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Playoffs struggle for some

By Staff
Todd Thompson, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle High School’s baseball team will continue its quest for a seventh state championship this week in the second round of the playoffs when the Tigers host Gardendale.
It will be a loneley quest after the area’s three other playoff participants were unceremoniously dumped in their respective first round playoff series last weekend.
Danville, Falkville and Priceville were all swept in first-round matchups, ending the seasons at all three schools.
Danville had plenty of potential this season, not to mention high hopes. The Hawks were ranked for much of the season in the Class 3A poll and seemed destined to go deep in the playoffs just a year after reaching the quarterfinals before falling to eventual state champion Hokes Bluff.
If Danville had hopes of earning another shot at Hokes Bluff this season, those were put to rest by the Eagles’ pitching staff.
The Hawks just couldn’t seem to get their offense untracked against ninth-ranked Sumiton Christian, one of the toughest programs in North Alabama.
Falkville had a tough road in the Class 2A playoffs. The Blue Devils, who won just 15 games last season, came within one win of an area championship this season.
Still, the prospect of facing either Phil Campbell or Mars Hill wasn’t a pleasant thought for coach Jeff Andrews.
In the end, it was Mars Hill that halted the Blue Devils’ season with a sweep of their series.
Considering the 2007 struggles, though, this certainly was a solid year for the Blue Devils. And that is something that Falkville can improve on in 2009.
Priceville hovered around the .500 mark this season after losing much of its starting lineup from the team that finished with 37 wins in 2007.
The team’s inexperience, especially on the mound where the Bulldogs lost four of the top five pitchers, was apparent in the first round series with Brooks. Priceville surrendered 28 runs.
The Bulldogs will lose just two seniors from this year’s team and should be able to climb back into playoff contention next season with a year’s worth of experience under their belts.
Unfortunately for three teams in the area, that’s something they have to deal with right now.
Sports editor Todd Thompson can be reached at 773-6566 or by email at todd.thompson@hartselleenquirer.com

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