Pelham’s Johnson 2013 All-County Player of the Year
By DREW GRANTHUM / Sports Writer
The way that the 2013 Pelham Panthers Baseball team went through the playoffs on the road to capturing the AHSAA Class 6A State Championship trophy was almost machine-like: sound, efficient and precise.
It’s also safe to say that outfielder and 2013 Shelby County Reporter All-County Player of the Year Fletcher Johnson was a driving force behind the machine. According to Coach Sean Anderson, whenever a boost was needed, Johnson was there to provide it.
“He’s the one that got us going,” he said. “A single usually turned into a double. The ball goes up and 99.9 percent of the time, anything in left center or right center, he got it.”
Johnson finished the season batting .355, with eight homers, 10 doubles, 27 RBI’s, an on-base percentage of .516 and 42 runs scored.
Yet while Johnson stole 20 bases on the year, there are two in particular that stand out: the two he took in the first game of the state championship series that led to Panther runs, including the one that won the game.
Johnson’s stats are impressive, yes, but his ability to change the outcome of a game is what made him invaluable to the Panthers’ success this year —and what won him the Player of the Year title.
“When you lead off the game with a home run, it sets the tone,” Anderson said. “(When he stepped to the plate,) you knew something good was going to happen.”
One of the characteristics that Anderson said couldn’t be measured in numerical value is Johnson’s competitive nature.
“He led by example,” he said. “He would come early and hit. The last five weeks (down the stretch), I’d get here at 7:15 and he’d be waiting. He’d hit for 20-40 minutes, then go to school.”
In addition to All-County, Johnson was named the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham Baseball Player of the Year, was voted the Alabama Sports Writer Association Class 6A Player of the Year, and was named to the ASWA Super All-State team.
He will be attending the University of Tennessee-Martin on an academic scholarship and intends to major in engineering.
Anderson said he expects Johnson to continue his success on the next level.
“Nothing was good enough,” he said. “He always kept getting better.”
2013 All-County Team
C: Hunter Stovall, Pelham, Soph.
IF: Adrian Young, Cornerstone, Sr.
IF: Davis Cox, Thompson, Jr.
IF: Daniel Robert, Briarwood, Sr.
IF: J.R. Seay, Calera, Sr.
OF: Heath Quinn, Oak Mountain, Sr.
OF: Drew Avans, Thompson, Jr.
OF: Josh Close, Spain Park, Sr.
UT: Michael Mims, Coosa Valley, Sr.
UT: Chase Hamrick, Montevallo, Jr.
P: Thomas Lowery, Pelham, Sr.
P: Jake Walters, Thompson, Jr.
P: Jack Pierce, Pelham, Jr.
P: Trey Hawker, Spain Park, Sr.
CALERA: B.J. Barker
CHELSEA: Davis Shoemaker
COOSA VALLEY: Allen Logan and Jake Carter
EVANGEL: Madison Roberts and Brandon Mackey
KINGWOOD: Andrew Whitfield, Tyler Harrell and Gavin Sumrall
MONTEVALLO: Matthew Parker
OAK MOUNTAIN: Justin Hoyt
PELHAM: Alex Urban and Sam Finnerty
SHELBY COUNTY: Kyle Cofer and Jacob Pennington
SPAIN PARK: Grant Veveto
THOMPSON: Houston Davenport, Mason McDougal and Blake Grill
VINCENT: Zach Baucom and Daniel Hawkins