So far, South AA looks to be competitive

Published 12:01am Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hunter McKeivier’s words before the season started are proving to be prophetic.

In early February, the Adams County Christian School head baseball coach said he expected the winner of the MAIS Class AA South State championship series to eventually win the Double-A state title.

His point was to point out the strength of the South in Class AA. He said he felt there were several very good teams his Rebels would have to face. So far, that’s proving to be true.

The Rebels have shown themselves to be quite a force so far this season. At 14-4-1, ACCS heads into a Tuesday matchup with in-town rival Trinity Episcopal for a key District 5-AA game.

The Rebels are led by starting pitcher Jake Brumfield, catcher Chris Perry and five other seniors who are proving to be a strong core group this season. McKeivier is by no means a negative coach, but after each game he’ll always mention something he took from the game on which he knows his team needs to work.

McKeivier probably isn’t doing this to downplay his team, but rather to stress the importance of continuing to get better every day. His Rebels have a chance to compete for a state championship, and in order to do that, he likely realizes the necessity of not getting complacent with success.

Trinity Episcopal, meanwhile, is 4-5 on the season, a record that may be surprising to some, since they’re one season removed from a Single-A state title. It should be noted, however, that since Trinity’s boys basketball team made it all the way to the state championship round, the baseball team got started much later than other area squads.

But Trinity got an impressive 8-2 win against Brookhaven Academy Tuesday night. Brookhaven beat defending Class-AA state champions Centreville Academy just a few days prior to that.

With Southern Miss signee Jake Winston leading the Saints’ pitching staff and more games being logged under Trinity’s belt, it’s not unreasonable to assume the team’s best performances have yet to come. Even if the Saints’ record isn’t as glossy as other area schools, counting them out right now would be foolish.

Centreville Academy probably has the most accolades of any local team: They’re defending state champions, they return every starter from last year’s team and they’re currently 14-4. They know what it takes to go all the way, because they’ve been there before.

After going 14-0 to start the season, the Tigers have hit a bit of a rut of late, losing four straight to Brookhaven Academy and Central Private. But the Tigers should be right in the thick of things come tournament time, and it’s worth reviewing just how the Tigers won state last year.

After losing to Simpson Academy in Game 1 of the state championship series, the Tigers were three outs away from being eliminated in Game 2 before Tyler Towles hit a three-run, walkoff home run in the bottom of the seventh to win 5-2. Then in Game 3, the Tigers hung on for a 4-3 win.

With their backs against the wall, these players have proven they can overcome. Those kinds of intangibles go a long way when postseason baseball gets kicked off.

With April here, our local teams have another month to sharpen their skills and secure their playoff spots. With so many good teams in our backyard, the postseason should be very interesting to follow — as well as the games leading up to it.