’s Player of the Year, she was also a selected as a member of the Alabama Sports Writers’ Association’s Class 6A All-State team.

She also signed a scholarship to play baseball at Mississippi State.