E.A. Sports Today

Oxford top seed

Yellow Jackets installed as No. 1 seed in Calhoun County Baseball Tournament, Alexandria second

1. Oxford, 2. Alexandria, 3. Piedmont, 4. Jacksonville, 5. Pleasant Valley, 6. White Plains, 7. Ohatchee, 8. Weaver, 9. Saks, 10. JCA, 11. Donoho, 12. Wellborn, 13. Anniston.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – The balance of power in Calhoun County baseball is pretty well defined by tradition. The same four teams usually are the ones that occupy the top four seeds in some order when the county tournament seedings get drawn.

It takes some special doing to break into that bloc. White Plains and Ohatchee did it last year, but in each of the last two even-numbered years – three now – the top four seeds were held by the Big Four.

Pleasant Valley was in a position to break the mold after starting the season 5-0, but the Raiders lost that chance when they lost twice Saturday, most important to Jacksonville 11-1.

Wes Brooks’ Oxford baseball team is the No. 1 seed in the Calhoun County Tournament for the fourth year in a row. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

As a result, it was easy to slide traditional strongmen Oxford, Alexandria, Piedmont and Jacksonville – in that order – into the top four seeds Sunday when the bracket was drawn

for this year’s Calhoun County Tournament that starts Friday at Choccolocco Park.

“We didn’t take care of business yesterday, which could have put us in the fourth seed,” PV coach Chris Youngman said. “I told our coaches even though we lost yesterday I figured we’d be 4 or 5 seed with an opportunity to be the 5 to play the 4, but we just didn’t get the job done yesterday.

“I told the guys before the game you’re potential playing for a top 2-3 seed if you win both (they later lost to Westbrook Christian 10-0). I think sometimes we’re still trying to adapt to pressure situations and get our minds right, but nevertheless we put ourselves in a situation where we felt like we were a top 5 seed even coming out of yesterday the way we did.

“If we took care of business and beaten Jacksonville there would have no argument because it came down to head-to-head. Sometimes you’d rather get the humble pie served early than late, so maybe this is a wakeup call and we can refocus this week and get back on track.””

The Raiders (5-2), the second winningest team in the county this season (behind 6-3 Oxford) and tied with Jacksonville with the most in-county wins, do head an equally intriguing second-tier bloc ahead of White Plains (3-3) and Ohatchee (2-2). They have beaten both White Plains and Ohatchee, but Ohatchee beat White Plains Saturday. They have been as high as a 5-seed as recently as 2014.

Weaver (2-2) and Saks (3-3) were 8 and 9, respectively, the difference in home honors for their opening-round game determined by Weaver’s 5-4 win over the Wildcats Saturday. The remaining seeds are JCA (2-1), Donoho (1-2), Wellborn (0-5) and Anniston (1-6). There are only 13 teams in this year’s field because Faith Christian has chosen not to participate. Sacred Heart does not field a team.

Oxford was the No. 1 seed without much debate. “Write it down,” one of the coaches said when nominations to challenge the Yellow Jackets for the top spot were opened. Alexandria (2-3) edged Piedmont (3-3) by one in a second round of voting for No. 2.

The Yellow Jackets have been the No. 1 seed now each of the last four years; they were No. 2 in 2014. Alexandria, Piedmont and Jacksonville have all been in the top four each of the last five years.

“I thought the wins (Pleasant Valley) had they would be in here, but I think yesterday kind of caught them,” Alexandria coach Andy Shaw said. “But I think we’re all about the same; we all have good days and bad days.

“Oxford is right now above us and it’s going to take a good outing to beat them, but I think we’re all about the same.”

The games start Friday at 4:30. The finals are scheduled for Tuesday 6 p.m. on the Park’s Signature Field.

Friday’s Games
No. 13 Anniston (1-6, 0-1) vs. No. 12 Wellborn (0-5, 0-1), 4:30 (Sig)
No. 6 White Plains (3-3, 0-2) vs. No. 11 Donoho (1-2, 0-0), 4:30 (BB1)
No. 7 Ohatchee (2-2, 1-2) vs No. 10 JCA (2-1, 1-1), 4:30 (BB2)
No. 8 Weaver (2-2, 1-0) vs. No. 9 Saks (3-3, 1-1), 7:00 (BB2)
No. 5 Pleasant Valley (5-2, 2-1) vs. Anniston-Wellborn winner, 7:00 (Sig)
Saturday’s Games
No. 4 Jacksonville (3-4, 2-2) vs. PV/Anniston/Wellborn, 12:30 (BB2)
No. 3 Piedmont (3-3, 1-0) vs. WP-Donoho winner, 12:30 (BB1)
No. 2 Alexandria (2-3, 1-0) vs. Ohatchee-JCA winner, 3:00 (Sig)
No. 1 Oxford (6-3, 1-0) vs. Weaver-Saks winner, 5:30 (Sig)
Monday’s Games
Semifinals, 4:30 & 7:00 (Sig)
Tuesday’s Game
Championship, 6:00 (Sig)

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