By Lee Davis
A generation from now, Spain Park supporters will remember the 2014 baseball season as special.
The Jaguars put together a solid regular season, but as the playoffs began they were on virtually nobody’s short list to claim a state championship.
As is the case with all great teams, however, Spain Park saved its best baseball for last. It utilized old standbys–pitching, defense and clutch hitting–to bring home the school’s first-ever Class 6A baseball blue trophy, clinching the title with a 9-4 victory over Sparkman in Montgomery.
After such a season, it’s no surprise that the Jaguars have a strong presence on the 2014 All-Over the Mountain baseball team. Six Spain Park players earned positions on the squad, which is chosen by an exclusive poll of the eight head coaches of area schools in Classes 6A and 5A. Additionally, Jaguar coach Will Smith shared 2014 Coach of the Year honors with Mountain Brook coach Lee Gann. Gann, a Homewood graduate who has earned All-Over the Mountain honors as a player and coach, guided the Spartans to a 31-15 season that ended in the state Class 6A semifinals.
Under Smith, Spain Park compiled a 39-19 worksheet on the way to the state crown.
“This honor is really a tribute to our players, who worked so incredibly hard all year,” Smith said. “They set a goal and achieved it. I can’t express how proud I am of them.”
Cole Chiselko, a hard-hitting outfielder from Hoover, was named 2014 Player of the Year. Chiselko–known as Chico to his teammates–hit a robust .418 against some of Alabama’s best pitching. He clubbed five home runs, 18 doubles and 53 RBIs. Chiselko, a senior, produced an on-base percentage of .484 and a slugging percentage of .679 and was a key factor as Hoover spent much of the season at the top of the Class 6A rankings.
“Chiselko was a threat with his bat anytime he came to the plate,” said former Hoover coach Rick Davis, who stepped down after the season concluded. “He was a very important part of our offense and gave us excellent production all year.”
It’s a tribute to the overall strength of area baseball that Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills also had six entries on the team.
Members of the team include Jake Bracewell and Ethan Simmons, Briarwood; Matthew Cerfolio, John Carroll Catholic; Devin McCary, Cade Mullins, Griffin Rivers and Adam Stewart, Homewood; Chiselko, Cooper Carden, Brooks Haley, Ian Kirk and Billy Reed, Hoover; Andrew Autrey, Alan Hale, Hunter Holcomb, Davis McDougal, Jack McPherson and Drew Odum, Mountain Brook; Logan Gibbs, Oak Mountain; Matt Berler, Mason Duke, Austin Haight, Josh Rich, Jon Sumner and Tristan Widra, Spain Park; and Davis Bragg, Chris Cusimano, Bobby Morgan, Sonny Potter, Tyler Queen and Price Visintainer, Vestavia Hills.