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Baseball, softball in full swing

You’ve probably been able to just look outside this week—from warm and sunny Monday to rainy Tuesday—and tell that baseball and softball seasons are in full swing.

If not, two developments later this week will fill you in.

First, the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s first baseball and softball polls will be released.

Maplesville looks like a lock for the softball poll, but I have been fooled before. The Red Devils made the state tournament last season and have seven of their nine starters—including primary pitcher Courtney Killingsworth—back from that team.

Maplesville has started the season the way people will expect them to play all year. The Devils already have wins over Billingsley, Class 2A Thorsby, Class 4A Calera and Class 5A McAdory. Their only loss was to Class 3A Montevallo by one run.

I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see Maplesville in the top 5.

The same can’t be said for any other county baseball or softball team. There are still many games left in the season, though, and rankings don’t matter as much as area tournaments and the rest of the postseason.

Another thing that matters is bragging rights, and that is what will be on the line this weekend during the county baseball tournament.

This event has looked different the past two years. There was a time when the tournament was a weeklong, double elimination format and was always played at Clanton’s Jack Hayes Field no matter whose turn it was to host the tournament.

Jemison last year became the first school other than Chilton County High School to host the tournament on its campus, and play was shortened to a single elimination format over two days.

There are advantages to both approaches. That being said, the tournament should include Chilton County High, which won’t be participating for the second consecutive season after previously winning four straight county championships.

But the tournament will still be entertaining. If you’re not into the baseball or softball spirit, come out to Maplesville on Friday and Saturday for five games.

You’ll either be ready for more or ready for spring football practice.