By Gary Lloyd
MONTGOMERY — Hewitt-Trussville head baseball coach Jeff Mauldin was asked about community support.
The crowd answered for him.
Mauldin has been to four state championship series now in Montgomery — in 2003, 2005 and 2006 at Clay-Chalkville, and 2013 at Hewitt-Trussville — and this year’s trip brought the most fans.
Some grounds crew workers at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery on Saturday, busy removing the tarp from the infield after a steady rain, told Mauldin they had been working there 10 years. They said they have never seen a school supported like Hewitt-Trussville was by its fans.
“That means a lot to coaches and players when you see that,” Mauldin said. “It’s overwhelming and it’s really neat. I think it’s great for our kids.”
Junior pitcher Alec Talley said fans and students showing up throughout the Class 6A playoffs was important to the team.
“They’ve been behind us from the start,” Talley said.
The team says a prayer before every game, and part of that prayer, Mauldin said, is to honor God on the field and off the field.
“There’s no question these guys do that,” Mauldin said. “I just think people should be unbelievably proud that these guys represent our community the way they do.”
Sophomore catcher Cyle Moore said Hewitt-Trussville reaching the Class 6A state championship series earns the baseball program more respect. The more fans that showed up to games, the louder the cheering was, the more belief the team had that it could come back to win games in which it fell behind.
“It gives us more hope,” Moore said.
When Talley talked about the future of the program, he said “when” Hewitt-Trussville gets back to the state championship, not “if.” Talley said it could be next year, that Mauldin talks about this is the team that put Hewitt-Trussville on the map.
“We’re the ones that started this off, started the journey to state championships,” Talley said.
Mauldin said this year’s team was “infectious” for Trussville and that he has never been a part of a high school baseball environment like earlier this month against Hoover in the state semifinals and over the weekend against Pelham.
“I think the city of Trussville should be very proud that these guys represented our community and how they handled themselves on and off the field,” he said.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.