Local baseball futures look bright

Published 10:49 pm Friday, April 16, 2010

Local baseball teams experienced a variety of results Friday in their first-round playoff series.

We saw runaway winners (Thorsby swept its series with Woodland), tough-luck losers (Maplesville struggled offensively in being swept at Sweet Water) and in-between (Isabella split a doubleheader with Reeltown and will play Game 3 on Saturday).

But these three teams—and, actually, others in the county—have one thing in common: they all have bright futures ahead of them.

Isabella made noticeable strides in its first season under coach Clay Shearer. Shearer demanded much from the Mustangs with a heavy schedule meant to give the players as many opportunities as possible to improve through actual game experience. Late in the season, the team was worn down.

But Shearer mixed in some rest when needed, and his team is reaping the benefits.

Shearer is a knowledgeable coach who will get the most out of the Isabella program in the years to come, no matter the outcome of Saturday’s game.

Maplesville, meanwhile, should be a force to be reckoned with next season. The Red Devils have no seniors on the roster but do have many juniors.

Those juniors will be seniors next year, and look for them to perform well knowing it’s their last chance.

At this point, you know Thorsby is just going to reload no matter how players it loses to graduation.

Coach Ab Argent has his program rolling along. The Rebels are becoming a top-10 and playoff fixture, and it will be exciting to see how far they can go this season.

Chilton County coach Josey Shannon is building his program from the ground up. Clanton has been home to impressive youth league talent for many years now.

If Shannon can help those youth players translate their success to the high school levels, Chilton County could become an elite Class 5A program.

As for teams that didn’t make the playoffs, both Jemison and Verbena have much to look forward to.

Jemison won this season’s county tournament, and much of that squad will be back next year.

Verbena featured only one senior this season. The young Red Devils showed they could beat anyone, and those hitters will only get better with time.

If Verbena can find some more pitching, it could as good of a team as any in our area in the coming year.

The way local baseball is looking, that’s saying something.