North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

March 13, 2014

ASWA Top 10 Rankings: Hayden, Jordan and Corner softball, Pinson Valley baseball make first poll

By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News

— Softball is probably the best sport for local high schools, and a glance at the very first Alabama Sports Writers Association top-10 rankings will tell you why.

Three local teams were selected in the opening poll, led by defending Class 5A state champion Hayden. The Wildcats, currently with a 7-1 record, are ranked third in the state. Arch-rival Mortimer Jordan also made the poll in the ninth spot, despite an 8-6 record; most of those losses have come at the hands of larger schools, such as Spain Park, which is ranked fifth in Class 5A.

But neither team is the best in Class 12, which is arguable the toughest area in the state in any class. Curry, who placed third at last year's state tournament, occupies the top spot in the 5A rankings.

Corner may have a young, fairly new lineup and a brand new coach in Tony Echols, but the Yellow Jackets (3-2-1) landed in the ninth spot of the Class 4A rankings.

The rankings were released at 11 p.m. Wednesday.

On the baseball side, Pinson Valley may have lost 14 seniors from last year's state semifinal team and sport just a 9-5 record so far, but the Indians were ranked ninth in the Class 5A poll. They were the only local team to appear in the initial poll.