Second softball rankings feature 8 local teams

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

There have been some dominant starts to the 2019 softball season, while some teams are just starting to get into a rhythm now that mother nature isn’t wreaking havoc on the spring sports world.

Now that we are close to a month away from the postseason beginning, we are starting to see teams take shape, and it shows in the latest ASWA softball polls, which feature a total of three top 10 teams in their respective classification as well as five others on the cusp of breaking through.

The three ranked teams are headed by No. 2 Spain Park and No. 8 Thompson in Class 7A, as well as No. 8 Chelsea in Class 6A.

The Jaguars, who are also ranked nationally by USA Today at No. 17 in the country, has started the season in typical fashion as one of the hottest teams not only in the state but the nation.

Spain Park has only lost two games this season and sits 23-2, but a recent 7-5 loss to Vestavia Hills handed the Jags their first area loss of the season. Still sitting at 3-1 in area play, it’s not too much to be concerned about, and may actually put more of a chip on their shoulder.

Already one of the best teams looking for redemption after a heartbreaking end to the state championship last year, this team shouldn’t need any more motivation to be great.

Almost equally as hot to start the 2019 season has been the Thompson Warriors.

Having beaten two other top 10 teams so far, the Warriors are off to a 17-1 start this season, including a 3-0 start to area play after taking down Hoover on Wednesday, March 13, and Oak Mountain and Tuscaloosa County March 20-21.

Thompson has won 11 games in a row with the lone loss coming against 7A No. 7 Vestavia Hills 8-6. If this team plays with confidence, they can beat anybody, but they can’t be scared of any big moments with plenty ahead.

While both of those teams have been hot all season, the Chelsea Hornets have been more of an up-and-down team.

The Hornets started the season 4-0 before dropping three in a row. But then, Chelsea flipped a switch and won seven of its next eight contests to improve to 11-4.

While the Hornets have since dropped three of their last four games, two have been to top five teams, and the other a 7A Oak Mountain team. Sitting at 12-7 overall this season having played a difficult schedule, Chelsea has earned the No. 8 ranking in Class 6A.

The Hornets are currently 3-0 in area play, and look like they’ll be a playoff team again this year, as they look to win their second state championship since 2016.

Other teams nominated were Oak Mountain in Class 7A, Helena and Pelham in Class 6A, Vincent in Class 2A, and Cornerstone Christian School in the AISA.

After a 1-4 start to the season, the Oak Mountain Eagles have won three of their last four games, including wins against Mountain Brook, Hoover and Chelsea, and a one-run loss to Thompson to earn respect.

One of the teams that is probably closest to cracking into the top 10 is Pelham, who is off to a 15-8 start to 2019. The Panthers have won six of their last seven with their lone loss coming to Pinson Valley, whom they also beat two games earlier. They are currently 2-1 in area play with a one-run loss to Chelsea.

At 8-7, it’s also been an up-and-down season for the Helena Huskies. The Huskies haven’t put together a win streak since starting the season 3-0 and are currently 1-2 in area play, but they have the talent to put together a charge down the stretch for a spot in the playoffs.

Another team close to breaking into the top 10 is Vincent. Now 12-3 overall this season, the Yellow Jackets have won six of their last seven games, all of which have been won by scoring at least 10 runs.

Another team on the outside looking in is Cornerstone, who is now 10-2 overall this season. The Chargers have already locked up a No. 1 seed in the AISA state tournament. They have yet to beat any other top 10 teams in the AISA, but it’s a team building confidence having won five of its last six games.

ASWA SOFTBALL RANKINGS

CLASS 7A

  1. Fairhope (20-1)
  2. Spain Park (22-2)
  3. Bob Jones (20-1)
  4. Hewitt-Trussville (14-3)
  5. Central-Phenix City (17-6)
  6. Sparkman (11-3)
  7. Vestavia Hills (12-8)
  8. Thompson (16-1)
  9. Hoover (13-6)
  10. Prattville (16-9-1)

Others nominated: Auburn (9-8), Austin (4-5), Baker (12-6), Huntsville (10-2), James Clemens (9-6-1), Oak Mountain (5-6), Tuscaloosa County (9-3).

