Prep Baseball Report

PBR North AL Showdown: Preview

PBR Alabama Staff

We are excited to announce the first-annual PBR North AL Showdown, an event that consists of 9 quality high school programs in the state of Alabama for the 2023 high school season. The PBR North AL Showdown will begin on Thursday, March 16th and conclude on Saturday, March 18th at James Clemens HS and Hazel Green HS, the two local host sites.

This field of 9 high school teams has some of the state's top prospects across the board in various classifications, and also consists of last year's Class 5A State Champion (Russellville).


+ Athens Golden Eagles

Head Coach: Chuck Smith
Team Twitter: @AHSBaseball_1
Week 3 Ranking: N/A
2023 Record: 8-6
Classification, Area No.: Class 6A, Area 15
  • Athens vs. Hazel Green (Thursday, 4:00 PM, Hazel Green HS)
  • Athens vs. Father Ryan (TN) (Thursday, 6:30 PM, Hazel Green HS)
  • Athens vs. Russellville (Friday, 4:00 PM, James Clemens HS)
  • Athens vs. James Clemens (Friday, 6:30 PM, James Clemens HS)

LHP Logan Mooney (Alabama-Huntsville signee, 2023) will be their ace one again this season, and has supposedly added a few more ticks in velocity after working hard in the off-season and adding weight to his frame. Mooney has excellent feel for his three-pitch mix and can throw all for strikes in any count. Following right behind Mooney should be RHP/OF Riley Miller (Alabama-Birmingham, 2024), who will look to be one of their top arms in the rotation as well as a force in the middle of their lineup. During his sophomore season, Miller hit over. 300 in batting average and led the team with 4 HR's. He'll be asked to do the same this spring while also throwing more innings on the mound. After being hurt for parts of the season, SS Jack Elliott (2024) should be back to full-strength this spring and is expected to help lead the charge offensively. Elliott has served as the Golden Eagles' starting shortstop ever since his freshman season and will look to take that next step this spring. He's a slick-fielding shortstop that can spray the ball to all fields with line drives from the left side of the plate. Another junior prospect who played an integral role during his sophomore season was OF Caiden Dumas (2024), who led the team in batting average and stolen bases a season ago. Dumas will look to build off of last year's success and elevate his role as one of the leaders for this team this spring. RHP/SS Austin Uptain (2024) is another player who has seen a jump in terms of velocity on the mound, as he ran his fastball up to 90 mph at this January's Huntsville Preseason ID. The uncommitted junior will look to insert himself into the rotation this spring while seeing some time on the infield, as well. C Preston Haney (2023) and RHP Raiden Pressnell (2023) are two seniors that will both be counted on for production a variety of ways. Haney has gotten a lot stronger in the off-season, while Pressnell is a strike-thrower that should eat up a lot of innings. RHP/INF Grayson Hays (2024) is another junior right-hander that will see more innings on the mound this spring. Hays works mostly in the low-80's with his fastball while pounding the zone with all three offerings.

+ Bob Jones Patriots

Head Coach: Jared Smith
Team Twitter: @BJHSBaseball
Week 3 Ranking: 7A No. 2
2023 Record: 15-4
Classification, Area No.: Class 7A, Area 8
  • Bob Jones vs. Hazel Green (Saturday, 11:30 AM, Hazel Green HS)
  • Bob Jones vs. Corner (Saturday, 2:00 PM, Hazel Green HS)

The Bob Jones Patriots should once again be very solid this spring after sweeping through their area a season ago and reaching the Elite 8 in Class 7A.  With multiple frontline arms returning back and some key offensive pieces back in the lineup, the Patriots look to be a strong contender in the state's largest classification. RHP/3B Braden Booth (Mississippi State, 2024) and RHP Sam Mitchell (Alabama, 2023) are the two biggest names returning for the Patriots and will once again anchor their pitching staff. Booth, a Top-5 prospect in the junior class in AL, possesses a dynamic two-way skill set using a low-90's fastball and a gap-to-gap power at the plate, while Mitchell, who is ranked inside the Top-20 in the senior class in AL, is a big 6-foot-6, 210-pounder that has a fastball that operates in upper-80's with solid secondaries to compliment. SS/RHP Nate Mayfield (Coastal Alabama-East CC, 2023), OF/RHP Sammy Vander Hill (Virginia Military Institute, 2023), and OF/RHP CJ Bush (Coastal Alabama-East CC, 2023) are a trio of seniors that were key offensive producers a season ago, while OF/2B Jacob Pearl (2024) will be solid addition to their lineup this spring. In addition to Booth and Mitchell on the mound, LHP Benjamin Arn (2023) and RHP Tanner Hermesch (2025) will also throw meaningful innings on the mound for the Patriots. C/RHP Zack Johnson (2025) is one of their top younger prospects in the program, and will look to make his impact this spring.

