E.A. Sports Today

Seeding the spring

Donoho sweeps top seeds in Calhoun County Soccer Tournament; Alexandria installed as No. 1 in Softball Tournament

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Even if they don’t hand his team a trophy when it’s over or can even call it a Calhoun County Tournament, Donoho girls soccer coach Jay Jenkins will still consider his team the county champions if they can win the championship game for the fourth time this week.

There’s a clause in the county by-laws that decrees these events can’t be called a “county championship” unless at least half the schools in the county play in it and there are only six of the county’s 14 schools in the girls soccer field – even if that’s 100 percent of the schools that field programs.

That doesn’t mean they can’t get together and play – and they will starting Tuesday at the McClellan Soccer Fields. They just can’t call it a county tournament. The Red Wilder Invitational in tennis and the swim meet face the same restriction.

“If we’re fortunate enough to win we would count it as a championship,” Jenkins said. “There’s a long way between here and there. Soccer’s better this year. The girls are decidedly better. You’ve got to show up and play every game.”

There’s no disputing the Lady Falcons’ past success. They’ve swept through each of the first three tournaments and didn’t give up a goal until the 2019 championship game – the last time the event was played. Last year’s tournament was canceled because of COVID-19, and Jenkins is still a little bitter about that.

But enough of what didn’t happen. The Lady Falcons, 3-0 within the county and 10-0-1 overall, were installed as the girls No. 1 seed Sunday without debate. 

“You always wonder when it’s going to end,” Jenkins said. “But we take a lot of pride in this. This is one of the things we put on our schedule, our bulletin board, early in the season. We work towards this. We work towards the playoffs and we work towards the county. We take great pride in what we’ve accomplished.”

With only six teams, Donoho and second-seeded Jacksonville (4-1-1) have drawn first-round byes and won’t make their tournament debuts Friday. Oxford (1-5), Faith Christian (5-3), Weaver (2-3-1) and Saks (0-3) complete the field.

Donoho’s boys (6-2-1) edged unbeaten White Plains (7-0-1) for their first No. 1 seed and the tale of the tape couldn’t have been closer.

They’re both 2-0-1 in the county. Both have beaten their common opponents by similar margins. And they played each other to a 2-2 tie (after White Plains led 2-0). Donoho’s two losses have come to a much bigger Cedartown (Ga.) team and Westbrook Christian.

“Being one of the smaller schools it’s absolutely excellent to be ranked by your peers as the No. 1 seed in an open tournament,” Donoho coach Matthew Wright said. “Just about everybody we play is going to be bigger than us and that always feels good (to be No. 1).”

Lady Cubs the pick in softball

Alexandria (14-8) pulled down the No. 1 seed ahead of Pleasant Valley (15-7), but there really was no debate. The winner of the last two county titles – they didn’t play last year – beat all three of their county opponents, scoring 10 runs in each game. Two of those wins came over No. 2 seed PV and No. 3 seed Oxford.

Oxford was a late nominee for the No. 3 seed, but the Lady Jackets nosed out Piedmont (No. 4) and Weaver (No. 6) for the spot. White Plains pulled in at No. 5 in another close show-of-hands.

“It’s something we always seek,” Alexandria assistant coach Toni Hess said of the top seed. “We’re in a county that’s very competitive and really any of those first few could have easily been in that 1 slot.”

The Lady Cubs missed not being able to defend their title last year and are anxious to get back at it. The tournament opens at Woodland Park April 6. The final four teams will play at Jacksonville State April 9, with the first of potentially two championship games scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

“We missed it last year, big time,” Hess said. “Last year was one of those heartbreaking, devastating kind of things. You wanted those seniors to be able to have that. We always love playing in the county tournament. We missed that last year.”

This year’s tournament field has been reduced to 11 teams after Faith Christian opted out while it deals with injury issues that forced it to postpone its last six games. The Lady Lions, however, will still receive a tournament share.

The 19 games over the first two days of the tournament will have a 75-minute time limit, but will go at least five innings. The final four games will all be seven innings.

Calhoun County Soccer Tournament

(McClellan Fields)
(County record, overall record)
Boys Bracket
Tuesday’s games
No. 4 Oxford (1-0, 2-4) vs. No. 5 Faith Christian (3-2, 3-6), 7 p.m.
No. 2 White Plains (2-0-1, 7-0-1) vs. No. 7 Saks (1-2, 1-2), 7 p.m.
No. 3 Weaver (1-1, 4-1) vs. No. 6 Jacksonville (0-4, 1-7-1), 7 p.m.
Friday’s games
Oxford-Faith winner vs. No. 1 Donoho (2-0-1, 6-2-1), 5 p.m.
White Plains-Saks winner vs. Weaver-Jacksonville winner, 7 p.m.
Saturday’s game
Championship game, 7 p.m.

Girls Bracket
Tuesday’s games
No. 4 Faith Christian (3-2, 5-3) vs. No. 5 Weaver (0-2, 2-3-1), 5 p.m.
No. 3 Oxford (1-0, 1-5) vs. No. 6 Saks (0-3, 0-3), 5 p.m.
Friday’s games
Faith-Weaver winner vs. No. 1 Donoho (3-0, 10-0-1), 5 p.m.
Oxford-Saks winner vs. No. 2 Jacksonville (1-1, 4-1-1), 5 p.m.
Saturday’s game
Championship game, 5 p.m.

Calhoun County Softball Tournament

(County record, overall record)
April 6
(Woodland Park)
No. 8 Ohatchee (2-3, 13-6-1) vs. No. 9 Saks (2-3-1, 6-12-1), 4:30 p.m. (F1)
No. 7 Jacksonville (1-1, 12-10) vs. No. 10 Wellborn (0-2, 1-8), 4:30 p.m. (F4)
No. 6 Weaver (3-1, 8-3) vs. No. 11 Jacksonville Christian (0-0, 4-0), 4:30 p.m. (F5)
Ohatchee-Saks winner vs. No. 1 Alexandria (3-0, 14-8), 6 p.m. (F1)
No. 5 White Plains (1-3, 7-8) vs. No. 4 Piedmont (2-0, 7-10-2), 6 p.m. (F2)
Jacksonville-Wellborn winner vs. No. 2 Pleasant Valley (3-2, 15-7), 6 p.m. (F4)
Weaver-JCA winner vs. No. 3 Oxford (1-1, 8-9), 6 p.m. (F5)
April 8
(Woodland Park)
Losers bracket games, 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
Winner’s bracket games, 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
April 9
(Jacksonville State)
Game 20, 4:30 p.m.
Game 21, 6 p.m.
Championship game, 7:30 p.m.
(If necessary, 9 p.m.)

You must be logged in to post a comment Login