By Gary Lloyd
Pinson Valley used to be a Class 6A school.
The school isn’t anymore, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at its baseball schedule.
Pinson Valley plays in Class 5A, Area 11 but has played 14 of its 29 games this season against Class 6A opponents. The Indians are 8-6 in those games. Pinson Valley had played 23 games against Alabama teams at press time — it was 3-2 in five games in the Florida/Alabama Baseball Challenge in Tallahassee, Fla., last month — and was 16-7 in those games. Just one of Pinson Valley’s losses all season has been to a team below the Class 6A classification — a 3-2 loss to Class 5A No. 7 Homewood (19-1) on Feb. 28. Homewood’s lone loss this season came against Class 6A No. 5 Hewitt-Trussville, a team Pinson Valley has beaten two out of three matchups this season.
“I think it challenges us early on,” first-year Pinson Valley head coach Shane Chappell said last month. “I think we have a team that can compete at that level. I really do. That’s why we schedule those games.”
Senior pitcher Bailey Chesser said playing a hard schedule throughout the season allows the team to always be ready for great competition.
“As a team to win and to be successful, coach Chappell never intended for the season to be easy,” said Chesser, an Auburn signee. “He wanted us to be able to fight and face 6A competition
. When we get to area and playoff play, it will pay off and I feel like as a team we have really succeeded.”
Senior outfielder Scott Falkinburg said facing tough Class 6A opponents helps the team see some of the best pitching in the state.
“Coach Chappell says we are going to have to beat some good arms in the playoffs to achieve our ultimate goal of making it to state and winning state,” he said.
Pinson Valley is deep in area play now, hosting Springville on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. and traveling to Springville for a doubleheader Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The Indians host Moody at 6 p.m. next Tuesday and travel to Moody next Thursday for a 4:30 p.m. doubleheader.
Chesser said winning area games down the stretch is huge, since winning the area means hosting the first round of the state playoffs.
“Our ultimate goal is to be repetitive in practice because baseball is a sport where you can’t get enough of the same thing and take it game by game, and hopefully be one of the two last teams in the state playing in May,” he said.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.