MONTGOMERY – Prattville Christian right-hander Tyler Bell tossed the first no-hitter in PCA history last weekend to grab this week’s AHSAA Baseball Spotlight. Bell also struck out a school record 19 in the 6-0 win over Class 7A Lee-Montgomery.
Prattville Christian, coached by Jerry Greene, improved to 13-6 on the season.
Bell, a senior, became the 16th player in the AHSAA Record Book to strike out 19 in a seven-inning game. That total ties for third most in a seven-inning game. The record is 21, held by four pitchers including Cody Reed of Ardmore (2014), Trey Vice of Westbrook Christian (2007), Joe Payne of West End (1999) and Roy Jackson of Opelika (1970).
According to the AHSAA Record Book, which can be found online at http://www.ahsaa.com/Sports/Baseball/Baseball-Individual-Records, six others have recorded 20 strikeouts in a seven-inning game, including Harold Lockhart, who struck out 20 in a row in a 1-0 loss to Verbena in 1953. Reed also had 20 in 2013, Adam Russell of Briarwood in 2008, Kasey Kiker of Russell County in 2005, Doug Shelton of West Morgan in 1996 and Johnny Simmons of Childersburg in 1969.
The most strikeouts in AHSAA history dates back to 1926 when Fred “Football Freddie” Sington struck out 27 in a nine-inning 10-2 win over Jefferson County High School (Tarrant) for Phillips of Birmingham. Sington went on to earn All-America honors as a football standout for the University of Alabama playing on the 1930 National Championship team. He later played in the majors with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Washington Senators as an outfielder.
Elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1955 and the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1972, Sington also received national acclaim thanks to the popular crooner Rudy Vallee, who wrote and recorded a song entitled “Football Freddie,” which would go on to become a nationwide hit following the 1931 Rose Bowl. Right behind Sington in the AHSAA Record Book is James “Eddie” Gordon of Marshall County (Guntersville), who whiffed 26 in an 11-inning game versus Arab that was won 1-0 in the bottom of the 11th on a solo homer by Frank Wedgeworth. Ragland’s Nick Mickler also struck out 23 in a 3-1 nine-inning win over Donoho in 2000.
Bell’s performance edged another no-hit effort thrown by Blake Burkhalter of Northview. His seven-inning no-hitter was won 4-2 over 6A Russell County (18-2). He struck out 11. As strong as he was, Northview still had to come from behind after making six errors in the field. The Cougars (9-9), down 2-0 to the Warriors, scored all four runs in the fifth inning as catcher Carson Meisnner tripled and Burkhalter doubled for the big hits in the rally. Russell County, which turned four double plays in the loss, won game two of the series 5-2 and a third non-area game 10-2 on Friday.
Other highlight include:
FOR THE RECORD
REECE EWING, FAITH ACADEMY: The Rams’ winning pitcher slugged two home runs in a 17-13 win over Gulfport (MS). Faith (17-2) had eight home runs in the game – second most in a single game in AHSAA history. Parker Mills also had two homers, Chris Sargent, Braxton Bell, Gab Shepard and Eli Giles also had home runs in the win. Faith won the second game 12-2 over Pearl River Central (MS) with Bell slugging the Rams’ ninth homer of the day. The state record (11) was set by Ragland in a 25-2 win over Parkway Christian in 2000. Three schools, Calera (2008), Russell County (2006), Thompson (2001) and St. Paul’s Episcopal (1999) have had seven in a game.
JACOB SMITH, TYLER O’CLAIR & JAXON BUTTERWORTH, CALERA: Fired back-to-back-back no-hitters as Calera swept Jemison 17-0, 11-0 and 19-1. Smith struck out 11 with a hit batter in the 17-0 five-inning win on March 22. O' Clair struck out 10 with two walks in the 11-0 first-game victory of a doubleheader on March 23, and Butterworth followed with a no-hitter in the following 19-1 win. He struck out nine.
IN THE CLUTCH
GARRETT WADE, HARTSELLE: Coach William Booth’s prize prospect squared off against Loretto (TN) prospect Blake Tidwell as almost 50 college and pro baseball scouts, representing every major league team, looked on at Hartselle’s Sparkman Park last week. Both pitchers provided scouts with an old-fashioned pitching duel, each leaving the game after five innings allowing two hits and just one run. Wade struck out 13 in his five-inning stint, and Tidwell whiffed five. Loretto rallied to win the game 4-3 with neither pitcher getting the decision.
