Johnson: Welcome to Baseballtown

Published 1:20 am Thursday, May 16, 2013

When mailing your good luck notes to the Charles Henderson baseball team, make sure to send them to Baseballtown, AL.

The Trojans amazing run to the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 4A state championship series has been well documented.

Not only has Charles Henderson had successes the past three-plus seasons, Pike Liberal Arts and Troy University have been mighty tough as well.

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Just look at the past three seasons.

Troy won a Sun Belt Conference title in 2011, Pike Liberal Arts took the AISA crown in 2012 and now CHHS has a chance to bring another championship trophy to Troy.

If Troy isn’t the best small town for baseball, it is certainly one of the best.

Taking a closer look, you have to give a ton of credit to the area’s coaches.

Without mentioning the many names that have helped teach the game at the recreation level, the programs in Troy have been the beneficiaries of top-notch coaching.

Bobby Pierce and Mark Smartt at Troy are two of the best you will find at the college level. Not only did Butch Austin lead PLAS to three consecutive state title appearances from 2010-12, he helped guide three Charles Henderson teams to the finals in 1979, 1980 and 1983 as an assistant.

Derek Irons, who is already known as one of the best coaches in the state, has a chance to further cement Troy’s reputation as a baseball Mecca.

The cities of Seale and Skipperville can say what they want about their baseball reputations, but for a town of 18,000 to have not one, but three powerhouse programs in three different classifications speaks volumes to the standards Troy programs hold.

Charles Henderson brought home a title in 2004, Pike Liberal Arts in 2012 and Troy won a pair of Division II World Series matches in 1986 and 1987. That doesn’t even factor the numerous state and world series tournaments won by the recreation teams over the years.

It is safe to say that over the last decade the road to a high school state championship has run through Troy, Ala.

That road physically stopped in Montgomery last night as CHHS and Brooks High School played the first game of the series. Folks in Killen may not have known a lot about Troy baseball before last night but they will surely know after the series is complete.