Pelham’s Stovall named Alabama’s Gatorade Player of the Year

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

The awards just keep coming for the Pelham baseball Panthers. In the midst of a barrage of postseason accolades for individuals from Pelham’s baseball team, catcher Hunter Stovall has been named the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Alabama.

Stovall was nearly impossible to get out when he was batting in his senior campaign. The Mississippi State signee smacked 10 home runs as a senior and finished the year with a .441 batting average. He also accumulated 51 RBIs and had a .805 slugging percentage.

“The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Stovall as Alabama’s best high school baseball player,” a press release from Gatorade stated.

Stovall is not a big kid, standing only 5-foot-9 inches and weighing in at 160 pounds, but he looms large as a defensive catcher. With one of the strongest, if not the strongest, arm behind the plate in the state, base runners rarely tried their luck against him.

“I really feel like he was the best defensive catcher we saw all year,” Hunter Gregory, head coach of Northridge High School, said. “He probably had the best arm of anybody. It was unbelievable. He picked a guy off first and off second, throwing behind both of them. And then offensively, he hit an opposite-field home run, which you rarely see at any level. We could barely throw it in the air and have him not hit it.”

Stovall has also donated his time as a youth baseball coach and at an assisted living facility amongst other endeavors. He maintained a B average in the classroom and was an FCA member at Pelham.

Stovall helped lead Pelham to a 33-12 record as the Panthers finished second in class 6A. There is no doubt Stovall will turn into a great player for the Bulldogs, just as he did at Pelham over the last three years.