Year in review: baseball

Published 8:37 pm Monday, December 27, 2010

Each year is always filled with interesting storylines.

Whether it is the statistics put up by an individual athlete or the accomplishments of an entire team, there will always be moments that standout in the spectator’s eye.

On the baseball diamond this past year in, there was much to see.

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When it comes to the action on the baseball diamond, Pike County has a rich history of successful teams. And in 2010, that tradition continued.

While both Goshen and Pike County reached different milestones throughout their respective seasons, it was the other two teams that proved to be two of the top teams in the state.

For the first time the Alabama Sports Writers Association ranked two teams in the county ranked No. 1 in each of their classifications.

The Patriots of Pike Liberal Arts and the Trojans of Charles Henderson dominated its competition for much of the regular season, with both going deep into the playoffs.

And even though neither finished the season with the coveted state championship, both left lasting marks. For the first time in 13 years, the Patriots advanced to the AISA State Championship game.

Despite losing to rival Glenwood in a two game sweep in Montgomery in the title round, what PLAS was able to do in 2010 was nothing short of unbelievable. The team finished with 30 wins for the first time ever, and did so thanks to an explosive offense that scored 434 runs off of 422 hits, 47 of which were home runs, in 1,018 at bats.

While the bats always seemed hot for PLAS, the Patriots pitching staff was one of the most unhittable in the association.

PLAS pitchers went a combined 30-5 against its opponents, striking out 263 batters, while holding an earned run average of 3.38, giving up just 98 earned runs.

Will Starling led the way, finishing his career as a Patriot leading the team in wins with eight, strikeouts with 74, and innings pitched with 51.

Like their cross-town counterparts, the Trojans made their way through the playoffs before meeting an untimely finish in the semi-finals to eventual champion, Spanish Fort. Before that however, CHHS was one of the hardest teams to beat as the team finished with a 34-10 overall record, and ended the season ranked No. 1 for the final three weeks in Class 5A. Of those wins, 13 came against ranked opponents, and not once did the Trojans lose back-to-back games.

And like PLAS, the Trojans had their own workhorse in Mitch McLeod. The senior finished 10-3, with an ERA of 2.96, striking out 93 batters in 82 innings.