SAM THULLESEN, COTTAGE HILL CHRISTIAN: Delivered the clutch game-tying hit in the bottom of the seventh inning to force the game with Clarke County into extra innings tied at 6-6. The Warriors, 4-0 on the week, then won in the bottom as the Warriors (14-7) when teammate Jake Williams singled in the winning run. Three of the wins were one-run victories.
BLAKE McKENNA, BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN: Was hit by a pitch with the bass loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning to drive in the winning run as the Lions (10-3) beat Sylacauga 8-7. Down 7-5 in extra innings, the Lions scored three runs without a base hit – but did put together three walks, three hit-by-pitches and a sacrifice fly to pull out the win.
NATE REED, FLORENCE: Singled in Zane Garrett with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift the Falcons to a 4-3 Class 6A, Area 16 win over Hazel Green.
CADEN GRIDER, SHADES VALLEY: Doubled in the tying run to tie Pleasant Grove 4-4, then scored the winning run on a wild pitch for a 5-4 win. He also picked up the victory on the mound.
CHRISTIAN WHITE, CENTRAL-FLORENCE: Had a two-run homer and bases-loaded triple to drive in five runs as Central rallied from a 9-3 deficit in the fourth inning to win 10-9. The Wildcats scored five runs in the fifth inning and two runs in the seventh.
CLAYTEN PUGH, WEST LIMESTONE: With the bases loaded in the sixth inning, Pugh drove in the winning run when he was hit by a pitch as the Wildcats rallied for seven runs in the inning to overcome a 7-1 deficit in the 8-7 win a Brewer.
DAKOTA PEEBLES, AUSTIN: The winning pitcher collected a double, single and five RBIs at the plate as the Black Bears finished the Gulf Coast Classic Spring Break baseball tournament 7-0 with a 12-9 come-from-behind win over Boaz in the finals. Peebles hurled three innings in relief. Coach Tyler Stephenson’s Black Bears (21-5) outscored opponents 68-22 in the seven wins. In an earlier win, Collier Partain hurled a five-inning no-hitter striking out seven to beat Holtville 10-0. He only faced 16 batters with one Black Bears error marring an otherwise perfect game.
KOTY FULTON-TICE, ENTERPRISE: Hurled a four-hit shutout and struck out eight to lead the Wildcats to a 5-0 win over Thompson in the Hits for Heroes Classic played at Enterprise’s Warren Field last weekend. Nathan Light followed with a 4-0 win over South Walton (FL).
SAM MOUNCE, REHOBETH: Went 8-for-9 at the plate, including five hits in the opener, as the Rebels swept Eufaula 19-5 and 12-2. Teammate Chandler Golden was also 7-of-8 in both games. Mounce had a home run, double and three singles and drove in two runs in the first game, and three hits in the nightcap. Golden had three doubles overall and five RBIs.
BRETT URBAN, BROOKS: Led the Lions’ 16-hit attack with four hits, four RBIs and three runs scored as Brooks beat Lexington 17-7.
JOSH HALL, HOMEWOOD: Was 6-of-9 at the plate in four wins on the week with 11 stolen bases, eight runs scored, five walks and three RBIs. Teammate Jake Miller also was 6-of-10 with five runs scored and Crawford Doyle had six hits with three runs scored and four RBIs. The Patriots outscored opponents 41-6 on the week.
TUCKER RHODES, WILSON: Had four hits, including a three-run homer, and drove in seven runs as the Warriors (17-3) beat Deshler 21-6.
KENNETH ADAMS, ATHENS BIBLE: Had four hits, including two doubles, scored four runs and had six RBIs in a 7-0. 14-5 sweep of Phil Campbell.
HOUSTON EDWARDS, HOKES BLUFF: Had two hits and drove in six runs in the Eagles’ 12-0 win over Glencoe.
DALTON ROBINSON, ETOWAH: Led the Blue Devils (17-3) to a 14-10, 9-4 sweep of Benjamin Russell with three hits and two RBIs in the first game and two hits and one RBI in the second game.
