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From the Sidelines: Could titles be near for area teams?

While the future of Demopolis High athletics looks bright with stellar coaches in place in all of the school&8217;s sports and dozens of talented, young athletes in the system, the athletic department&8217;s present is worthy of mention.

The baseball team with all of its trials and triumphs sits on the brink of being one of the final eight teams playing at the 5A level. A weekend series win over John Carroll would ensure that bragging right.

The softball team has suffered ups and downs of its own, but appears to be strengthening as it heads into its area tournament next weekend. Even though seeding has yet to be determined, the girls will likely enter as the favorites in the event. If they play to their potential in that tournament and the playoff brackets that follow, they could well make the trip to Montgomery&8217;s Lagoon Park to vie for state. It is nearly inarguable the squad has the talent necessary for such success.

The tennis team sent 17 players to sectionals this week. Of that group, only three are seniors. That translates to more than a dozen players returning to next year&8217;s team with sectional and perhaps state tournament experience pending today&8217;s action.

The golf team has been on a tear this season and is looking to maintain its hot streak as it approaches sectional play.

Despite the soccer team&8217;s less-than-remarkable record, the unit loses only one player to graduation and will return a group full of experienced underclassmen for the 2009 campaign.

However, while Demopolis High School&8217;s hard work and success is certainly admirable, it is not the only institution with an opportunity to bring hardware to Marengo County this season.

The Marengo Academy varsity baseball and softball teams polished off regular seasons yesterday which include area championships. The baseball Longhorns, a team that still has vivid memories of falling just short of last year&8217;s state title, will open the 2008 playoffs at home Friday. After playing against AISA 3A teams for most of its out-of-region schedule, the 2A Horns figure to have the experience necessary to duplicate and surpass last season&8217;s success.

Not to be outdone, the MA softball team ended its regular season at 24-5, figuring to get no worse than a No. 2 seed in next weekend&8217;s state title tournament. Much like their baseball-playing classmates, the softball girls challenged 3A competition for a large portion of their out-of-region schedule. That experience should prove fruitful in Montgomery next weekend.

Jeremy D. Smith is sports editor for The Times. His columns appear Thursdays.