E.A. Sports Today

Closing the books

County principals rule all teams except basketball can play during county tournaments, award baseball teams from Donoho, JCA, White Plains their tournament share
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
The Calhoun County high school principals wrapped up the 2018-19 athletics year Tuesday, closing the books on the county tournaments, handing the keys to next year’s host and clarifying a policy regarding outside play during the county tournament.
The principals voted to allow teams to play during the county tournament in every sport except basketball and reaffirmed schools must play in the tournament if they field a team. It’s highly unlikely a school would voluntarily skip a county tournament, which are among the most anticipated events of the season for fans and players alike.
The outside play ruling came in response to Donoho, Jacksonville Christian and White Plains playing games the day of the county baseball tournament championship game after being eliminated from the tournament over the weekend.
“We decided to only restrict outside tournament play to basketball,” Piedmont principal Dr. Adam Clemons said. “All other sports may play during the county tournament. They must play in a tournament if they field a team or be fined.”
Baseball and basketball – typically the two biggest money-making tournaments in the series – had been restricted from playing while their tournaments were ongoing, but this year bad weather kept baseball teams off the field at an early stage in the season when they really needed to play. Even though the rule was on the books, baseball teams had played during the latter days of the tournament in the past.
The question of playing during the tournament was raised during the seeding meeting – a time at which Donoho had not yet played a game and the county’s other two Class 1A baseball teams had played only one. The coaches were told a change would have to be made at the principals’ level.
This year, Donoho and White Plains played each other in a game that effectively rescheduled an earlier postponement but was put together the Friday of the tournament; they even offered to fold those gate receipts into the tournament take. JCA played Spring Garden at Jacksonville State in a required area doubleheader the same day.
Playing those games subjected the three teams to losing their share of county tournament revenue, but that discussion was tabled until Tuesday’s year-end meeting. All three teams will receive their shares of $466.57, monies that would have been folded into the shares of the other 11 participating teams if those three teams were docked.
“I think it’s a good call,” White Plains coach Wes Henderson said of the decision. “I wasn’t real big on the rule anyway because teams have played every single year and it hasn’t been a problem until White Plains does it this year. I think they made the right call. Common sense took over. I’m happy with that.”
The county sponsors formal tournaments in baseball, basketball, volleyball, softball, soccer, golf, track, cross country and wrestling, in which more than half the county’s 15 schools participate. There also are county championships in swimming and tennis with a limited number of teams.
“I think any time you have good discussion about trying to change something that will benefit all schools is a good deal,” Donoho baseball coach Steve Gendron said. “Now that it’s clarified, everybody understands it and I think we’ll be better for it.”
Piedmont was the county host this past academic year. Pleasant Valley ascends to the role for 2019-20.

COACHING NEWS: Donoho and Faith Christian both will have new coaches on their sidelines this coming school year.

Faith assistant Corelle Beavers takes over the girls basketball program at Donoho. Munford assistant Jason Pahman becomes the new baseball coach at Faith.

Jeremy Satcher remains the Donoho boys basketball coach, and with his decision to step back from the girls team, Ohatchee’s Bryant Ginn becomes the only coach in Calhoun County coaching both varsity basketball teams at his school.

“It really just started when I got the boys job,” Ginn said. “I had already been the girls coach for one year, we had all the girls coming back and were going to be seniors and I just didn’t feel it was fair for the girls to go through another coaching change. Then you just get attached to each group and the rest as they say is history.

“They haven’t fired me yet, so I’m either the only one who will do it or they aren’t too disappointed in the results.”

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