Local baseball futures look bright

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, May 30, 2009

Two thousand nine was an interesting year, to say the least, in local high school baseball.

Three teams—Billingsley, Chilton County and Maplesville—played for new coaches—Todd Reece, Josey Shannon and Steven Hunter, respectively.

If someone said that no local team made it past the first round of the baseball playoffs, someone else might think these new coaches would be regretting taking the jobs. No team, in fact, did make it to the second playoff round—and Maplesville was the only squad that could muster a win in the best-of-three series—but that doesn’t mean the season was entirely unsuccessful. That was especially not the case for those first-year coaches—just check the all-Advertiser team on the next page of this section.

Hunter, Reece and Shannon had a combined 10 players on either our first team or second team, and only four of those players are seniors. So, despite some lumps this season, the future looks very bright.

And the seasons weren’t all bad. Shannon guided his Tigers to their first playoff appearance since 2003 and earned the Advertiser’s Coach of the Year honors in the process (see his story and that of ace pitcher Ben Handley on this page).

Local teams with established coaches also have much to look forward to. Isabella, Jemison, Thorsby and Verbena also placed several underclassmen on one of the all-area teams.

This season might not be memorable for wins and deep playoff runs, but it will serve as a foundation for county baseball for years to come.