Oak Mountain, Shelby County move up in latest baseball poll

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

With the postseason now less than a month away, the baseball season is flying by and teams are in the midst of hitting a strong run of area games following spring break.

In the latest ASWA baseball poll released on Wednesday, March 27, we saw eight teams somewhere in the standings at eight teams to watch out for moving into that stretch. While anything can happen in area play, those handful of squads have gained a ton of confidence early in the season and look to be solid bets for an area championship.

In the AHSAA, Oak Mountain and Shelby County both found a spot inside their respective top 10, while five other teams are right on the verge of being a top-10 team if they can string together some success early in area play.

Coosa Valley also found a spot inside the AISA top 10 and looks to be a solid bet once the postseason starts due to a difficult schedule throughout the regular season.

Starting in Class 7A, the Oak Mountain Eagles have been the most consistent team in the standings this year, and came in at No. 3 in the latest poll.

That’s up one spot from a week ago after a strong run in the Gulf Coast Classic with three wins and a one-run loss to Spanish Fort to end the tourney. The Eagles are now 20-4 overall this season and committed to staying consistent no matter the success they see.

That combined with Jackson Kimbrell on the mound, a growing confidence in the rest of the pitching staff and hot bats makes Oak Mountain a dangerous team moving forward.

Nominated in the classification were the Spain Park Jaguars and Thompson Warriors.

The Jags were in last week’s top 10, but fell out due to three losses to Thompson and one to Hoover. Three of those four losses were by three runs or less.

SPHS (14-8) bounced back with a 12-2 win over Montgomery Central to open the Hoover spring break tournament, and will look to gain confidence throughout the tournament heading into area play against Mountain Brook.

Thompson has been up and down this season, but looks to have found something as of late winning six of its last eight games. The Warriors were 15-10 at the end of the Gulf Coast Classic, but get Oak Mountain to start area play with a bang.

Chelsea was another team inside the top 10 a week ago in Class 6A, but the Hornets fell to a nominated spot this week after a couple of close losses.

The two losses came to Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, both by one run. Chelsea bounced back with a 12-1 victory against Wetumpka in its opening game of the Hoover spring break tourney, and like the Jags, the Hornets will look for confidence ahead of an area showdown with Pelham following spring break.

The next local ranked team came in the 5A classification where head coach Cory Hamrick has his Shelby County Wildcats ranked fifth in the classification thanks to a 15-6-1 record this season.

Shelby County moved up a spot from last week’s standings after going 4-1-1 since then with wins against Jemison, Donoho and Vincent, as well as a tie with West Blocton.

The Wildcats have been on a tremendous roll this season behind Hamrick’s leadership, and currently look to not only be a playoff team, but one that can roll off some wins.

Montevallo has hit a tough stretch after taking on several extremely talented teams in the Gulf Coast Classic, which caused the Bulldogs to drop out of the Class 4A top 10 for the first time this season.

With that said, this team is battle tested and should make the playoffs this season. They’ll have series against Oak Grove and Leeds following spring break that will determine their postseason fate.

After falling out of the top 10 a week ago, the Coosa Valley Rebels have jumped back into the AISA top 10 following two consecutive wins against Union and Tuscaloosa Academy.

The Rebels are now 14-8 overall this season and will have to compete against difficult teams to claim a state championship, but have the talent to do so if everything is put together at the right time.

Full list of rankings for each classification is below:

Class 7A

  1. Smiths Station (18-4)
  2. Bob Jones (22-5)
  3. Oak Mountain (19-3)
  4. Hoover (15-7)
  5. Auburn (13-6)
  6. McGill-Toolen (13-5-1)
  7. Mountain Brook (16-6)
  8. James Clemens (17-5)
  9. Hewitt-Trussville (17-4)
  10. Austin (17-5)

Others nominated: Vestavia Hills (14-6), Huntsville (12-5), Prattville (14-5), Mary Montgomery (10-5), Central-Phenix City (9-4), Fairhope (15-8), Florence (10-9), Spain Park (13-8), Thompson (14-10)

