Trip to state can only help Devils

Published 1:13 pm Saturday, May 16, 2009

At the time this is being written, the Maplesville softball team’s fate is unclear. The Red Devils are in the middle of an elimination game. If they lose, their season will be over. And the Devils are the last local high school sports team still playing, so, really, the year will be over.

If Maplesville wins Friday evening, they’ll play again Saturday at Lagoon Park in Montgomery with the team’s state championship dreams still alive.

Either way, though, I’m thankful to the team for finally giving me an opportunity to cover a state-level sporting event outside the county. I didn’t get to stay long to soak up the atmosphere, so maybe I’ll have a return trip Saturday.

But the tournament, and our coverage of it, is really all about the players. They are the ones who put in the work necessary to reach this point, and they deserve the recognition that comes with qualifying for a state tournament.

The experience will benefit the Devils beyond this season. Only one senior, third baseman Bridget Nichols, is on the roster, so Maplesville has a good chance to make it back to the state tournament next year.

If that happens, you can bet the team will know it belongs and have a better idea of the kind of competition to expect.

And 2009 was kind of an unexpected season for the Devils. After a hot start that saw them climb into the state’s top 10, Maplesville struggled through the middle portion of the schedule—not just with subpar play but with an injury to the team’s ace pitcher and No. 3 hitter, Courtney Killingsworth.

But it’s a credit to the players and the coaches that were able to emerge from the funk and make it as far as they did.

Next year, they might make it even further.