Thompson holds No. 1 spot in baseball and softball rankings, 10 total local teams ranked

Published 9:12 am Thursday, March 23, 2023

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

The Thompson Warriors now hold the No. 1 spot in both the baseball and softball rankings for Class 7A midway through the season after impressive stretches for each.

They were part of 10 total teams from Shelby County ranked in the second poll of the season, while three others were nominated between the two sports.

Thompson’s baseball team, however, has been the highlight so far this season. The Warriors did run into their first road block the night before the rankings were released, falling 5-4 to Spain Park in 11 innings, but they started the season 20-0 overall and are now 20-1 following the loss.

As for the softball team, the defending Class 7A champs are now 15-4 after splitting their first two area games with No. 4 Vestavia Hills and No. 6 Hoover, beating the Bucs after losing to the Rebels.

Beyond those two, however, three other softball teams were ranked in the latest standings, while seven baseball teams were ranked and three others nominated for a spot.

Starting with the seven baseball teams, the Spain Park Jaguars joined Thompson in the 7A standings and now have one of the best wins of any team this season after handing the Warriors their first loss.

With that victory, Spain Park has had a stretch of beating No. 3 Tuscaloosa County, No. 6 Vestavia Hills, No. 1 Thompson and Class 6A No. 2 Oxford all by two runs or less to improve to 16-4. The Jags now sit at No. 7 overall and will have a chance to climb higher over the next week, but a busy schedule of talented teams is ahead.

Chelsea and Oak Mountain were both nominated for a spot in Class 7A as well. Both have had similar seasons, showing promise against talented teams but having a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. The Hornets currently sit at 9-9 overall this season, while Oak Mountain is 8-10.

The next-highest ranked team outside of Thompson in the baseball standings came in Class 6A with the Briarwood Lions. Briarwood now holds the longest win streak in the county with six consecutive wins to improve to 12-3.

The Lions came in at No. 4 in the standings and have scored 11 or more in all six of those wins.

Helena was nominated for a spot in the 6A standings despite a 4-13 start to the season. The Huskies have challenged themselves with a difficult schedule, which has set them up for a strong run in the second half of the season.

In the 5A classification, the Shelby County Wildcats have bounced back from three straight losses to Class 7A teams by winning back-to-back games, including their area opener.

The Wildcats are now No. 5 in the 5A standings with a record of 10-6.

The final AHSAA baseball team ranked in the second poll came in Class 2A, as the Vincent Yellow Jackets now sit at 9-3 overall to claim the No. 9 spot. The Yellow Jackets recently lost two to Fayetteville to open area play, while they beat the Wolves once in their three games.

With a talented roster of returning players, they’ll still look to push for a chance at the area championship and another postseason run in 2023.

In the AISA, the Coosa Valley Academy Rebels came in at No. 7 after an 11-4 start to No. 6 Bessemer Academy. One of their best wins has come against Chambers Academy, the No. 9 team in the standings.

As for the softball standings, the Spain Park Jaguars, Helena Huskies and Vincent Yellow Jackets joined Thompson in the rankings.

Spain Park and Helena both sit inside the top five of the 7A and 6A standings, respectively, with the Jags No. 5 in Class 7A and Helena No. 4 in Class 6A.

Both have shown signs of being two of the best in their classification with the Jags now 16-5 overall this season and Helena now 15-7. More importantly, they have challenged themselves and look to be set up for a shot at area championships.

As for Vincent, they are now 13-5 overall this season. The Jackets, who started the season 10-2, are now No. 9 in the Class 2A standings.