SPORTS COLUMN: 2011 special season; 2012 could be even better

Published 7:50 pm Friday, June 3, 2011

Many local baseball teams will remember this past season for a while.

It was a special year for Chilton County baseball teams. Just consider these accomplishments:

•Chilton County earned a berth in the third round of the state playoffs despite a roster short on numbers and long on inexperience.

The Tigers will have to replace just a handful of seniors, though that list includes ace pitcher Chance Calloway and top batter Adam Minor.

But the experience and confidence gained during this season’s run—CCHS was the only team to hand eventual state champion Spanish Fort a loss in the playoffs—will benefit the program for years to come and set the team up for even more success in 2012.

•Jemison earned a playoff berth for the first time since 2006 by narrowly defeating Dallas County in its last region game of the season.

The Panthers have more production to replace than rival CCHS, but returning corner infielder/pitcher Alex Campbell and shortstop Cruz Martinez are more than capable of leading the effort in 2012.

•Verbena made an appearance in the postseason for the first time since 2001—and was even successful in that round and moved on to the second round.

The VHS Red Devils were then knocked out by the county’s other set of Red Devils, from Maplesville.

MHS will have some holes to fill next season, but Verbena should be right back knocking on the door of history.

Isabella should also be improved, with one of the county’s best hitters in Sawyer Cahalane, who can play catcher, first base or third base.

•The county’s best success story was Thorsby, which made the semifinal round of the state playoffs for the first time in school history.

The Rebels had been to the quarterfinal round under coach Ab Argent but had never taken the next step.

They took that step in 2011 and have their sights set even higher in 2012 with a talented core of players returning in catcher Matt Morgan, first baseman Jason Price, shortstop Parker Bryan, leftfielder Stuart Scott, centerfielder/pitcher Stephen Mims and rightfielder Jace Maddox.

Price, by the way, represents THS as The Clanton Advertiser’s Player of the Year (see story above), and Argent was named Coach of the Year.

It speaks to the skill Argent had to work with that Morgan or ace pitcher Cody Carroll also had a case for top player honors. Carroll earned the distinction last season.

It was, without a doubt, an exciting season, and 2012 promises more of the same.

–Dawkins is the assistant managing editor for The Clanton Advertiser.