Swingin for the Majors: Draft prospect highlights postseason honors

Draft Day is just around the corner for Major League Baseball and one player who hopes to hear his name called is this year&8217;s Shelby County Reporter AHSAA Player of the Year, Kevin Patterson.

The Oak Mountain senior led the county with nine home runs, while hitting .420 in just 25 games played, despite missing 12 games due to an injury to his right hand.

&8220;I felt that sharp pain in my hand and I knew something was wrong,&8221; Patterson said of his at-bat against Prattville halfway into the season. &8220;I could move it, but it was killing me.&8221;

&8220;It was scary, but then again, after I got a diagnosis and got surgery scheduled, we felt a little better, because it wasn&8217;t such a major injury that I wouldn&8217;t be able to play for six months, just a couple of weeks.&8221;

The diagnosis was a broken hammate bone. After breaking the bone earlier that week, he was in surgery by the end of the week and on the road to recovery. Close to a month later he took the field against Russell County in the Gulf Shores Tournament.

After watching two pitches miss inside, Patterson turned on a change up and sent it sailing for a &8220;welcome back&8221; home run in hist first at-bat.

The moment showed that although being benched for 12 games, his &8220;raw power&8221;, as defined by Major League scouts, was still there.

Now Patterson hits the highway for the final week&8217;s push to Draft Day. After trying out for the Boston Red Sox last Wednesday, St. Louis Cardinals last Friday and the Seattle Mariners Sunday, the Auburn University signee is in Atlanta today for a Braves&8217; tryout at Turner Field. He flies to Florida this weekend for a tryout in Tampa with the New York Yankees, followed by a trip to Lakeland to visit the Detroit Tigers.

Multiple draft sites are predicting Patterson to be anywhere from the 60th to 72nd overall pick in next Thursday&8217;s draft.

&8220;If it&8217;s the right opportunity now, and I get what I&8217;m looking for, then I&8217;m definitely going to go pursue my pro career,&8221; Patterson said.

AHSAA Softball

Shelby County High ace pitcher Kassadie Jones (12-6) is this year&8217;s Shelby County Reporter AHSAA Player of the Year for softball.

The senior, who has signed with the University of West Alabama, tossed a perfect game in the home opener on her way to leading the team to its first-ever state softball tournament appearance in Montgomery. She finished with a 0.91 earned run average and 170 strikeouts, despite missing three weeks of pitching due to a stress fracture in her ankle.

At the plate, Jones had 32 RBIs with 14 doubles and six home runs, while hitting .415.

AISA Baseball

Coosa Valley Academy&8217;s Zac Taylor earns this year&8217;s Shelby County Reporter AISA Player of the Year honor for his dominance on the mound down the stretch and mastering the strike zone in the playoffs, on the way to CVA&8217;s first-ever baseball state title.

Taylor, a Wallace State Community College signee, posted a 10-1 record on the season, including three wins over rival Shelby Academy. He posed a 0.55 earned run average and struck out 128. His contributions to his team did not just sit on the mound, but came from the plate also. He led the team with a .630 batting average, collecting 24 doubles, seven home runs and 58 RBIs.

AISA Softball

Cornerstone Christian School freshman pitcher Chelsey Dunnaway, this year&8217;s Player of the Year for AISA softball, broke onto the scene this year in dominant fashion, striking out 246 batters while posting a 25-0 record and 0.52 earned run average in the circle.

Coaches

Cornerstone Christian School softball head coach Mark Armstrong earns his second-straight Shelby County Reporter Coach of the Year honor, after leading his Lady Chargers to a perfect 26-0 season and first-ever softball state championship.

For baseball, Coosa Valley Academy&8217;s Kevin Oakes returned to his alma mater last season and has since brought home a 52-24 record, a state runner-up trophy and now a state title