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Baseball rankings loaded with county teams, two at No. 1

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

While there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the remainder of the 2020 baseball season due to coronavirus, there is no second guessing the talent Shelby County teams brought to the table through the first month of the season and that is evident in the second ASWA baseball rankings, which were released on Thursday night, March 19.

The rankings featured two No. 1 teams, six total teams inside their respective top 10 and two additional nominated for a spot in the top 10.

While it’s sad that some may not get to finish out what could have been one of the most historic seasons in school and county history, it’s a time to celebrate the accomplishments of each team.

Two teams that deserve a large amount of recognition are the Chelsea Hornets and Shelby County Wildcats, both of whom came in at No. 1 in their respective classification.

In Class 6A, the Hornets found the No. 1 spot with an overall record of 11-3. Coming off a trip to the state championship series a season ago, Chelsea won its final two games before the season was suspended by taking down Briarwood 4-3 and Pell City 7-1.

The Hornets’ only three losses of the season were to 7A No. 1 Mountain Brook, 7A No. 4 Spain Park and nominated 6A team Benjamin Russell.

Shelby County came in at No. 1 in the 5A classification after one of the Wildcats’ best starts in school history with a record of 14-2. Their only losses of the season were 2-1 to Briarwood and 7-3 to Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa.

In their 16 games, the Wildcats scored a combined 140 runs behind a dominant offense and gave up more than two runs just three times.

Beyond those two No. 1 teams, the Spain Park Jaguars and Oak Mountain Eagles were both ranked in the 7A classification.

Spain Park may have been the hottest team in the county before the season came to a halt, winning eight games in a row. That helped the Jags improve to 12-4 on the season and claim the No. 4 spot in the standings.

The Jaguars picked up three consecutive wins against Auburn, Daphne and Saraland after it was announced the season would stop. Their only losses this season were to Briarwood, Gardendale, Oak Mountain and Austin.

Oak Mountain improved to 9-4 just before the break in play thanks to two one-run wins against Briarwood, which was good enough to earn the Eagles the 10th and final spot in the Class 7A standings. Their only losses were to Mountain Brook, Chelsea, Helena and James Clemens.

Thompson also got recognition for a solid start be receiving nominations for a spot after a 12-6 start. Aside from a 0-4 record in the Perfect Game Showdown against some of the country’s best teams, the Warriors were 12-2.

Like Thompson, Calera got recognition in Class 6A after an 8-5 start.

Briarwood earned the No. 6 spot in Class 5A thanks to a strong record. Coming off a trip to the 5A championship series and within a win of the title last year, the Lions were off to a 7-5 start, but of those five losses, four were by one run.

In four of its last five games, Briarwood had lost to Hueytown, Chelsea and Oak Mountain (twice) all by one run. All four of those teams are top 10 teams, while the Lions also handed No. 1 Shelby County a 2-1 loss.

With much of their offensive talent back, the Lions came into the season as a strong contender for the 5A championship.

The Montevallo Bulldogs also earned a top-10 ranking thanks to an impressive 10-1 start to the season, marking one of their best in recent history. Having redeemed their only loss to Indian Springs with a win, the Bulldogs earned the No. 8 ranking in Class 4A.

CLASS 7A

  1. Mountain Brook (16-2)
  2. Hoover (12-4)
  3. Sparkman (10-3)
  4. Spain Park (12-4)
  5. Prattville (14-2)
  6. Bob Jones (15-7)
  7. Hewitt-Trussville (12-7)
  8. Baker (12-3)
  9. Florence (10-6)
  10. Oak Mountain (9-4)

Others nominated: Austin (9-8), Central-Phenix City (10-6), Enterprise (9-6), Gadsden City (10-4), James Clemens (12-8), Mary G. Montgomery (8-3), McGill-Toolen (6-8), Thompson (12-6).

CLASS 6A

  1. Chelsea (11-3)
  2. Russell County (15-5)
  3. Cullman (9-6)
  4. Athens (13-5)
  5. Hueytown (9-3)
  6. Faith Academy (10-5)
  7. Hartselle (10-7)
  8. Saraland (12-5)
  9. Robertsdale (12-5)
  10. Gulf Shores (13-6)

Others nominated: Benjamin Russell (11-7), Calera (8-5), Daphne (9-6), Muscle Shoals (9-4), Wetumpka (10-4).

CLASS 5A

  1. Shelby County (14-2)
  2. Corner (14-1)
  3. St. Paul’s (12-2)
  4. UMS-Wright (11-5)
  5. Jasper (11-5)
  6. Briarwood (7-5)
  7. Russellville (10-6)
  8. Madison Academy (10-5)
  9. Chilton County (7-5)
  10. Alexandria (11-5)

Others nominated: Etowah (9-4), Scottsboro (9-8), Tallassee (8-6).

CLASS 4A

  1. American Christian (12-1)
  2. Trinity (13-2-1)
  3. Andalusia (10-3)
  4. Wilson (10-2)
  5. West Morgan (7-1)
  6. DAR (9-2)
  7. West Limestone (10-4)
  8. Montevallo (10-1)
  9. Oneonta (7-2)
  10. Headland (9-2)

Others nominated: Alabama Christian (9-6), Deshler (7-7), Elmore County (11-5), Hokes Bluff (6-4), Holtville (7-6).

CLASS 3A

  1. Piedmont (15-0)
  2. Phil Campbell (12-2)
  3. Wicksburg (11-1)
  4. T.R. Miller (9-0)
  5. Gordo (8-1)
  6. Hale County (8-4)
  7. Lauderdale County (6-4)
  8. Winfield (11-6)
  9. Prattville Christian (8-2)
  10. Dadeville (7-4)

Others nominated: Opp (8-7), Randolph County (5-4), St. James (7-6).

CLASS 2A

  1. G.W. Long (9-5)
  2. Decatur Heritage (11-1)
  3. Thorsby (9-3)
  4. Fyffe (8-2)
  5. Westbrook Christian (7-5)
  6. Ariton (12-5)
  7. Leroy (12-7)
  8. West End (7-4)
  9. Highland Home (7-3)
  10. J.U. Blacksher (7-3)

Others nominated: Cottage Hill (9-5), Cottonwood (6-2), Luverne (4-8), Sumiton Christian (8-9).

CLASS 1A

  1. Brantley (10-2)
  2. Shoals Christian (8-3)
  3. Millry (9-2)
  4. Sweet Water (10-4)
  5. Mars Hill Bible (6-7)
  6. St. Luke’s (10-1)
  7. Spring Garden (8-4)
  8. Lindsay Lane (15-1)
  9. Appalachian (12-3)
  10. Hackleburg (9-4)

Others nominated: Falkville (6-4), Lynn (6-4), Maplesville (5-3), Ragland (8-3), Red Level (8-2).

AISA

  1. Pike Liberal (14-1)
  2. Bessemer Academy (18-3)
  3. Glenwood (12-3)
  4. Lakeside (8-1)
  5. Clarke Prep (9-4)
  6. Edgewood (6-4)
  7. Escambia Academy (15-6)
  8. Macon-East (9-8)
  9. Hooper (11-7)
  10. Morgan (5-4)

Others nominated: Autauga Academy (7-9), Lowndes Academy (8-6), Monroe Academy (8-5), Wilcox Academy (8-5).

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