• 73°

Littleton knows potential of Maplesville baseball

Derrick Littleton has seen Maplesville baseball at its best.

As the program’s new coach, Littleton will try to bring back those glory days.

First things first.

“I’m just looking for improvement off last year,” Littleton said about a team that won only a handful of games in 2009. “We’re trying to get more interest in baseball. The last couple of years, it seems like there just hasn’t been as many players come through here.”

But Littleton, who in 1996 during his senior year at Thorsby saw the Red Devils win their first of two state championships, said many could-be baseball players roam Maplesville’s halls.

Part of the shortage of interest in the program could be attributed to a lack of continuity. Littleton is the fourth coach in as many years.

“What I try to stress to them is, no matter who [the coach] is, it’s your program,” Littleton said. “You need to take ownership and be the best you can be.”

After playing at Thorsby, Littleton volunteered with the baseball program there from 2004 until 2008. He was a practicing chiropractor last year.

Littleton takes over for Steven Hunter, who was an assistant principal in his one season as coach. Hunter now holds the same position at Leeds Middle School.

Hunter’s son, Tanner, is also gone, but Maplesville lost only one other player from last year’s team: outfielder Jacob Little.

And there will be no seniors on this year’s squad, giving Littleton a chance to mold a group he said is eager to work and improve.

“We don’t have any seniors, but we have guys who have already had to step up in leadership roles,” Littleton said. “They take pride in what they do; they have initiative. You only have to tell them something once.”