Sports

Local baseball teams set for state playoffs

<p><b>By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent</b></p><p>It’s that time of year again. <br /></p><p>The Alabama High School Athletic Association’s state baseball playoffs start today (Feb. 18), with six of the 10 Etowah County teams in action.</p><p><b>Class 6A<br /></b></p><p><b>Gadsden City (16-18) at No. 8 Huntsville </b></p><p>The Titans have been on a rollercoaster ride this season.</p><p>Fortunately for their postseason hopes, the ride is headed up right now, according to</p>

By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent

It’s that time of year again. 

The Alabama High School Athletic Association’s state baseball playoffs start today (Feb. 18), with six of the 10 Etowah County teams in action.

Class 6A

Gadsden City (16-18) at No. 8 Huntsville 

The Titans have been on a rollercoaster ride this season.

Fortunately for their postseason hopes, the ride is headed up right now, according to

By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent

It’s that time of year again. 

The Alabama High School Athletic Association’s state baseball playoffs start today (Feb. 18), with six of the 10 Etowah County teams in action.

Class 6A

Gadsden City (16-18) at No. 8 Huntsville 

The Titans have been on a rollercoaster ride this season.

Fortunately for their postseason hopes, the ride is headed up right now, according to coach Todd Lamberth.

“We had a good weekend at Cullman,” he said. “Cullman is one of the best teams in the state. We lost to them 8-7 when they scored in the seventh inning. We struck out the batter for [the third] out but the catcher dropped the ball and we missed the out at first. That allowed the runner on second to score the winning run.”

Gadsden City was minus four players for that game, including the starting catcher.

Huntsville presents a challenge but it is one that Lamberth likes.

“I think that if we relax and play our game and if our pitchers throw well, we match up well with them and have a chance.”

Class 5A

Scottsboro at No. 4 Southside (30-7)

One year after being ousted in the quarterfinals, Southside is hungry for another shot at a state championship.

“Our goal every year is to win our last game,” Panthers coach Blake Bone said. “We may not talk about it every day, but it’s out there.”

Southside was in the finals two years ago, losing to Spanish Fort.

In their final tuneup before the playoffs, the Panthers eased by Sardis, 9-0, to win the Etowah County championship.

“We’re playing the best we have all year,” Bone said. “We’re hitting the ball well, we’re running the bases well, we’re pitching and we’re playing good defense.”

No. 8 Etowah (21-12) at Arab (22-12)

The Blue Devils are doing what every team wants to do – peaking at the right time.

“We’ve relied on a handful of junior and senior pitchers this year and they’re throwing it well,” coach Larry Foster said. “We play good defense and hit the ball when we need to.”

Etowah has shown stea-dy improvement throughout the season, a fact that pleases Foster.

“Any team that improves as the year goes has a good shot at doing good things,” he said.

Foster said that all of the playoff teams have a couple of things in common – a few good pitchers and some timely hitting to go with good defense.

“We’ve got to get some key hits to go with our pit-ching,” he said. “But you can say that about most of the playoff teams. Every team is in the same boat. Whichever team gets hot will have the best chance of advancing.”

Class 4A

Sardis (19-15) at Alexandria (21-10)

Lions coach Zac Gilliland feels that if his team can minimize errors, it has a chance to win.

“We’ve got to play fundamental defense to have any chance,” he said. “In area play, our losses came when we let the other team put up too many unearned runs.”

Gilliland said that the pitching and batting are where they need to be at this point of the season.

“Most days, the pitchers give us a chance to win,” he said. “And our goal is to score at least four runs a game. Most of the time, we accomplish that.

“The main thing is that we put a lot of emphasis on getting better every day. The kids have worked their tails off and put in a lot of sweat and tears.”

Class 3A

Glencoe (14-8) at Piedmont 

Yellow Jackets coach Charlie Robertson feels that if his top two pitchers – Dalton Roberts and Hunter Nunnally – are on, his team will have a shot at advancing to the second round.

“Roberts is hard to beat when he’s pitching well,” Robertson said. “And Nunnelly throws hard – he can also be hard to hit. We’re just not hitting the ball consistently.”

Robertson pointed to the county tournament semifinal, where Glencoe lost to Sardis, 4-3.

“We had nine or 10 hits but couldn’t score,” he said. “We sometimes don’t get timely hitting. But that’s part of it.”

Class 2A

North Sand Mountain at Westbrook (12-20) 

The Warriors’ record doesn’t look sterling, but that’s deceptive, as Westbrook has played a murderers’ row this season.

“I do that on purpose,” coach Matt Kennedy said. “Playing bigger teams helps us down the road, whether we beat them or not. I’m just lucky that some of them will play us.”

Until area play opens, the Warriors entertain all comers, regardless of school size or talent level.

“Some days it looks like we’ve improved and other days it doesn’t,” Kennedy said.

With three solid starting pitchers and six stable batters, the defense is often key. Kennedy said that wins are usually on days when the Warriors played well in the field and vice versa with losses.

Kennedy had to go through a few lineup changes before he found the one that worked best.

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The Gadsden City High senior signed a soccer scholarship on Wednesday (Apr. 16) with the University of West Alabama in Livingston.

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Local teams ranked in April 17 ASWA high school softball, baseball polls

BASEBALL

  CLASS 6A

1. Pelham 

2. Thompson 

3. Hoover 

4.Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa

5. Hewitt-Trussville 

6. Huntsville

7. Spain Park

8. Alma Bryant

9. Oxford

10. Northview

CLASS 5A

1. Spanish Fort

2. Cullman 

3. St. Paul’s

4. Southside 

5. Hartselle 

6. Muscle Shoals 

7. Homewood 

8. Springville

9. Rehobeth 

10. Pleasant Grove 

CLASS 4A

1. Charles Henderson

2. Childersburg 

3. Oneonta 

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Southside shuts out Sardis to win county baseball championship

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Local teams ranked in April 10 ASWA high school softball, baseball polls

BASEBALL

CLASS 6A

1. Pelham 

2. Thompson

3. Opelika

4. Hoover

5. Sparkman

6. Hewitt-Trussville

7. Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa

8. Huntsville 

9. Buckhorn

10. Spain Park 

CLASS 5A

1. Spanish Fort 

2. Cullman 

3. St. Paul’s 

4. Southside 

5. Hartselle 

6. Muscle Shoals 

7. Homewood 

8. Etowah 

9. Briarwood Christian

10. Rehobeth 

CLASS 4A

1. Charles

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Local teams ranked in April 3 ASWA high school softball, baseball polls

BASEBALL

CLASS 6A

1. Pelham 

2. Sparkman

3. Thompson

4. Opelika 

5. Hoover

6. Hewitt-Trussville 

7. Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa

8. Huntsville

9. Buckhorn

10. Spain Park

CLASS 5A

1. Spanish Fort 

2. Cullman 

3. Southside

4. St. Paul’s

5. Hartselle

6. Homewood

7. Muscle Shoals

8. Mortimer Jordan 

9. Etowah

10. Rehobeth

CLASS 4A

1. Charles Henderson

2. Oneonta

3.

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A 6’5” senior

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