CLASS 6A

  1. Northview (15-4)
  2. Buckhorn (10-1)
  3. Hartselle (12-4)
  4. Gardendale (16-2-1)
  5. Saraland (15-3)
  6. Hazel Green (9-3)
  7. Daphne (9-7)
  8. Chelsea (12-6)
  9. Athens (9-4)
  10. Spanish Fort (10-5)

Others nominated: Albertville (10-4), Baldwin County (12-12), Brookwood (9-5), Eufaula (10-7), Helena (6-7), Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (9-8), Oxford (11-7), Pelham (15-7), Pell City (13-5).

CLASS 5A

  1. Hayden (13-1)
  2. Springville (9-5)
  3. Alexandria (4-2)
  4. Mortimer Jordan (11-4)
  5. Tallassee (20-3)
  6. Rehobeth (11-5)
  7. Ardmore (3-2)
  8. Satsuma (20-3)
  9. Moody (11-13)
  10. Southside-Gadsden (13-7)

Others nominated: Brewbaker Tech (14-10), Corner (9-4), Faith Academy (7-4), Lawrence County (10-10), Madison County (5-8), East Limestone (6-3), Russellville (8-6), Scottsboro (7-7).

CLASS 4A

  1. White Plains (15-3)
  2. Alabama Christian (13-6)
  3. Holtville (14-4)
  4. American Christian (13-4)
  5. LAMP (15-2)
  6. Wilson (14-2)
  7. North Jackson (5-1-1)
  8. Lincoln (17-9-1)
  9. Leeds (9-3-1)
  10. Madison Academy (8-2)

Others nominated: Andalusia (11-4), Central-Florence (7-3), Cherokee County (5-2), Danville (4-5), Good Hope (13-3), Northside (4-6), Rogers (9-4).

CLASS 3A

  1. Prattville Christian (17-2)
  2. Pisgah (8-2)
  3. Plainview (6-2)
  4. J.B. Pennington (8-0)
  5. Pleasant Valley (11-4)
  6. Winfield (12-3-1)
  7. Geneva (13-10)
  8. Carbon Hill (9-6-1)
  9. Oakman (7-5)
  10. Providence Christian (10-5)

Others nominated: Colbert Heights (6-2), Lauderdale County (5-5), Lexington (6-2), Locust Fork (11-5), Mobile Christian (7-12), Piedmont (8-5), St. James (16-4), Wicksburg (15-5).

CLASS 2A

  1. G.W. Long (11-0)
  2. Sumiton Christian (8-7-1)
  3. Hatton (9-7)
  4. Leroy (10-2)
  5. Sand Rock (6-0)
  6. Red Bay (12-3)
  7. Collinsville (5-2-1)
  8. Horseshoe Bend (5-7)
  9. Ider (5-5)
  10. West End (5-2-1)

Others nominated: Cedar Bluff (3-5), Fyffe (2-3), Vincent (11-3), Reeltown (5-12), Section (2-3), Woodland (9-11).

CLASS 1A

  1. Brantley (10-4)
  2. Mars Hill Bible (13-5)
  3. Appalachian (6-2)
  4. Falkville (10-2)
  5. South Lamar (4-2)
  6. Kinston (13-7)
  7. Spring Garden (2-2)
  8. Belgreen (7-3)
  9. Waterloo (7-5)
  10. Berry (5-5)

Others nominated: Marion County (4-5-1), Meek (6-8-1), Millry (7-4), Skyline (3-6), Sweet Water (5-6).

AISA

  1. Autauga Academy (21-9)
  2. Macon-East (24-9)
  3. Glenwood (20-6-1)
  4. Edgewood (23-8)
  5. Marengo Academy (14-6)
  6. Pickens Academy (11-4)
  7. Clarke Prep (10-4-1)
  8. South Choctaw (5-2)
  9. Bessemer Academy (20-11)
  10. Pike Liberal Arts (14-9)

Others nominated: Abbeville Christian (10-5), Cornerstone Christian (10-1), Lowndes Academy (12-4), Tuscaloosa Academy (4-4).