First softball poll features 3 ranked teams

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

Softball has been a prominent sport around Shelby County the last several years with teams seemingly competing for a state championship on a yearly basis.

That should be no different in 2019 with several teams coming into the season with high expectations after impressive showings last season.

The confidence has carried over to the field, and has shown up in the first ASWA softball poll of the year with three teams showing up in their respective top 10 and four others being nominated for a spot in the top 10.

Spain Park, Thompson and Helena were all ranked, with the Jags and Warriors playing dominant softball right now, while Oak Mountain, Chelsea, Vincent and Cornerstone were nominated for spots inside their respective top 10.

You can’t start talking about the rankings without mentioning the Spain Park Jaguars, who came in at No. 2 in the 7A poll.

As per usual, the Jags are absolutely dominating opponents this season, and are probably the best team in the state as they tend to be most years, but they know they’ll be judged on the postseason after heartbreaking losses in the state championship the last couple of years.

This year, their method seems to be to go out and dominate everybody to gain as much confidence as possible heading into the postseason so they’ll have that same demeanor when it matters.

Spain Park is off to a 14-1 start with its only loss coming to 4A No. 4 American Christian, and have won back-to-back area games against Mountain Brook and Hewitt-Trussville by a combined 37-2 to improve to 2-0 in area play.

As of Wednesday, March 13, those two dominant area wins were part of an eight game win streak where the Jaguars have outscored opponents 94-13.

The Thompson Warriors haven’t been too far away from the same kind of domination and are off to an 11-1 start, which has them No. 9 in the 7A poll.

Thompson is coming off a huge area win against No. 6 Hoover to prove this team is ready to make some noise this season. The Warriors’ only loss of the season so far came to No. 8 Vestavia Hills by a final score of 8-6.

Other than that, they have dominated. In their current four-game win streak as of Wednesday, March 13, the Warriors have outscored opponents 31-10.

The Helena Huskies were the only other team to earn a spot inside the top 10, thanks to finding the No. 9 spot in Class 6A. It’s a team that is very talented, but hasn’t found consistency yet in the season.

After starting the season 3-0 with several big wins, the Huskies have yet to win back-to-back games since and have lost six of their last nine, including an area game against Chelsea on Wednesday, March 13.

Nominated for spots inside the top 10, but just outside was Oak Mountain in 7A, Chelsea in 6A, Vincent in 2A and Cornerstone in the AISA.

The Eagles haven’t gotten to play a ton of softball yet and started the season 0-3 before winning two of their last three games.

Chelsea is possibly the best unranked team right now after beating the Huskies on March 13. The Hornets are now 6-3 overall after winning back-to-back area games against Pelham and Helena.

Chelsea is a team that started the season hot at 4-0 before dropping three consecutive games, but the most recent success from the Hornets is proving their talent.

The Vincent Yellow Jackets also earned a nomination after starting the season 6-1, while the Cornerstone Chargers earned a nomination with that same exact record in the AISA.

ASWA SOFTBALL RANKINGS

CLASS 7A

  1. Fairhope (13-1)
  2. Spain Park (13-1)
  3. Bob Jones (15-1)
  4. Hewitt-Trussville (7-1)
  5. James Clemens (6-4-1)
  6. Hoover (8-3)
  7. Sparkman (8-2)
  8. Vestavia Hills (8-4)
  9. Thompson (10-1)
  10. Baker (9-4)

Others nominated: Auburn (7-5), Central-Phenix City (8-5), Huntsville (5-2), Oak Mountain (2-4), Prattville (11-6-2), Tuscaloosa County (9-3), Austin (3-5).

CLASS 6A

  1. Northview (10-1)
  2. Hartselle (9-2)
  3. Buckhorn (6-1)
  4. Gardendale (14-2-1)
  5. Hazel Green (5-2)
  6. Daphne (8-6)
  7. Saraland (10-3)
  8. Stanhope Elmore (9-6)
  9. Helena (5-5)
  10. Spanish Fort (9-4)

Others nominated: Albertville (6-2), Baldwin County (9-8), Brookwood (5-2), Chelsea (5-3), Dothan (7-8), Eufaula (8-5), Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (8-5), Pell City (12-4).

CLASS 5A

  1. Springville (5-3)
  2. Hayden (6-1)
  3. Alexandria (3-2)
  4. Corner (3-1)
  5. Mortimer Jordan (10-4)
  6. Rehobeth (9-5)
  7. Ardmore (3-2)
  8. Tallassee (11-2)
  9. Satsuma (18-3)
  10. Brewbaker Tech (13-6)

Others nominated: Boaz (6-7-1), Faith Academy (5-3), Lawrence County (7-6), Madison County (3-3), Moody (8-8), East Limestone (5-3), Russellville (4-4), Southside-Gadsden (8-6).

CLASS 4A

  1. Alabama Christian (11-3)
  2. Holtville (13-3)
  3. White Plains (14-3)
  4. American Christian (10-3)
  5. LAMP (9-1)
  6. Wilson (7-0)
  7. Madison Academy (7-0)
  8. North Jackson (3-0-1)
  9. Leeds (7-3-1)
  10. Lincoln (13-5-1)

Others nominated: Andalusia (5-3), Central-Florence (5-3), Cherokee County (4-1), Danville (2-2), Northside (3-6).

CLASS 3A

  1. Pisgah (3-0)
  2. Prattville Christian (10-2)
  3. Plainview (4-1)
  4. J.B. Pennington (6-0)
  5. Pleasant Valley (8-4)
  6. Winfield (8-0-1)
  7. Geneva (12-9)
  8. Carbon Hill (5-4)
  9. Wicksburg (12-2)
  10. Oakman (7-5)

Others nominated: Colbert Heights (2-0), Lauderdale County (3-1), Locust Fork (9-1), Mobile Christian (6-10), Piedmont (6-1), Providence Christian (5-5), St. James (14-3), Walter Wellborn (3-1).

CLASS 2A

  1. G.W. Long (8-0)
  2. Sumiton Christian (7-6-1)
  3. Hatton (9-7)
  4. Section (2-0)
  5. Leroy (7-2)
  6. Sand Rock (3-0)
  7. Lamar County (3-3)
  8. Collinsville (4-2-1)
  9. Ider (2-2)
  10. Cedar Bluff (3-3)

Others nominated: Fyffe (1-1), Horseshoe Bend (4-3), Vincent (6-1), Reeltown (4-10), Woodland (6-8).

CLASS 1A

  1. Brantley (8-4)
  2. Mars Hill Bible (7-3)
  3. Appalachian (5-2)
  4. South Lamar (2-1)
  5. Spring Garden (1-2)
  6. Kinston (8-5)
  7. Falkville (6-1)
  8. Belgreen (5-3)
  9. Meek (4-4)
  10. Waterloo (5-3)

Others nominated: Skyline (0-4).

AISA

  1. Autauga Academy (16-7)
  2. Macon-East (20-7)
  3. Glenwood (13-6-1)
  4. Edgewood (14-6)
  5. Pickens Academy (5-4)
  6. South Choctaw (3-0)
  7. Clarke Prep (8-2-1)
  8. Bessemer Academy (12-8)
  9. Pike Liberal Arts (12-7)
  10. Abbeville Christian (9-3)

Others nominated: Cornerstone Christian (6-1), Patrician Academy (2-6), Tuscaloosa Academy (3-3).