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Jemison to host county softball tourney

The Chilton County Softball Tournament at Jemison High School will begin this week with pool play taking place Thursday and Friday, while a single-elimination bracket will cap off the event on Saturday.

The tournament site rotates with a different school hosting each year. Jemison is responsible for the host duties in 2016.

According to Jemison head coach Nathan Hayes, the excitement can be felt not only among the players on the team, but the school’s students as well.

“This is our biggest fundraiser,” Hayes said. “We’ve been waiting on this for the past couple of years. Hopefully we can take that money to help our program and the rest of the county.”

The tournament is one of the few spring sports to host such an event, since the demise of the county baseball tournament in the past.

It offers a showcase of the county’s talent and is a symbol of the pride that exists at the foundation of high school athletics.

“It’s good that all of us coaches can work it out and allocate a couple of days,” Hayes said.

Chilton County High School is the defending champions and will look to maintain its success under first-year head coach Ryan Poe.

“We like to take advantage of it anytime that we have a chance to play against some good teams,” Poe said.

The uniqueness of playing multiple games in three consecutive days is something that each team will be faced with throughout the county tournament.

“We’re resting our No. 1 [pitcher] for the county tournament,” Poe said. “I started thinking about the tournament last weekend. It’s a grind, and hopefully we’ve got them in good enough shape.”

According to Hayes, weather had been a possible concern with early projections of rain scheduled for Thursday and Saturday.

However, the forecast has since improved with currently a minimal chance of rain all three days.

“The goal of having it over three days was so that everybody [each team] can have a chance to be seen,” Hayes said. “Hopefully the weather cooperates with us.”

Pool play will consist of three games scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

Thursday’s matchups include Thorsby and Isabella at 4 p.m., Jemison and Maplesville at 5:30 p.m. and Thorsby and Verbena at 7 p.m.

Friday’s matchups are Jemison and Chilton County at 4 p.m., Isabella and Verbena at 5:30 p.m. and Maplesville and Chilton County at 7 p.m.

The winners of each pool will advance to semifinals on Saturday, at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., while the second- and third- place teams will play at 9 a.m. and noon in the quarterfinals.

The championship will be played at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets for each day are $6 and are good for an entire day’s action.