Defending champ Thompson No. 1, 3 other local teams ranked in first softball poll

Published 9:49 am Thursday, March 16, 2023

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

For defending champ Thompson, there are a few talented players the Warriors are working to replace from last year’s title run, but ultimately, they’ve picked up where they left off with several talented players back this year.

That has been evident through the first 17 games of the season, which Thompson has gotten through with a 14-3 record to earn the No. 1 spot in the Class 7A standings to start the 2023 season.

So far this season, Thompson has outscored opponents 95-29 to get off to an impressive start as the No. 1 team. Losses have come to 6A No. 6 Hazel Green by one run as well as to No. 2 Fairhope and Brookwood.

The Warriors were one of four total teams from Shelby County ranked in the first standings of the 2023 season with Spain Park, Helena and Vincent all earning praise as well.

Spain Park, who is under a new head coach this season, has still proven to be one of the state’s top teams early in the season.

The Jaguars are just three spots behind the Warriors in fourth after a 15-5 start to the year.

Spain Park has given up three or less runs in 16 of those 20 games this season, which has been key in leading the team to a fast start and the No. 4 ranking in Class 7A.

As for Helena, the Huskies entered this season fresh off a trip to the state championship last year in Class 6A.

Like Thompson, the Huskies did lose key playmakers from last year, but they also return several standout players this season that have helped them jump out to a 12-5 start against a challenging schedule.

That record and strength of schedule was enough to help Helena earn the No. 3 spot in the 6A standings.

Three of their five losses have come by two runs to other ranked teams, while all five have come against other teams inside the top 10 in either the 6A or 7A classification.

They’ve also beaten some of the best, including an 8-3 victory against 7A No. 3 Hewitt-Trussville early in the season.

As for the Vincent Yellow Jackets, they are off to a 10-4 start to the season, which was good enough for the No. 8 ranking in Class 2A.

The Jackets have lost two in a row by two runs after a 10-2 start to the season, but they have quickly shown it should be another successful season with the offense scoring 147 runs through 14 games, which is one of the highest marks in the county and state.