Softball rankings highlighted by No. 1 Spain Park, other county teams

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

Right now, the softball season is at a standstill due to the outbreak of COVID-19, but that doesn’t diminish the impressive start to the 2020 season that we have seen from the Spain Park Jaguars, as well as four other county teams.

While we hope to see them play again and try and chase down a state championship, the Jags have already made it known they are one of the state’s best team with a 21-0 record, which earned them the No. 1 ranking in Class 7A.

That made them one of only three undefeated teams ranked in the second ASWA rankings released on Thursday night, March 19. Spain Park was also one of three ranked teams with 20-plus wins on the season and the only with more than 20 wins and no losses.

The Jaguars won four consecutive tournaments to start the season and were led by several of the state’s best players, including Annabelle Widra and Alexis Anderson, both of who were off to impressive starts.

In addition to Spain Park, the Thompson Warriors came in at No. 9 in the Class 7A standings behind a 13-5 record. They won two area games against Hoover and Oak Mountain before the season came to a halt, while also winning five of their last six games.

Thompson’s only losses of the season were to Pisgah, Sparkman, Chelsea, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa and Moody, all ranked or nominated for a spot in the rankings.

In the 6A classification, the Helena Huskies found the No.  9 ranking with an 8-5 record due to a tough strength of schedule. The Huskies’ five losses included Spain Park, Mortimer Jordan (twice), Tuscaloosa County and Sparkman. Tuscaloosa County was the only of those teams not ranked, while the Huskies have also beaten Mortimer Jordan in a third game and beat a ranked Moody team as well as a few other big wins.

The Chelsea Hornets are off to a 7-5-1 start, which earned them a nominated spot in class 6A. They were off to a 5-2-1 start, but lost three of their last four games in difficult fashion, with two of those three losses coming by one run.

In addition to those four teams, the Shelby County Wildcats only got to play a brief one-game schedule due to the girls basketball team advancing to the Final Four as well as weather cancelling other games.

With a team that featured several basketball players, after losing in the Final Four, they couldn’t wait to get on the softball field and chase down a state title after falling just short in the state tournament last year with head coach Ashley Phillips coaching both basketball and softball.

While the Wildcats were nominated for a spot with a 1-0 record, it’s tough to see a special and close group of seniors sitting and waiting to see if they’ll get to play more than one game this season.