Top of the order: 2024 All-County baseball team honors area’s best athletes

Published 6:03 pm Monday, May 27, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

After another great season on the diamond, it’s time to look back on some of the players who shined the brightest in the county.

With quarterfinal runs from Thompson and Vincent, area titles by Shelby County, Helena and Briarwood and plenty of big moments from February to May, the county’s best once again staked their claim as some of the best in the state.

This year’s All-County Team spotlights the baseball players who made those big moments happen all season long.

First Team:

Pitcher: Aiden Poe, junior, Vincent. Now a two-time Shelby County Pitcher of the Year as just a junior, the Air Force commit put up video game numbers on the competition. Poe racked up 134 strikeouts, which was double the second-place total, and went 12-1 with a 0.97 ERA and 0.67 WHIP while allowing just 11 earned runs and eight walks.

Oak Mountain’s Bryson Mormon earned an All-County First Team spot for his phenomenal pitching all season for the Eagles. (For the Reporter/Cari Dean)

Pitcher: Bryson Morman, senior, Oak Mountain. A key reason why Oak Mountain became a top-10 team in Class 7A, Morman went 6-2 with a 1.23 ERA and 0.95 WHIP, backing that up with 61 strikeouts and just 14 earned runs. He also went on a midseason tear with 24 straight shutout innings, the 12th best run in state history, including a no-hitter against Enterprise and a shutout against Prattville.

Pitcher: Logan Moller, senior, Chelsea. Moller’s swing-and-miss pitches were some of the best in the county as he racked up 67 strikeouts, the second-most in the county. He helped the Hornets in key spots with his 2.35 ERA and by allowing just 18 earned runs and 16 walks during his senior campaign.

Pitcher: Ma’Kale Holden, senior, Thompson. The future Alabama ace gave the Warriors one last big season with 55 strikeouts across 40 innings and earned a 2.45 ERA and 1.25 WHIP as he steered Thompson towards the 7A quarterfinals.

Pitcher: Brayden Dockery, sophomore, Helena. Dockery was one of the reasons the Huskies beat multiple top teams like Thompson and Spain Park as he went 6-2 against some of the best clubs on Helena’s schedule. In the process, he struck out 44 batters and earned an impressive 1.60 ERA and 1.29 WHIP.

Catcher: Ethan Crook, senior, Thompson. Crook brought the power with 10 doubles and four home runs to earn a .546 slugging percentage and .998 OPS, but his efficient .345 batting average allowed him to drive home 30 runs and score 30 himself to power Thompson’s offense.

First Base: James Battersby, senior, Spain Park. The first baseman showed his athleticism by going 22-for-23 on stolen base attempts, and at the plate, he was responsible for 26 RBI and 33 runs while batting .309 for the Jags against some of the top teams in Class 7A.

Second Base: Ty Stricklin, senior, Helena. Stricklin was one of the most reliable bats in the Huskies lineup thanks to his .337 batting average, .477 hitting percentage and .885 OPS. That included 26 runs off 33 hits, seven of which were doubles.

Shortstop: Peryn Bland, senior, Thompson. Bland stood up to the top arms in Class 7A and walked away with the second-most hits in the county with 50 and made the most of that with 30 RBI, tied for the fifth most among county hitters. His power hitting led to 12 doubles and three home runs for a .524 slugging percentage and .926 OPS.

Third Base: Jake Souders, senior, Briarwood Christian. While Souders was also a force on the mound with his 2.44 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 8.1 strikeouts per seven innings, he batted at a .408 clip at the plate, including 20 RBI, eight doubles, two triples and three home runs. That was good enough for a .546 on-base percentage, .704 slugging percentage and 1.251 OPS in his senior season.

Outfielder: Casen Fields, junior, Vincent. Fields wasn’t just one of the best bats in the Jackets order, but in the entire county as he drove in 35 RBI off 44 hits, blasted five triples, slashed .407/.565/.602 and went a county-high 35-for-35 on stolen base attempts.

Outfielder: Ray Albright, senior, Vincent. Albright finished out his Jackets career strong with a .387 batting average, .476 on-base percentage and .910 OPS, including 41 hits and 29 RBI.

Outfielder: Drake McBride, senior, Thompson. McBride made the most of his time on base with 37 runs off 39 hits and 15 walks. His 39 hits, six doubles, two home runs and 26 RBI led to a .355 average and .950 OPS.

Designated Hitter: Gannon Pharr, senior, Shelby County. Pharr capped off his career in a Wildcats jersey by being the top bat on his team, earning the fifth-best average in the county at .404, earning the third-most runs in the county at 42 and finishing with 26 RBI, seven doubles, three home runs for a .596 slugging percentage and 1.108 OPS.

Designated Hitter: Camden Cobb, senior, Vincent. Cobb racked up 36 runs and 46 RBI off 37 hits, including 10 doubles and a pair of home runs, and finished his final high school season with a .374 average, .504 on-base percentage, .556 slugging percentage and 1.059 OPS.

Designated Hitter: Rhys Jones, sophomore, Spain Park. Jones has already proved to be a tough out as an underclassman as he finished the year with 42 hits, 44 runs and 18 RBI alongside a .375 average, .503 on-base percentage and .986 OPS.

