Thompson pitcher Landon Alton named to Super All-State team

Published 5:10 pm Thursday, June 15, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

Landon Alton added another award to his trophy shelf on Sunday, June 11 when the Thompson starter was named to the Super All-State baseball team by the Alabama Sports Writers Association.

The Super All-State team consists of the top 10 vote getters regardless of position for Alabama’s Mr. Baseball, which is the ASWA’s most valuable player award for the state.

Alton finished eighth in the voting behind Oxford’s Hayes Harrison, who won this year’s award.

Alton wasn’t expecting to be honored even after his historic campaign.

“I know I put a lot of work in, but I honestly didn’t think I was going to get it,” Alton said.

His coach Frankie Perez, on the other hand, saw all of Alton’s accolades coming.

“I’m not surprised,” Perez said. “I actually told him that when the season was over, I said, ‘son, you’ll be the second pitcher ever to be 7A first-team, 7A pitcher of the year. You’ll be a Super Seven player and you’ll be County Pitcher of the Year.” And he thought I was crazy. So, when I saw it, I was like, ‘hey, it makes sense.’”

Alton had a dominant season on the mound and set Warriors program records en route to the state semifinals. He posted a historic nine wins as a starter, which set a new Thompson record.

He also posted a 1.36 ERA in one of the toughest regions of the 7A classification. Alton also recorded 76 strikeouts on the season.

While Thompson made headlines for their 20-0 start to the regular season, it was Alton’s performances when it mattered the most that separated him from other pitchers in the state.

Alton helped the Warriors win the Area Championship and then led his team as the first-choice starter to the 7A semifinals, where they fell to eventual state champions Vestavia Hills.

Alton won each of his three playoff starts against Huntsville, Bob Jones and Vestavia Hills for a perfect postseason that saw him surrender just five runs across all three starts and take 18 strikeouts.

Alton had to make two notable changes before he improved to become what coach Perez called the best arm in the state. First, Alton’s pitching coach switched his pitching style to a sideline delivery after studying his arm slot.

Then, he improved his grades after a heart-to-heart conversation with coach Perez two years ago and achieved a 4.0 GPA in his senior year, which helped him receive an offer from Marion Military Institute where he’ll pitch next spring.

Coach Perez attributed his success on and off the field to his maturity, levelheaded nature and work ethic.

“When things went bad, you never saw a ‘poor me’ attitude and it showed how much he’s grown up being a senior, and it showed that the mental state that he had on the mound, the mound presence was very impressive,” coach Perez said.

Alton sees the award as the perfect way to cap off his Thompson career.

“I think it’s really good for me and, going on to play college, it’s really boosted my confidence for me,” Alton said.

Even more than his on-field accomplishments, he’s proud of the relationships he’s build through baseball.

“I’m proud of all the friends I made along the way,” Alton said. “All the brothers and all of the coaches that led us the way and showed us the fun of the game. Not everything’s about winning, it’s all about having fun.”