Class 6A

  1. Russell County (23-2)
  2. Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (13-3)
  3. Oxford (15-3)
  4. Faith Academy (13-3)
  5. Spanish Fort (13-9)
  6. Wetumpka (15-5)
  7. Hazel Green (10-12)
  8. Saraland (14-8)
  9. Homewood (14-5)
  10. Cullman (9-9)

Others nominated: Hueytown (15-5), Benjamin Russell (15-7), Athens (12-7), Helena (10-9), Daphne (10-10), Chelsea (10-8), Buckhorn (9-10), Muscle Shoals (11-7), Hartselle (8-11), Decatur (8-7), Gulf Shores (13-7), Robertsdale (13-7), Shades Valley (11-5), Gardendale (12-6), Northview (12-9)

Class 5A

  1. St. Paul’s (15-3)
  2. Charles Henderson (16-4)
  3. Jasper (18-6)
  4. Etowah (17-7)
  5. Shelby County (15-6)
  6. Corner (15-8)
  7. Satsuma (16-4)
  8. Alexandria (10-6)
  9. Chilton County (14-5)
  10. Ardmore (10-4)

Others nominated: Carroll (13-7), East Limestone (8-7), Jackson (11-4), Lawrence County (11-6),

Scottsboro (9-5), UMS-Wright (11-7), West Point (10-11)

Class 4A

  1. Hokes Bluff (12-2)
  2. Trinity (12-5)
  3. North Jackson (12-2)
  4. LAMP (12-5)
  5. Oak Grove (13-7)
  6. Mobile Christian (7-8-1)
  7. West Morgan (11-4)
  8. Elmore County (12-4)
  9. Andalusia (15-8)
  10. Fairview (12-5)

Others nominated: Alabama Christian (11-5), Brooks (6-3), Haleyville (9-4), Headland (9-6), Holtville (11-4), Montevallo (14-7), Wilson (9-7-1)

Class 3A

  1. St. James (12-7)
  2. Gordo (10-2)
  3. Providence Christian (14-6)
  4. Winfield (18-5)
  5. Piedmont (17-4)
  6. Bayside Academy (13-6)
  7. Phil Campbell (14-5)
  8. Hanceville (9-2)
  9. Houston Academy (15-6)
  10. Hale County (10-3)

Others nominated: Beulah (11-5), Geneva (11-10), Oakman (10-6), T.R. Miller (11-3)

Class 2A

  1. G.W. Long (17-2)
  2. Fyffe (13-1)
  3. Thorsby (15-3)
  4. Fayetteville (12-5)
  5. Highland Home (13-3)
  6. Ariton (16-8)
  7. Decatur Heritage (9-4)
  8. Leroy (15-6)
  9. Luverne (12-8)
  10. Westbrook Christian (10-8)

Others nominated: Cedar Bluff (8-3), Cottage Hill (9-6), Ranburne (10-5), Southeastern (8-3)

Class 1A

  1. Millry (15-4)
  2. Brantley (14-5)
  3. Athens Bible (11-3)
  4. Sweet Water (9-5)
  5. Mars Hill Bible (10-5)
  6. Covenant Christian (13-0)
  7. Spring Garden (10-2)
  8. Victory Christian (12-2)
  9. Winterboro (10-4)
  10. Holy Spirit (8-3)

Others nominated: Donoho (6-2), Gaylesville (6-7), Red Level (7-4), Waterloo (8-4)

AISA

  1. Morgan (14-0)
  2. Macon-East (22-4)
  3. Autauga Academy (20-8)
  4. Bessemer Academy (20-7)
  5. Lee-Scott (12-7)
  6. Lakeside (19-3)
  7. Hooper (19-7)
  8. Pike Liberal (17-7)
  9. Coosa Valley (14-8)
  10. Patrician (12-4)

Others nominated: Escambia (9-2), Glenwood (9-6), Jackson Academy (10-4), Monroe (9-5)