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MA teams strong in polls

The first Alabama Sports Writers Association poll of the season sees Marengo Academy situated at or near the top in both the softball and baseball rankings.

The Class AA state runner-up from a year ago, the Lady Longhorns (12-0) sit atop the ASWA poll for the first time in school history.

“It’s big for the program,” Marengo Academy head softball coach Todd Mathis said. “It’s nice to know that the girls are getting the recognition they deserve.”

Conversely, the ‘Horn baseball team (8-3), the defending Class AA state champion, is situated in the third spot in its poll.

“We’ve got a lot of room to improve,” head baseball coach Jonathan Lindsey said. “We’re far from a great ball team. I feel like we’ve got the potential to be a great ball team. If we keep the intensity up every ball game, I feel like we can play with most people in the state.”

Longhorn baseball has suffered only three defeats this season, all coming against teams from Georgia in the Glenwood Academy Border Wars Tournament one weekend ago. The Longhorns trail Class AAA Pike LIberal Arts (8-0) and Class AA Edgewood Academy (8-1).

The Lady Longhorns head up the first poll of the 2009 season due, in part, to a pair of victories over No. 2 ranked perennial Class AAA power Tuscaloosa Academy.

Mathis understands his club’s lofty status will provide motivation to all of its remaining opponents.

“All that really does is put a target on our backs,” Mathis said.

While both MA coaches were pleased with the first ranking, each admitted a need to keep its squad focused.

“Rankings at this point are nice for people to talk about,” Mathis said. “If they are that way at the end of the season, then it means something.”

“Rankings do mean a lot for everybody around the game,” Lindsey said. “But when it comes down to it, you still have to play ball. You still have to play for seven innings every time you step on the field.”