6 local teams headed to Troy for regionalsBy Stephen Dawkins Published 5:18pm Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Softball teams in Chilton County are rivals during the season but can usually pull for each other in the playoffs.
They will find pulling for each other is convenient Friday and Saturday as all six softball teams still alive in the postseason will play in the South-Central Regional at the Troy Sports Complex.
The winner and runner-up of each double-elimination regional will advance to the Final 48 State Tournament on May 17-19 at Lagoon Park in Montgomery.
All local teams will begin play on Friday, and those that survive the first day will play more games on Saturday.
Billingsley will play Central-Hayneville at 8 a.m. Friday in the 2A tournament, and Maplesville will play Fayetteville at the same time in the 1A tournament.
Chilton County will play Hueytown at 8 a.m.
The Tigers were one game away from qualifying for the state tournament two years, with largely the same squad that took the field last season and this season.
CCHS coach Krisi Parrish said her players, many of whom are now seniors, want to finish their careers by finally making state.
The Tigers could also find motivation in two area tournament losses to Brookwood, a team they defeated twice in the regular season.
“We didn’t play our best. We didn’t hit the ball well,” Parrish said. “If we hit, we can play with anybody. It was a hard loss for us, but sometimes losing will make you better. I hope we can take an attitude down there of, ‘We’re going to win no matter what.’
“We want it really badly—just how we do on that day will determine it.”
Jemison also finished second in its area, but unlike CCHS, the Panthers head into their regional with momentum because this year will mark their first appearance since 2009.
JHS coach Leighsa Robinson said she thinks her team is poised to have success in the tournament.
“If you look at our starting lineup, we’ve got two seniors and two juniors, so half of our starting lineup should be on the B-team. They’re ninth and 10th graders,” Robinson said. “I think we’ve got more speed than we have since I’ve been coaching. And they’ve sacrificed a lot. We’re 24-22, so we’ve played 46 games. They have sacrificed a lot of weekends that they could have been doing other things that we played ball. I think I’ve prepared us to play this weekend, to play two or three or four games a day. I think that says a lot for a bunch of young ladies that want to get out there and play.”
Robinson said Jemison’s practices this week will focus on improving areas that have been weaknesses.
“We’ve had moments where we played great defense, and then we’ve had moments where we couldn’t buy an out,” she said.
The Panthers play Oak Grove at 8 a.m. Friday.
Thorsby made the regional round of the playoffs last season but lost its first two games. Almost every Rebel on the roster was a part of last year’s team, and coach Rachel Argent said her players want to perform better this time around.
“They don’t show a lot of emotion, but I think they’re looking forward to it,” Argent said. “I think they would like to go down there and win.”
In order to win some games in the tournament and possibly advance, Argent said the team needs to play its best softball of the season.
“I’m never really satisfied, so I think we need to get better,” she said. “We need to hit better, and defensively we need to come together. Every single game we have a few plays that really kill us.”
The Rebels play Goshen at 3:30.
Verbena’s team also must improve—but for a different reason.
Several Red Devils are playing new positions after their primary pitcher left the team.
So, Hope Driver and Victoria Fletcher have been pressed into pitching duty.
When Fletcher, normally a catcher, is in the circle, Lacey Short has moved from second base to catcher. Further complicating matters, Short also plays left field in place of Driver when she is on the mound.
“We’ve played musical chairs,” coach Nicole Ivey said. “We’re adapting to the changes we’ve had to make.”
The Devils play Wadley at 3:30 p.m.