Thompson baseball finishes season ranked 40th in nation by MaxPreps

Published 4:44 pm Tuesday, June 20, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

The Thompson Warriors added yet another accolade to their trophy shelf when they finished the season ranked 40th in the nation on the MaxPreps top 100 rankings when they were announced by the site on Tuesday, June 20.

The rankings comprise the top teams from across the nation and are considered one of the most authoritative polls in the country, making it an incredible honor for the Warriors to be ranked so highly.

The Warriors continued an incredible rise under second-year coach Frankie Perez in 2023. Thompson came out of the gate firing with a 20-0 start to the regular season after only winning 19 games in 2022. They finished the season with 37 wins, one shy of a school record.

Thompson beat Vestavia Hills in the area championship to enter the state tournament as the top team in 7A. The Warriors then won a thriller over Bob Jones in walk-off fashion in the state quarterfinals to advance to the Final Four.

Vestavia Hills may have gotten their revenge over Thompson in the semifinals, but Thompson still has plenty to take pride in after a historic year that saw the Warriors come within one game of the championship series.

“Thompson baseball is better today than it was 365 days ago,” Perez said after the semifinal loss. “When I first took this job, we talked about how you have to earn your jersey. This senior class did it. We’re a Final Four team. It came down to the last at bat. We won 37 games, lost eight. Thirty-seven games, lost eight. This senior class should be very proud. We gained the respect of the other teams in our area and around the state.”

The Warriors were led on the mound by Super All-State selection Landon Alton, who as a senior set a program record for most wins as a pitcher, as well as pitching ace Ben Pearman.

Fellow All-County selections Peryn Bland, Drake McBride, Tucker Arrington, Zach Wyatt and Ethan Crook will all return for Thompson next season with sky-high expectations after the seniors set a lofty standard.

“I hope these kids understand how much I love them,” coach Perez said. “This senior class did a lot for our program, and they know I love them like my own. They’ll forever be my kids. What they have done for this program is to begin what is to come. Because now, the junior class knows the standard, the sophomore class knows the standard, the freshman class that was here watching knows the standard. I hope they’re as proud as I am because this is just the beginning.”

Thompson finished third among Alabama teams in the MaxPreps rankings. Vestavia Hills, who won the 7A state championship after beating the Warriors in the semifinals, finished in 33rd, and 6A state champions Oxford finished 35th in the nation.