Utility: D’Marion Terrell, senior, Thompson. While the 2024 Hitter of the Year could have easily slid into an outfield or designated hitter position with his .426 average, .798 slugging percentage, 1.318 OPS, 42 RBI and 10 home runs, he came up in big spots on the mound with a 2.12 ERA, 1.52 WHIP and just 14 earned runs allowed.

Second Team:

Pitcher: Alex Harrison, senior, Oak Mountain. Harrison effectively dispatched opposing offenses without taking much damage, ending the season with a 0.48 ERA and 0.93 WHIP while allowing just two earned runs and taking 32 strikeouts against three walks.

Pitcher: Landon Archer, freshman, Vincent. Archer stepped up to become another big pitching threat for the Jackets as the freshman tossed big games down the stretch and finished 6-1 with a 1.40 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 53 strikeouts for an average of 9.3 punch-outs per seven innings.

Pitcher: Micah Morris, senior, Shelby County. Morris was a big-time arm for the Wildcats in his last high school season, allowing just 13 earned runs in 42 innings and striking out 49 batters for a 2.17 ERA and 1.29 WHIP.

Pitcher: Will Harrison, senior, Calera. Harrison’s swing-and-miss pitches were some of the best the area with his 61 strikeouts checking in for the fourth-most in the county. That helped him average 8.1 strikeouts across his six wins, which included a combined no-hitter against Montevallo.

Catcher: Sam Carter, senior, Shelby County. Carter was a big-time bat for the Wildcats, batting .381 with a .548 on-base percentage and an OPS of 1.179. While his 29 RBI in 32 hits made him a key hitter at the plate, he was also effective on the base paths with 10 stolen bases in 11 tries.

First Base: Cooper Pennington, sophomore, Shelby County. Pennington made the most of his hits with 28 RBI and 22 runs in 26 hits, which included eight doubles, two triples and three home runs for a .448 on-base percentage and .989 OPS.

Second Base: Chase Lackey, junior, Chelsea. Lackey ended his junior year with a .337 average and .808 OPS thanks to a reliable 33 hits across his 98 at-bats, and he got to show his speed on the base paths with 19 stolen bases in 20 attempts.

Third Base: Aiden Berke, senior, Spain Park. Berke was a versatile part of the Jags lineup thanks to his work around the infield, and he ended the year with 34 hits, 34 runs, six doubles and 12 stolen bases.

Shortstop: Andrew Petrock, sophomore, Pelham. Petrock only got in 66 at-bats across 24 games this season, but he established himself as a name to watch going forward. He batted .409 with a .544 on-base percentage and a 1.226 OPS thanks to 21 RBI, seven doubles and three home runs while going 8-for-8 in stolen bases.

Outfielder: Jackson Barnes, senior, Briarwood Christian. Barnes proved to be one of the most reliable parts of the Lions lineup in his senior season thanks to a .357 average at the plate. In 70 at-bats, he got 25 hits, drove in 11 runs and crossed home 19 times.

Outfielder: Will Clark, junior, Briarwood Christian. The lone North-South selection in the county, Clark solidified himself as one of the best talents out of the Class of 2025 thanks to his 28 hits and 23 RBI in 87 at-bats. Clark finished his area-title-winning year with a .322 average, .412 on-base percentage and .929 OPS.

Outfielder: Matthew Widra, senior, Spain Park. Widra brought the power to Spain Park’s lineup this season with six doubles and four home runs to help supercharge the offense with 36 RBI and 28 runs. He also wasn’t afraid to take an extra base to help out the Jags offense as he went 12-for-14 on stolen base attempts.

Designated Hitter: Coleman Gray, senior, Spain Park. In his 93 at-bats in his senior season, Gray got 29 RBI and 30 runs out of his 26 hits and was disciplined at the plate, drawing 29 walks compared to just nine strikeouts. As a result, he reached base in just under half of his plate appearances with a .496 on-base percentage.

Designated Hitter: Chapman Blevins, senior, Spain Park. Blevins ended the year with a .326 batting average with 29 hits in 89 at-bats, and he gave the Spain Park offense a big boost with 28 RBI on the season.

Designated Hitter: Davis Ruston, sophomore, Shelby County. Ruston reached base in over half of the times he saw the plate thanks to his 14 hits in 47 at-bats and 22 walks compared to 17 strikeouts, giving the sophomore a big foundation to build off of.

Utility: Kevin Jasinski, senior, Oak Mountain. A force to be reckoned with both at the plate and on the mound, Jasinski racked up six doubles and four home runs across his 23 hits for a .500 slugging percentage and a 6-2 record with a 2.20 ERA and 1.23 WHIP as a pitcher.

Honorable Mention: Reece Mims, Helena. Colby Matherson, Shelby County. Mac Graham, Calera. Nick McCord, Oak Mountain. Jarret Scott, Helena. Clayton Mains, Pelham. Emerson Howatt, Pelham. Dalton Ash, Calera. Davis Kelley, Helena. Will Harrison, Calera. Peyton Parkinson, Oak Mountain. Dylan Smith, Pelham. Skylar Smith, Shelby County. Grant Hill, Chelsea. Aspen Long, Calera. Conner Mosley, Calera. Nate Owen, Shelby County. Aiden Agee, Calera. Logan Barber, Helena. Austin Acosta, Helena.