DAVIS BURGIN, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: Beat White Plains with an eight-inning 1-0 shutout as the Huskies (19-5) went 5-0 on the week. Burgin walked one and struck out nine. Hewitt also beat Central-Phenix City 11-1, Hartselle 11-0, Oxford 3-2 and John Carroll Catholic 10-0 with Ed Johnson stroking two doubles and a triple on the week to hit .533.
WILL COLLINS, HUEYTOWN: Hurled a 6-0 victory over McAdory and a 12-1 win over Milwaukee Lutheran for Hueytown (13-6). He struck out 11 versus the Jackets and eight versus the Wisconsin visitors.
COLTON LEWIS, VESTAVIA HILLS: tossed a no-hitter and struck out 12 in an 11-1 win over Spain Park.
BRAXTON CHANEY, THOMASVILLE: Hurled a 1-0 shutout win over Satsuma to complete a doubleheader sweep. He struck out 11 and allowed just three hits. The Tigers scored the winning run when Bralen Washington scored from third on a bases-loaded walk. Thomasville slugged 14 hits in a 12-5 win in the first game.
GARRET KENNEDY, WESTBROOK CHRISTIAN: Tossed a five-inning perfect game as the Warriors downed Gaston 28-0. He struck out 12 of the 15 batters he faced. Kennedy also had four hits, two RBIs and two stolen bases.
JACOB HALL, BROOKS: Hurled a five-hitter and struck out 11 to beat Cherokee 4-0. He also collected a double at the plate.
COLE HENRY, FLORENCE: Struck out 11 to lead the Falcons to a 4-3 win over Hazel Green.
SLAYDEN SWENSON, LAUDERDALE COUNTY: Struck out 10 over 6 2/3 innings and also slugged a solo homer as the Tigers nipped Lexington 4-2.
NOAH BARNETT, HACKLEBURG: Pitched a one-hitter, walked three and struck out 11 to lead the Panthers to a 13-1 win over Belgreen. He threw only 85 pitches in the seven-inning game.
JACOB McNAIRY, ATHENS: Pitched a five-hitter and struck out 13 as the Eagles beat Friendship Christian (TN) 9-0 in the Wilson Central (TN) Classic invitational tourney. He also had two hits and drove in three runs. Jack Garvin also hurled a two-hitter and struck out four in a 3-0 shutout over DeKalb County.
MONTGOMERY – The North swept the South 9-3 and 3-2 Tuesday night at Riverwalk Stadium to sweep the all-star baseball competition at the 21st AHSAA All-Star Sports Week.
North-South All-Star competition in softball and boys’ and girls’ soccer was also underway Tuesday night. Boys’ and girls’ cross country, added to the all-star slate this year by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) , will compete on the campus of Auburn University-Montgomery at 7:30 Wednesday morning, and the North-South boys’ and girls’ basketball games will be played at 6 and 8 p.m. at AUM Wednesday night.
North-South volleyball competition will commence at 4 p.m. Thursday at AUM. The 58th North-South Football Game will close out the week of competition Thursday night at 7 at Cramton Bowl.
Outfielder Garrett Bodine of Sparkman had a triple and single and two RBIs in game one for the North and had a game-winning sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh inning of game two to plate the game-winning run. The North trailed 2-1 heading into the final inning of game two but scored twice to take lead. Winning pitcher Christian MacLeod of Huntsville closed out the game facing six batters in the final two innings. He struck out two.
Carson Skipper of Hewitt-Trussville hurled the first three innings for the North while Will Morrison of Cullman and Brody Syer of Oxford combined with MacLeod to limit the South to just three hits overall.
Drew Jennings of Auburn, Joey Wozniak of Northview and Jonah Smith of Sweet Water allowed just three hits combined over the first six innings and struck out six as each hurler worked two innings apiece. Ethan Wilson of Andalusia pitched the final inning and got the loss.
Smith had a double and RBI for the South in game two and Jon Horton of Hale County singled and scored a run.
Catcher Clay Stearns of Mountain Brook had a single and RBI to pace the North.
Calera 6-foot-7 left-hander Jacob Smith hurled the first three innings in game one allowing two hits, two unearned runs and striking out six to get the win. Smith, Hogan Isbell of Colbert County and Garrett Wade of Hartselle combined to strike out 11.
