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2 softball teams with much in common

Last year, Maplesville’s softball team was a young group that might have surprised even itself by making it all the way to the state tournament.

This season, the Red Devils are a veteran bunch, loaded with seniors that know exactly what they are capable of.

Next year, expect Chilton County’s team to follow much the same script.

No, the Tigers didn’t earn a state tournament berth, finishing third in last week’s Class 5A South Central Regional. CCHS lost to Chelsea, 7-5, in a game that, had the outcome been different, might have seen the local team punching its ticket to state.

Chilton lost to the same Chelsea team, 3-0, earlier in the tournament. Instead of frowning over missed opportunities in two close games, CCHS coach Krisi Parrish said she was proud of the way her team performed.

The Tigers, you see, had never played Chelsea so close since Parrish took the job. Last year, with a shadow of its actual roster on the field because of the regional date conflicted with the school prom, CCHS went two-and-out in the regional.

The 2010 regional wasn’t played without obstacles, either. Upon arriving in Troy the evening of May 6 (because the Tigers were scheduled to play at 8 a.m. on May 7), coaches and players were shocked to discover the hotel they thought they were staying at hadn’t saved them rooms.

So, the team played two days’ worth of softball after resting on air mattresses and pool floats set up in a Troy church.

Expect the Tigers to be back, and under a different set of circumstances. For starters, you can bet someone will be double- and triple-checking those hotel reservations beforehand.

More importantly, CCHS will go into the 2011 season with a goal of making the state tournament and knowing it is good enough.

The 2009 Maplesville squad featured only one senior starter, meaning the ‘10 version is plenty experienced. This year’s Chilton County team? You guessed it: one senior starter, center fielder Macee Thomas.

CCHS will be pulling for Maplesville to win its state tournament this week because the Tigers know they’ll have a chance to do the same thing next year.