Newest baseball poll features 8 county teams

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

With seven teams represented in the first ASWA baseball poll of the season, Shelby County had a strong presence, but in week two of the standings, there is a stronger showing with eight total teams represented, including an additional team to earn a spot in the top 10 of their respective classification.

Last week there were four teams inside the top 10 of a classification and three nominated, while this week there were a total of five top 10 teams and three nominated.

One of the biggest changes came from the Oak Mountain Eagles, who propelled from No. 10 a week ago up to No. 4 in the latest standings.

As of Thursday, March 21, the Eagles had won 11 games in a row to improve to 17-2 overall, with their last loss coming by a final of 2-1 against Spain Park, whom they beat 9-4 two days earlier.

The Eagles actually have the best winning percentage of any team in Class 7A, and will look to continue their consistent play. Last year, this team was nationally ranked and playing lights out at this point, but got away from what they do best because of it.

Coming into this season, the focus was to never let any distraction like that get them away from their game plan. Expect the Eagles to continue going out and playing baseball to their best ability.

Another jump came from the Spain Park Jaguars, who went from nominated to No. 8 in the Class 7A poll.

The Jags used that 2-1 win against Oak Mountain to win six consecutive games as part of a stretch where they won nine of 10. Since then, however, Spain Park had lost back-to-back games to Thompson and Hoover as of Wednesday, March 20. Now at 13-5 overall, the Jaguars will look to gain steam in a doubleheader against Thompson on Friday, March 22, as well as the week of Spring Break.

Thompson has also gotten hot as of late to earn a nomination for a spot in the top 10 in the 7A classification. The Warriors had won nine of 12 games as of Tuesday, March 19.

The next top-10 team came in Class 6A thanks to the Chelsea Hornets jumping into the poll at No. 10.

As of Thursday, March 21, the Hornets had won four games in a row, including two straight over Calera, to improve to 10-6 overall and 2-0 in area play.

The Pelham Panthers received votes for a spot in the top 10 with a record of 8-8 at the time the poll was released thanks to a big 2-1 win against Helena, but have since lost to the Huskies 11-2 and are now 8-9 as of Thursday, March 21.

In Class 5A, the Shelby County Wildcats slid down a spot from last week’s poll, but still remained firmly in the top 10 at No. 6. The Wildcats have gone 3-3 since the last standings were released with losses to Pell City, Vincent and Pelham, and wins against Greene County, Appalachian and area foe Jemison.

At 12-5 overall, Shelby County has played great baseball so far this season and will look to finish it off with a playoff berth down the stretch.

Down one more classification, the Montevallo Bulldogs moved up one spot. After being ranked No. 9 last week, the Bulldogs are now eighth in the 4A standings thanks to an overall record of 13-3.

Montevallo had won 10 of 11 games after defeating Childersburg 13-3 on Tuesday, March 19, but Childersburg came right back on Thursday, March 21, to pick up a 10-9 victory.

That loss moved Montevallo’s area record to 3-1 this season with wins against Indian Springs and Childersburg. A playoff spot will come down to matchups against Oak Grove and Leeds in the first two weeks of April.

The final team featured in the ASWA baseball poll was Coosa Valley. The Rebels (13-8) were ranked firmly in the top 10 of the AISA a week ago at No. 6, but have since dropped out to a nominated spot.

In their last eight games, the Rebels have gone 4-4 with up-and-down play, but a difficult schedule will have this team ready for an important upcoming stretch.

Class 7A

  1. Bob Jones (18-4)
  2. Smiths Station (14-2)
  3. Auburn (13-4)
  4. Oak Mountain (15-2)
  5. McGill-Toolen (10-4-1)
  6. Hoover (12-5)
  7. Vestavia Hills (12-5)
  8. Spain Park (13-5)
  9. Huntsville (12-2)
  10. Mountain Brook (14-6)

Others nominated: Prattville (14-5), Austin (13-4), Hewitt-Trussville (14-4), James Clemens (11-5), Mary Montgomery (7-3), Central-Phenix City (12-4), Fairhope (11-8), Florence (8-8), Thompson (11-9).

