Five of the six high school baseball teams in the Elmore County area will be in the opening round of the Alabama High School Association state playoffs.
Edgewood Academy, Elmore County, Holtville, Stanhope Elmore and Wetumpka are all on to postseason play as either the area champion or runner up of their respective areas.
In state championship baseball under the AHSAA, 32 teams are selected from each class and put in a standard 32-team single-elimination bracket, but each matchup is a best two-of-three series.
Elmore County (20-7) will take on Shelby County (18-8) in the first round starting Friday. The two teams will play twice that day. Should the two teams split the first two games, the tiebreaker game for the best-of-three series will be played Saturday.
It’s the first playoff appearance for Elmore County since 2013.
The Panthers finished as the Class 5A Area 6 runner up after a 5-1 record in area play.
Stats for Shelby County were only available through 15 games this season, but in that time its lineup was headlined by a pair of senior .500 hitters in JP Fox and JT Pennington, who bat .543 and .528, respectively. Pennington has hit a team-leading five home runs in 2021.
Fox also emerged as the team’s star pitcher, with a 1.58 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 40 innings of work in the games from which Shelby County had stats available. He boasted a 4-1 record.
Holtville (22-9) won the Class 5A Area 6 championship and will draw Area 8 runner up Sylacauga (12-7) in the first round of the playoffs Friday.
It’s the first playoff appearance for Holtville in Class 5A following their move up ahead of the season.
Sylacauga enters this week coming off wins against Childersburg and Shelby County.
Stanhope Elmore (20-8) landed in second place for Alabama Class 6A Area 5 and will face Area 7 champion Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (26-10) Friday.
Hillcrest had won 11 of its last 12 games before a loss at Thompson Saturday, including a pair of run-rule victories to clinch its area title Tuesday and Thursday.
Stanhope will look to ride the power hitting of Caleb Rohrbach, who’s hit five home runs this season, and the speed of Cody Simmons, who’s stolen 46 bases to generate offense. Only five teams have scored more than five runs against the Patriots this season.
As the Class 6A Area 5 champion, Wetumpka (21-7) meets the Area 7 runner up in Northridge (14-12) Friday.
Northridge responded to a five-game losing streak that included three losses to Hillcrest by winning four of five to secure a playoff berth.
Wetumpka enters as one of the hottest teams in Class 6A right now, on an 11-game winning streak with pitcher Jaxon Shineflew throwing a complete-game shutout to clinch an area championship in its most recent effort.
Edgewood is a part of the AISA, and under its tournament format area champions get a first-round bye.
The Wildcats won their area title and will find out their second-round matchup this weekend after the first round.