E.A. Sports Today

No. 1 no brainer

State No. 1 Oxford top seed in county softball tourney; Alexandria No. 2 with key new player

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OHATCHEE — When you’re the No. 1 team in the state you’d better be the No. 1 seed in your county tournament.

The Calhoun County softball coaches played the role of Captain Obvious Sunday and installed Oxford as the top seed for the Calhoun County Softball Tournament April 11-14 at Choccolocco Park.

The Lady Jackets (27-4-1) the state’s top-ranked team in Class 6A and has every chance to remain there when they play the winner between area rivals Weaver and Wellborn in their tournament opener 6 p.m. April 11.

They’ve gone into the tournament seeded No. 1 before but never carried the mantle of the state’s No. 1 as well.

“Rankings mean different things to different people,” Oxford coach Wendy McKibbin said. “So you could be ranked or not ranked, but it’s how you perform at the end of the season in your area, regional and state playoffs. It’s s nice honor to have but at the end of the day you still have to go out and play.”

Defending champion Alexandria (20-6-2), the only other 20-win team to date in the county, is seeded No. 2. Third-seeded Pleasant Valley (14-8-1) and No. 4 White Plains (17-5) have drawn the other first-round byes.

“Oxford is the clear-cut No. 1,” Alexandria coach Brian Hess said. “You can take us, Pleasant Valley, White Plains and toss them up and go 2-3-4 whatever (order). It went as good as possible for us, but again you toss those three teams up it’s much the same. There are a lot of quality teams in the county.”

The Lady Cubs are expected to be a different team come tournament time than they were in the seeding meeting. They recently enrolled transfer pitcher Maggie Phillips from Ohatchee and she becomes eligible to play Wednesday.

Phillips did not play for the Lady Indians this season. Her first game with Alexandria is expected to be the Lady Cubs’ tournament opener Friday against host Bob Jones.

Her arrival is “a good addition” and quite fortuitous with pitcher Leighton Sparks coming out of the rotation due to injury. Sparks will still play, just not pitch, and Phillips’ arrival is will enhance the rotation that is now seeing the emergence of Emmah Rolfe.

The remaining seeds (in order) are Piedmont, Saks, Ohatchee, Weaver, Wellborn, Jacksonville, Faith Christian and JCA.

The finals are set for the Park’s Signature Field at 7 p.m. April 14.

“I think the kids will enjoy going to the bigger park; it’s just something different,” Hess said. “Now with the opportunity to get the championship series in the Signature Field that’s something big, too, for the kids. All teams are going to be wanting to fight for that.”

All games at Choccolocco Park
Winners bracket
April 11, 4:30 p.m.

Game 1 — No. 8 Weaver (9-6) vs. No. 9 Wellborn (6-8), Field 2
Game 2 – No. 5 Piedmont (15-8-1) vs. No. 12 JCA (2-4), Field 1
Game 3 – No. 6 Saks (7-12) vs. No. 11 Faith Christian (2-6), Field 3
Game 4 – No. 7 Ohatchee (12-12) vs. No. 18 Jacksonville (1-8), Field 4
April 11, 6 p.m.
Game 5 – No. 1 Oxford (27-4-1) vs. Weaver-Wellborn winner, Field 1
Game 6 – No. 4 White Plains (17-5) vs. Piedmont-JCA winner, Field 2
Game 7 – No. 3 Pleasant Valley (14-8-1) vs. Saks-Faith winner, Field 3
Game 8 – No. 2 Alexandria (20-6-2) vs. Ohatchee-Jacksonville winner, Field 4
April 13, 6 p.m.
Game 13 – Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, Field 2
Game 14 – Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, Field 4
April 13, 7:30 p.m.
Game 19 – Game 13 winner vs. Game 14 winner, Field 1
April 14, 7:30 p.m.
Game 22 — Championship game, Signature Field
(Game 23, if necessary, 9 p.m., Signature Field)

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