Class 6A

  1. Russell County (19-1)
  2. Hazel Green (8-7)
  3. Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (10-3)
  4. Faith Academy (9-3)
  5. Oxford (11-3)
  6. Cullman (7-6)
  7. Spanish Fort (10-7)
  8. Athens (10-5)
  9. Saraland (10-6)
  10. Chelsea (9-6)

Others nominated: Wetumpka (12-4), Muscle Shoals (8-4), Buckhorn (8-7), Hartselle (8-9), Decatur (8-5), Gulf Shores (11-5), Hueytown (9-4), Daphne (9-6), Homewood (10-6), Albertville (10-7), Gardendale (8-4), Pelham (8-7), Benjamin Russell (13-6).

Class 5A

  1. St. Paul’s (15-2)
  2. Etowah (13-3)
  3. Charles Henderson (15-3)
  4. Jackson (10-2)
  5. Jasper (13-4)
  6. Shelby County (11-5)
  7. Corner (10-5)
  8. Satsuma (9-4)
  9. Alexandria (9-5)
  10. Chilton County (10-4)

Others nominated: Ardmore (5-3), Carroll (10-5), East Limestone (6-6), Mortimer Jordan (8-8), Scottsboro (7-5), UMS-Wright (9-7), West Point (8-7).

Class 4A

  1. Hokes Bluff (7-2)
  2. Trinity (10-4)
  3. North Jackson (10-4)
  4. West Morgan (11-1)
  5. Mobile Christian (7-7-1)
  6. LAMP (10-4)
  7. Oak Grove (9-4)
  8. Montevallo (12-2)
  9. Alabama Christian (11-5)
  10. Elmore County (10-2)

Others nominated: Andalusia (10-7), Brooks (5-3), Fairview (7-4), Haleyville (7-4), Headland (8-4).

Class 3A

  1. Providence Christian (11-4)
  2. St. James (9-5)
  3. Gordo (9-2)
  4. Winfield (13-5)
  5. Piedmont (11-4)
  6. Bayside Academy (9-6)
  7. Houston Academy (13-4)
  8. T.R. Miller (10-2)
  9. Phil Campbell (10-4)
  10. Geneva (11-5)

Others nominated: Beulah (9-4), Hale County (6-2), Hanceville (7-2), Lexington (4-3), Oakman (9-6), Plainview (5-4), Pleasant Valley (8-5).

Class 2A

  1. G.W. Long (13-1)
  2. Fayetteville (10-4)
  3. Fyffe (11-1)
  4. Thorsby (10-3-1)
  5. Highland Home (10-2)
  6. Leroy (9-5)
  7. Ariton (13-6)
  8. Westbrook Christian (7-4)
  9. Decatur Heritage (5-4)
  10. Southeastern (7-2)

Others nominated: Cedar Bluff (6-1), Goshen (9-3), New Brockton (9-3).

Class 1A

  1. Millry (11-4)
  2. Athens Bible (10-2)
  3. Brantley (9-5)
  4. Sweet Water (7-4)
  5. Mars Hill (8-4)
  6. Winterboro (10-3)
  7. Covenant Christian (9-0)
  8. Spring Garden (7-2)
  9. Red Level (7-3)
  10. Victory Christian (11-2)

Others nominated: Donoho (5-1), Gaylesville (6-6), Holy Spirit (6-2).

AISA

  1. Morgan Academy (10-0)
  2. Macon-East (18-4)
  3. Autauga Academy (18-8)
  4. Bessemer Academy (18-6)
  5. Lee-Scott Academy (10-5)
  6. Lakeside Academy (13-2)
  7. Pike Liberal Arts (14-5)
  8. Glenwood (6-4)
  9. Hooper Academy (14-7)
  10. Jackson Academy (9-3)

Others nominated: Coosa Valley Academy (12-7), Escambia Academy (9-2), Monroe Academy (5-2), Patrician (8-4).