Gabe Shepard of Faith Academy pitched the third inning giving up three runs to get the loss for the South. Starter Herndon Akridge of St. Paul’s Episcopal hurled two innings allowing two hits, two unearned runs and struck out two. McGill-Toolen Catholic’s Eric Toth and Brayden Baggett of Marbury also pitched for the South. Baggett faced just three batters in one inning of work striking out one.
Oneonta’s Brody Moore, son of North Coach Brandon Moore, had two hits, including a double, and two RBIs to pace the North. Garrett Bodine of Sparkman added a triple and single, scored twice and drove in two runs and picked up a run scored and RBI in game two to earn MVP honors for the North. Pelham catcher Will Pearce walked with the bases loaded and finished with two RBIs.
South catcher Slade Gorman of Central-Phenix City and Goshen center fielder Cory Peterson each had one hit and one RBI. Tyler Robertson of Saint James had a hit in each game and played four positions in the field (second base, third base, left and center field) to earn South MVP honors.
Coaches for the South were Chad Smith of LAMP and Tyler Dent of Andalusia. Moore and David Deerman of Jacksonville coached the North.
ALL-STAR PLAYER CHANGES: McKenzie High School wide receiver/defensive back Chris Shuford was added to the South All-Star football roster Monday night and joined the team for practice Tuesday. He will be wearing jersey No. 10 in Thursday night’s 58th North-South Football Game at Cramton Bowl. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
SEC BASKETBALL COACHES HIGHLIGHT COACHING SCHOOL: The AHSAA Summer Conference’s Coaching School moves into full swing Wednesday with football, basketball, track & field, wrestling, volleyball and cheerleading getting underway. University of Alabama men’s coach Avery Johnson, Auburn coach Bruce Pearl and Georgia coach Mark Fox, plus 2017 ACC Coach of the Year Josh Pastner of Georgia Tech, headline the basketball clinician list for Wednesday.
Some of the state’s top high school football coaches will address the large contingent of AHSAA member school football coaches. Paul Benefield, 77-6 in this decade for the Fyffe Red Devils, will discuss how to succeed with two-way players. The Class 2A defending state champs finished 15-0 last season outscoring opponents 700-113. Benefield is 255-52 and has never had a losing season in 26 years as a head coach. Fred Yancey, who has compiled a 255-91 record at Briarwood and is 296-111-1, will discuss “Being a Professional at all Times.”
FCA LUNCHEON FEATURES DAN REEVES: Former Denver Broncos head football coach Dan Reeves will be the keynote speaker at Thursday’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes Luncheon at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center at noon. The luncheon is free to attendees but is by reservation only.
NFHS NETWORK: All all-star competition will be webcast live over the NFHS TV Network. Links and instructions on how to subscribe can be found at www.ahsaa.com. The All-Star Football Game will also be broadcast live by the AHSAA Radio Network.
The NFHS Network will start a special live-stream series entitled “30 Plays in 30 Days” over the NFHS Network featuring a top highlight from around the country each day beginning July 19. The AHSAA will will be featured throughout the 30 days – including Wednesday, August 4, August 6, August 13, August 14, and August 17. The schools featured will include Briarwood Christian, Blount, Prattville, Gadsden City, Madison Academy and Russellville.
AHSAA SUMMER CONFERENCE APP: The week’s festivities can be found on the new AHSAA Mobile App, which can be downloaded free at Apple and Google stores online or by going to the following link: https://admin.mycaboodleevents.com/event/detail/79/ahsaa-2017-ahsaa-summer-conference
HOOVER – Decatur’s Tanner Burns and Westminster Christian’s Annie Willis were named Mr. Baseball and Miss Softball, respectively, by the Alabama Sports Writers Association on Sunday night at the group’s 46th annual convention at the Hyatt-Wynfrey in Hoover.
In addition, Mobile Christian’s Ethan Hearn was named the recipient of the ASWA’s Jimmy Smothers Courage Award. Named after the long-time sports editor of the Gadsden Times and guiding force in the ASWA, it recognizes his commitment to local and high school sports coverage, and honors a high school athlete who has overcome adversity and shown immense courage.
Burns, expected to be a high choice in the Major League Baseball player draft this week, was selected the ASWA’s Class 6A first-team shortstop and the 6A Player of the Year when the group’s prep committee met last week to select its all-state team. Burns was also the 6A hitter of the year in 2016 as a utility player, a first-team pitcher in 2015 and first-team designated hitter as a freshman.
