E.A. Sports Today

Oxford top baseball seed

Defending champs installed as County Tournament top seed, debate on others

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OHATCHEE — Normally, the seeding meeting for the Calhoun County Baseball Tournament is like a quick trip to the mound. It generally takes longer for the coaches to get to the thing than the meeting itself.

A lot of times the first four or five seeds are a given based on the reputations of their programs and the other teams are pretty much slotted behind. This year’s seeding portion of the meeting went a little longer than usual — about 10 minutes — because, like the basketball meeting two months earlier, there was actually some debate among the top teams.

There was no debate for No. 1. Defending champion Oxford (6-4) was the consensus even before the coaches started talking about records, head-to-head meetings and all the other things that got into the mix. And Jacksonville (5-1) pulled down the No. 2 with only the minimal of discussion.

It was the next three spots among White Plains (4-2, 3-1 within the county), Ohatchee (4-3) and Alexandria (3-4) where it got interesting.

They had all beaten each other in some combination during this early stage of the season, but when it came right down to dissecting the landscape White Plains earned the nod at 3 in a show of hands, run twice for clarity. With that issue settled, Ohatchee got its highest seed — No. 4 — largely on its victory over Alexandria, and the Valley Cubs fell into the 5.

“After you get past Oxford there’s really six or seven teams in there that there’s not really a lot of difference,” Jacksonville coach David Deerman said. “Anybody can beat anybody right there. We could’ve just as easily have been a higher seed than we were a 2 seed.

“Oxford obviously deserved the 1 seed and anybody else could’ve been the 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, I think.”

After that, it fell back pretty much according to reputation with the remaining public schools, followed by the three Class 1A private schools and Anniston.

Alexandria coach Andy Shaw said he couldn’t argue about the way it fell.

“There are a bunch of teams that are even in the county,” he said. “It could’ve gone either way.”

“I thought it was laid out the way it’s supposed to in the end,” Ohatchee’s Blake Jennings said.

The other seeds were Piedmont (1-4), Saks (4-3), Pleasant Valley (1-5, and some peoples’ sleeper), Wellborn (2-3), Weaver (0-3), JCA (3-1), Donoho (0-3), Faith Christian (0-4) and Anniston (0-5).

Oxford earned top seeding for the third year in a row despite not playing anyone in the county yet. The Yellow Jackets have played some of the top teams in the state and go deep in the lineup and on the mound.

“It seems like when I played at Wellborn in the 90s everybody had that one guy on the mound that whenever that guy’s throwing they’ve got a chance, and then some of your 4A, 5A, 6A schools had a couple of those guys,” Oxford coach Wes Brooks said. “It sounds like to me this year everybody has got a guy on the mound who is going to give them a chance to win, 1 through 8 seed.

“Obviously, Oxford being the biggest school and us winning last year (puts it as the clear No. 1), but it’s really hard to say. Everybody just sees who we’re playing, but they probably haven’t seen us play. But based on how we finished last year and winning it last year … I don’t think it would be a bad idea that whoever finished first and runner-up gets an automatic 1 and 2 seed the next year … especially now with the schedule (and a defined maximum number of games).”

The tournament starts Friday at Choccolocco Park and concludes the following Tuesday with a championship and consolation game. Because Jacksonville State has a game with Samford scheduled for the Park at 3 p.m. March 14, the consolation game will be moved to an adjacent field.

(Top 5)

2017: Oxford, Jacksonville, White Plains, Ohatchee, Alexandria
2016: Oxford, Alexandria, Piedmont, Jacksonville, Ohatchee
2015: Oxford, Piedmont, Alexandria, White Plains, Jacksonville
2014: Alexandria, Oxford, Jacksonville, Piedmont, Pleasant Valley

(Records overall, in-county)
Friday’s Games
No. 8 Pleasant Valley (1-5, 1-2) vs. No. 9 Wellborn (2-3, 0-0), 4:30 p.m. (BB1)
No. 4 Ohatchee (4-3, 2-1) vs. No. 13 Faith Christian (0-4, 0-0), 4:30 p.m. (Signature)
No. 6 Piedmont (1-4, 0-2) vs. No. 11 Jacksonville Christian (3-1, 1-1), 4:30 p.m. (BB2)
No. 5 Alexandria (3-4, 1-1) vs. No. 12 Donoho (0-3, 0-0), 7 p.m. (BB1)
No. 3 White Plains (4-2, 3-1) vs. No. 14 Anniston (0-5, NA), 7 p.m. (Signature)
No. 7 Saks (4-3, 2-1) vs. No. 10 Weaver (0-3, 0-1), 7 p.m. (BB2)
Saturday’s Games
(All games at Signature Field)
Ohatchee-Faith winner vs. Alexandria-Donoho winner, 10 a.m.
Piedmont-JCA winner vs. White Plains-Anniston winner, 12:30 p.m.
No. 2 Jacksonville (5-1, 2-1) vs. Saks-Weaver winner, 3 p.m.
No. 1 Oxford (6-4, 0-0) vs. Pleasant Valley-Wellborn winner, 5:30 p.m.
March 13
(All games at Signature Field)
Semifinal No. 1, 4:30 p.m.
Semifinal No. 2, 7 p.m.
March 14
Consolation game, 4:30 p.m. (pod field)
Championship game, 7 p.m. (Signature)

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