MHS challenges higher classes, starts strong

Published 4:20 pm Thursday, March 1, 2018

It has been quite the start to the 2018 season for the Maplesville softball team.

The Red Devils have gone through a gauntlet of games to open the campaign, having played four games and are 3-1.

Maplesville has wins over Robert E. Lee-Montgomery 9-3, Chilton County 5-3 and Montevallo 6-4. That is a 7A school, 6A school and 4A school respectively.

The lone blemish on the schedule so far is a 12-0 loss to Class 5A Jemison.

Playing the first four games against four different classes is nothing new to Maplesville, which took a similar path to start last year.

Maplesville head coach Clark Watley likes challenging his team, especially early in the season, because it helps them figure out their roles and who they are as players.

The Red Devils are blessed with both talent and youth up and down the lineup.

According to Watley, the large group of freshmen from last year is now sophomores this year and has become even more comfortable in their situations.

“They learned how to compete last year,” Watley said.

Five sophomores play in the starting lineup along with a seventh grader and a eighth grader, who has become a regular at the shortstop position.

One statement that Maplesville has made here in the early going is that they do not shy away from playing against higher classifications.

“They don’t see a class, they see nine players on the field,” Watley said. “They go out there and focus on doing the little things right to win games.”

According to Watley, one of the major advantages to scheduling higher classes is the prominent pitching that you get to face that you may not see on a consistent basis at the 1A level.

Watley is in his second year as head coach of the Red Devils and feels that he is ahead of schedule following a very successful year that included winning the area tournament.

“The confidence is high, and they have a belief that they will win,” Watley said.