Oxford vs Clay Central baseball

Oxford coach Wes Brooks chats with umpires Jerry Weems and Cedrick Baker during the Oxford vs Clay Central AHSAA summer baseball game at Choccolocco Park. Photo by Stephen Gross / The Anniston Star

OXFORD — Wes Brooks has sold his Oxford baseball players on a culture.

Ask him about a player’s hits and batting average, and he’ll talk quality at-bats. Ask him about the hows and whys of his team’s successes, and he’ll answer with deep, thoughtful recitations of philosophy.

He’s won a state championship, and his teams keep winning.

The Yellow Jackets won another area and Calhoun County title this season, going 25-10 and earning Brooks selection as The Anniston Star’s Calhoun County Class 4A-6A baseball coach of the year.

The only team among the county’s big schools to make the playoffs, Oxford fell in a first-round series against eventual 6A champion Hazel Green. The series went the full three games, with Oxford winning the opener 15-1 then falling in a pair of one-run games.

With Oxford’s No. 3 starting pitcher, Hayden Green, ill and unable to pitch, Hazel Green battled back from a 4-1 deficit to win 6-5 in Game 3.

Brooks said he and his team expected a deeper run in 2018, but who knew the eventual state champion would finish second in its area and catch Oxford short-handed in the first round?

He handled it in his philosophical way, saying the game wasn’t ready to reward a talented team that worked hard.

“By the way they’ve played the game,” Brooks said, “they’ve just kind of left a legacy with this program, with the school, with the community, with the city, and you can obviously see the fans with a lot of support because of the way these guys play the game.”

Sports Writer Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.