Clanton 9U baseball wins state

Published 3:12 pm Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The future of baseball in Clanton was on full display as the Clanton 9U baseball team won the Dizzy Dean state championship on July 4.

The state tournament took place in Madison with Clanton slicing through the 15-team bracket and defeating Addison in the title game.

Clanton was coached by Harmon Coppedge and qualified for the state tournament after winning the regional competition, which was held in Chelsea.

According to Coppedge, the most important things focused on in practice at that age group is learning how to pitch, as well as hitting off live pitching.

This proved to be one of the keys to Clanton’s success not only in the tournament, but also throughout the season.

“We had better overall pitching,” Coppedge said.

Eight different pitchers were called upon to pitch for Clanton during the state tournament.

For two of the eight pitchers, the state tournament was the first time that they faced live game action. Their only prior experience was in practice.

Dakyan Wright and Kaden Coggins were the final pitchers that Coppedge used, but they came in at the most crucial moments in the semifinal and championship game.

It was also the first time that Coppedge had to coach under the new pitch rules, which required a certain amount of rest time based on the amount of pitches that a player throws.

“You have to always plan ahead in the game,” Coppedge said.

Twelve players made up the team comprised mainly by 9 year olds with some that turned 10 during the season. Coppedge was assisted by three other coaches, plus a designated pitch counter.

Clanton’s path to the title included defeating Madison City, Madison County North, P.A.T., Albertville and Addison.

The state title for the Clanton 9U squad puts an exclamation point on a successful year for Clanton Youth Baseball as a whole.

According to Traci Terrell, Clanton Youth Baseball president, each age group within the baseball program advanced to state this year, which is a huge achievement for the park.