In 37 games for the 32-5 Red Raiders, the senior hit .467 with 18 homers, 46 RBI, 49 hits and 56 runs. He walked 29 times and struck out just six times. As a right-handed pitcher, Burns went 10-1 with a 0.88 ERA and 116 strikeouts against 22 walks, while allowing eight earned runs in 64 innings. The Auburn signee helped Decatur to the quarterfinals – where the team was ranked 32nd in the nation before its loss to Cullman.
Willis was the Pitcher and Player of the Year in Class 4A in helping her team to a runner-up finish and a 51-4-1 record. With 543 strikeouts this year, she finished her pitching career with 1,975. This year, she went 43-3-1 and had an ERA of 0.40. She pitched five no-hitters, three perfect games and 21 shutouts. Willis allowed 44 walks, 90 hits and 15 earned runs in 259 2/3 innings.
The senior hit .464 this year with 12 homers, 64 RBI, 70 hits, scored 40 runs, walked 23 times and struck out just nine times. She was a first-team all-state pitcher as a junior and sophomore and was honorable mention as a freshman. The Troy signee helped the Wildcats to a high-water mark of 14th in the country.
Hearn was honored for his courage in the face of tremendous adversity. The sophomore returned from football practice on a Thursday night last November to find his mother dead of an apparent suicide. Though his teammates and coaches rushed to his house to comfort him that night, few expected him to make the trip to Oakman early the next morning for the team’s Class 3A quarterfinal playoff game. Not only did Hearn make the trip, he made 8.5 tackles in a Mobile Christian victory and eventually helped power the Leopards to the title game.
ASWA SUPER 10 VOTING
(First place votes in parentheses)
Tanner Burns, Decatur (9) 117
Bubba Thompson, McGill-Toolen (2) 87
Jacob Heatherly, Cullman 80
Cody Greenhill, Russellville 66
Sam Praytor, Helena 57
Connor Jednat, UMS-Wright 39
Taylor Hayes, Piedmont 37
Jonah Smith, Sweet Water 17
Brock Guffey, Hoover 13
Drew Williamson, T.R. Miller 11
MR. BASEBALL WINNERS
2017: Tanner Burns, Decatur
2016: Owen Lovell, Cullman
2015: Brax Garrett, Florence
2014: Cody Reed, Ardmore
2013: Keegan Thompson, Cullman
2012: Mikey White, Spain Park
2011: Daniel Koger, Huntsville
2010: Daryl Norris, Fairhope
2009: Luke Bole, Hartselle
2008: Tyler Stovall, Hokes Bluff
2007: John David Smelser, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa
2006: Del Howell, American Chr.
2005: Colby Rasmus, Russell Co.
2004: Patrick White, Daphne
2003: Joey Doan, Baker
2002: Allen Ponder, Lee-Scott Acad.
2001: Eric West, Southside-Gadsden
2000: Wade Miller, G.W. Long
1999: Matthew Maniscalco, Oxford
Annie Willis, Westminster Chr. (8) 115
Jenna Ergle, Sumiton Chr. (3) 105
Kendall Beth Sides, Sumiton Chr. 73
Mary Katherine Tedder, Spain Park 70
Abbey Latham, Demopolis 56
Josie Page, Washington Co. 49
Lacey Fincher, Faith Acad. 39
Zoie Emrick, Buckhorn 24
Alex Wilcox, Brantley 23
Amy Woodham, Slocomb 17
MISS SOFTBALL WINNERS
2017: Annie Willis, Westminster Chr.
2016: Ashlee Swindle, Curry
2015: Lacey Sumerlin, Baker
2014: Madi Moore, Winfield
2013: Kasey Cooper, Dothan
2012: Haylie McCleney, Mortimer Jordan
2011: Shelby Holley, Pisgah
2010: Leigh Streetman, Hueytown
2009: Hilary Phillips, Ider
2008: Lindsey Dunlap, Hueytown
2007: Whitney Larsen, Vestavia Hills
2006: Anna Thompson, Grissom
2005: Tara Donaldson, Baker
2004: Anna Thompson, Grissom
2003: Holly Currie, Pisgah