Maplesville secures area title early

Published 3:18 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Maplesville was the first baseball team in the county to clinch an area title in 2018 after finishing undefeated in Area 5-1A.

“We feel pretty good about where we’re at, but we also have smart kids,” Maplesville head coach Clay Entrekin said. “They understand that it’s just the first step on the ladder.”

The Red Devils swept area play with a record of 6-0 against Isabella, Ellwood Christian and Autaugaville.

Everything was clicking for Maplesville during that stretch of games, and the result was often times a one-sided situation in favor of the Red Devils.

Maplesville scored 104 runs over the six-game span and outscored its opponents by an average of 17.3 runs per game.

“We really spread out the hits throughout the lineup,” Maplesville freshman Jackson Abbott said. “If you score runs, you can beat any team.”

The pitching staff also got the job done by only allowing more than three runs once in area play.

“They’ve bought into what we’re doing and the approaches to defense, pitching and hitting that we brought in,” Entrekin said.

Winning the area title in Entrekin’s first year as head coach may seem ahead of schedule for those outside the program, but for the Red Devils the results line up with the goals that were created to start the year.

The Maplesville Red Devils will host the first round of the playoffs after finishing undefeated in Area 5-1A during the regular season. (Contributed photo)

“It took some time to learn each other, but we’ve really molded around him [Entrekin],” Maplesville senior Noah Chambers said. “Them [coaches] believing really motivates us.”

Most teams did not begin area play until April, but in Maplesville’s case they had wrapped up their slate of games before spring break.

“We had an opportunity to get it out of the way, and I’m always for that,” Entrekin said. “It takes a little bit of the pressure off and makes the rest of the season a little more enjoyable when you can get your area stuff out of the way.”

According to Entrekin, winning both games of a home-and-home series against Shelby County on March 10 and 17 was the turning point in the season.

During that series he saw Maplesville come together as a team and showed the potential that he always knew they were capable of.

Since mid-March, the Red Devils have been playing a confident brand of baseball in all aspects of the game.

“We have mixed and matched through the season, and everybody has stepped up to play an important role,” Entrekin said. “It has made this season challenging but fun. As a coach, I can’t ask for anything more.”

Maplesville will host the first round of the postseason. It’s opponent has yet to be determined.