Law. Co.’s Anthony Inman is Class 4A-6A coach of year
By Brooke Milam
The Lawrence County Red Devils didn’t find themselves in the preseason baseball rankings this year. And as the season went on, Lawrence County was racking up wins, but still wasn’t among the state’s top 10 in the Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 4A poll.
Coach Anthony Inman said it bothered his players to some extent, but by the season’s end, they had used it as motivation and brought attention to the program by advancing to the second round of the state playoffs.
“We achieved the goals we set forth, and we were right where we thought we should be at the end of the season,” Inman said.
Inman is The Daily’s Class 4A-6A coach of the year for guiding the underrated Red Devils to a 22-13 record, reaching the second round of the playoffs before falling to state semifinalist Boaz.
“The main thing was knowing who we are and how good we were,” Inman said. “We beat some of the better teams in the state this year.”
The Red Devils won the area championship for the third time in four years this season under Inman, who has compiled a winning percentage just under .600 in his time at Lawrence County.
The Red Devils edged out Priceville for the area title and accomplished their goal of a 20-win season against a schedule that included eight teams that made it to at least the second round of the state playoffs in their respective classifications.
“The confidence was there this year,” Inman said. “Last year, we were competitive but this year when the guys hit the field, they were confident they were going to make the plays and confident they were going to hit the pitchers.”
Inman said the focus this year was building depth, especially in the pitching staff, with six starters returning as experienced juniors this season.
Inman said as young players stepped up and experienced players continued to produce, Lawrence County wound up with one of the most balanced lineups of any team in the area.
With an increase in depth and young pitchers coming back with experience, Inman simply said Lawrence County’s team “is in much better shape” than it was at the beginning of the season.
Inman named two one-run wins over rival East Lawrence as a high-point for the Red Devils during the season.
Inman said his team had to fight for the 4-3 and 6-5 wins that helped seal the 4A, Area 15 championship.
“They really showed a lot of maturity being down and coming back and winning,” Inman said. “I thought those were some of the best games for the team this season.”
The Red Devils were peaking near the end of the season and after a 9-3 come-from-behind win over East Limestone in the opening round of the state playoffs, Lawrence County won the opener of a best-of-three series at Boaz 1-0.
Boaz came back to win 7-4 and 4-3, ending the Red Devils’ season.
Inman said it didn’t erase the progress the program made this season.
“A lot of good teams were sent home before the second round, and I’m proud of what we accomplished,” Inman said. “I really feel like things are put together next year for a state championship run.”
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