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All-Area diamond selections explained

By Staff
Charles Prince, Sports Editor
I heard a good idea recently about how the Enquirer should select the All-Area teams in baseball and softball. As soon I heard the idea, I knew it was the right way for us to go.
In most sports, we choose one Player of the Year. In football, we have Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year honors.
Our selections on the diamond will have two awards like our All-Area football team.
The idea I heard concerned how major league baseball divides up their year-end awards. The Cy Young Award is given to the outstanding pitcher and usually a position player wins the MVP trophy.
The suggestion was that the Enquirer should handle their All-Area selections the same way.
I think it's the correct way as well. It takes away the argument of who is more valuable to a team, a dominant pitcher or a dominant position player. We avoid the debate, by having a award for both pitchers and position players.
In next week's paper when our All-Area softball team is announced, it too will have a Pitcher of the Year and a Player of the Year.
It just makes more sense to handle the selections this way.
Also notice we have a utility player and designated hitter on our baseball team.
Next week you'll notice we have a utility player and a designated player on the softball team.
The utility player position is designated for players who have to fill in and play several positions on their teams, due to injury or other reasons.
High school softball in Alabama has what is known as a Flex player. This player bats, but doesn't play the field.
The high school athletic association now requires coaches to refer to this position as a Designated Player and has them to put a "DP" on their lineup card in the position column for this player.
Therefore, we'll have a position listed as a DP on our All-Area team.
Thanks for your call
If I could, I'd like to end this column with a message for the caller who left me a voice mail last week concerning my column on the Hartselle Lady Tiger softball team.
Despite your assertion that I'm "really stupid," and "don't know anything about softball," because I predicted the Lady Tigers will reach next season's state tournament, after the action last weekend in Montgomery, I'm more convinced than ever they'll be there.
Two teams the Lady Tigers beat this season made strong showings at the state tournament.
In 5A, Buckhorn, a team Hartselle split six games with this season, finished second and lost the deciding game by one run. Then, in 6A, Vestavia Hills, a club Hartselle also whipped this year, took home the runner-up trophy as well.