After losing a doubleheader at the beginning of spring break to fall to 2-7-1, Montgomery Academy’s baseball team only had one direction to go.
“We had one area series done and had three more (to go) and couldn’t drop one and make the playoffs,” MA coach Stephen Vosel said. “We won something like 10 out of 12. I tried to continue to preach to the guys all year to keep working, keep fighting, we had to get better every day we step on the field and they bought into it. Sure enough, that’s what we did.”
The Eagles won all eight 3A Area 5 games remaining, losing only to 4A playoff quarterfinalists LAMP and Trinity during the last half of the regular season, to qualify for the state playoffs. MA won a three-game playoff series at Dadeville before losing to eventual state champion Providence Christian in the second round.
“Every scouting report I got about Dadeville was how well they swung the bats and we played 21 innings and shut them out in 20 of the 21,” Vosel said. “All three of my starters and the other (relievers) that came in threw lights out. And that was probably the best defensive series we played all year.”
The Eagles’ turnaround in Vosel’s first season earned his selection as the Capital City Conference coach of the year be his fellow coaches. Trinity senior Camden Lovrich was selected as the player of the year, edging teammate Trace Bright for the award.
Lovrich and Bright, the conference’s top pitchers, were the first and second players among the top 12 earning votes from the coaches for selection for the team. Bright and Lovrich were among four Trinity players who made the team, along with three from Alabama Christian, two from Trinity, two from Montgomery Academy and one from Catholic.
“I felt confident that if Trace got beat (in the first game of a series), we had a really good guy (Lovrich) coming in,” Trinity coach Ken Whittle said. “We could have flipped our (top three) pitchers and pitched them in any order.”
All three pitchers made the team, but only Tyler Britton was placed on the team as a pitcher, with Bright earning selection as a catcher and Lovrich as a right fielder. The aces from four CCC teams were selected, along with three first basemen and three shortstops.
Lovrich, a Jacksonville State signee, batted .350 with 41 hits, 18 RBIs, nine doubles and two home runs while compiling a 6-2 record on the mound with a 1.51 earned-run average, striking out 75 and walking 20.
“Lovrich did both, he hit well and he pitched well, just an all-around presence both at the plate and on the mound,” Catholic coach Aubrey Blackwell said. “He does so many things the right way and does an amazing job of throwing strikes and competing. I think the biggest thing about him is how he competed on the mound and in the (batter’s) box. Really showed a lot of tenacity and focus in everything that he did. Even though I hated having to coach against him, he was fun to watch because of the things he can do on the baseball field.”
ALL CAPITAL CITY CONFERENCE BASEBALL
1B – Matthew Robinson, Sr., St. James
2B – Reece Solar, Sr., Alabama Christian
SS – Will Aaron, Jr., Trinity
3B – Ben Johnson, Sr., Alabama Christian
C – Trace Bright, Sr., Trinity
OF – Camden Lovrich, Sr., Trinity
OF – Christian Ivey, Jr., Catholic
OF – Trey Lindsey, Sr., Montgomery Academy
DH – Zac Westbrook, So., Alabama Christian
P – Tyler Britton, Sr., Trinity
P – Carson Howard, So., St. James
P – Landon Meadows, Montgomery Academy
PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Camden Lovrich, Trinity
COACH OF THE YEAR – Stephen Vosel, Montgomery Academy
HONORABLE MENTION: Morris Carmichael, P, Jr., Catholic; Wilson Carter, 3B-P, Jr., St. James; Garrett Cottingham, RF, Sr., Alabama Christian; Collier Dean, OF, Jr., St. James; Nate Downes, OF, Jr., Catholic; Chantz Henry, 3B, Sr., Trinity; Ross Huffman, C-IF, Jr., Britton Kohn, SS, So., Montgomery Academy; Mac Main, OF, Jr., Montgomery Academy; Preston Perry, C-P, Jr., Alabama Christian; Zac Russell, 2B-SS, So., St. James; Nolan Sasser, 2B, Sr., Trinity; Brock Woodham, OF, Jr., St. James.