Devils focus on fundamentals for third round playoff series

Published 7:01 pm Thursday, May 3, 2012

A three-game baseball series inevitably features exciting moments: home runs, strikeouts, a runner sliding safely into home plate.

But Maplesville coach Brandon Shanks said the mundane, rather than the rousing, will determine his team’s showdown with Fayetteville in the third round of the Class 2A state playoffs.

“It’s going to come down to fundamentals,” Shanks said. “Our bats have got to stay hot. We hit well in the last series. And we’ve got to relax and make routine plays on defense.

“When you get to this point, the team that is more sound in both of those areas is going to be the one that moves on.”

The Red Devils (15-13) made it to the quarterfinals last season but were knocked out by St. Luke’s.

Instead of feeling pressure to advance further this time around, Shanks said a young group of Devils is just excited to have another opportunity.

“They’re fired up,” he said. “One of the goals that was set was to be right back in that same position with a chance to keep going.”

They’re are only two seniors in the regular lineup, Jared White and Aron Smitherman, the team’s No. 1 starting pitcher. The rest are mostly sophomores: Zach Bush, Brett Walker, Brandon Abbott, Colby Chambers, Damian Mitchell and Trent Smitherman.

There’s also a junior, Fuqua Seals, and an eighth grader, Trevor Wallace.

White and Aron Smitherman will try make their final season memorable while also providing the leadership the younger players need to become a playoff fixture.

They will try to do so against a Fayetteville (21-16) team that played in the state championship game last season.

Game times are 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday at Maplesville. Game 3 would be played, if necessary, at noon on Saturday.