+ Corner Yellow Jackets

Head Coach: Caleb Hoyle
Team Twitter: @Corner_Baseball
Week 3 Ranking: 4A No. 6
2023 Record: 5-5
Classification, Area No.: Class 4A, Area 10
  • Corner vs. Father Ryan (TN) (Friday, 4:00 PM, Hazel Green HS)
  • Corner vs. Etowah (Friday, 6:30 PM, Hazel Green HS)
  • Corner vs. Bob Jones (Saturday, 2:00 PM, Hazel Green HS)
  • Corner vs. Hazel Green (Saturday, 4:30 PM, Hazel Green HS)

Starting it off, RHP/3B Brendan Conner (2024) is fresh off a stellar performance at this month's North AL Preseason All-State, where he was named a top performer for his offensive ability and stuff on the mound. Conner, a top uncommitted junior in AL and former PBR Future Gamer, has pitched in some big games ever since his freshman year and has been a key offensive piece in the middle of their lineup. Expecting an even bigger junior campaign, ran his fastball up to 91.3 mph with strikes with all secondary offerings and registered exit velocities north of 100 mph during his round of BP. The next returner who has already made a big impact on the Yellow Jackets' program is RHP/1B Brodie Dunlap (Alabama-Birmingham recruit, 2024). Dunlap is another former PBR Future Gamer who enjoyed a big year on the summer circuit and capped it off committing to Alabama-Birmingham just a few months ago. The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder has also seen his fastball get in the low-90's with a four-pitch arsenal using his strong, physical frame. He also is a physical presence in the right-handed box and will be expected to provide some production offensively hitting in the heart of the order once again. Another uncommitted junior who will be looked upon to help lead the charge both on the mound and at the plate will be RHP/OF Eli Cannon (2024). Cannon, another uncommitted junior ranked inside the Top-35 in the class in AL, has really made significant strides on the mound and has a quality three-pitch mix with a fastball that can get into the upper-80's on the mound. Returning as another key piece to this Yellow Jackets' program will be C Cole Rasbury (2024), who seemed to be the heart beat for them behind the plate during his sophomore campaign. One of their few seniors on this squad will be OF Gavin Brown (2023), who is an extremely athletic player that should hit near the top of the order once again. Also looking to provide some power in the heart of their order this spring will be C/DH Cade Rouse (2023), who is also a two-time All-State defensive lineman on the gridiron. Rouse will look to have a senior junior campaign at the plate and be a big part to their offense. Another upperclassmen who is expected to contribute as a two-way player this spring will be INF/RHP Carson Hurley (2024). 

+ Etowah Blue Devils

Head Coach: Blake Bone
Team Twitter: @EtowahBaseball2
Week 3 Ranking: 4A No. 2
2023 Record: 7-5
Classification, Area No.: Class 4A, Area 14
  • Etowah vs. Russellville (Thursday, 6:30 PM, James Clemens HS)
  • Etowah vs. Corner (Friday, 6:30 PM, Hazel Green HS)
  • Etowah vs. Sparkman (Saturday. 2:00 PM, James Clemens HS)
  • Etowah vs. James Clemens (Saturday, 4:30 PM, James Clemens HS)

OF/LHP Caleb Freeman (Snead State CC signee, 2023) will once again be their leader at the plate and on the mound after a strong junior campaign. Freeman is a hard-nosed type player that is a dynamic athlete at the top of the Blue Devils' order. 1B/RHP Trace Thompson (2023) had a big series in the Class 4A State Finals at the plate and looks poised for another strong season offensively hitting in the heart of the order. Thompson is a strong, physical right-hander hitter with power, and has signed a football scholarship to play at The Cumberlands. Returning to the infield, SS/RHP Hunter Humphries (Gadsden State CC signee, 2023) and INF Andrew Pierce (2023) are two more viable options in the Blue Devils' order. Humphries and Pierce both had strong seasons in 2022 as juniors, and will look to build off of that success this spring in their final season of their high school career. Also bringing back valuable experience to this year's team will be C Briggs Freeman (Snead State CC signee, 2023), INF/RHP Jameson Scissum (2025), and C Braden Boatwright (2023) after being a key piece on last year's team. Freeman will look to provide senior leadership this spring and be a tough out in their lineup offensively, while Scissum is an exciting prospect that played an integral role both at the plate and on the mound last spring as a freshman.

+ Father Ryan Fightin' Irish (TN)

Head Coach: Mike Mascari
Team Twitter: @Baseball_FRHS
Preseason Ranking: N/A
2023 Record: 0-0
Classification, Area No.: DII-AA Middle
  • Father Ryan (TN) vs. Athens (Thursday, 6:30 PM, Hazel Green HS)
  • Father Ryan (TN) vs. Corner (Friday, 4:00 PM, Hazel Green HS)
  • Father Ryan (TN) vs. James Clemens (Saturday, 9:00 AM, James Clemens HS)
  • Father Ryan (TN) vs. Sparkman (Saturday, 11:30 AM, James Clemens HS)

The Fightin' Irish return a strong core of seniors to this year's team and will look for those players to help lead the way both at the plate and on the mound. Some of those players bring back valuable experience from the past couple of years and have others returning from injury that left them sidelined during the 2022 season. They have some depth on the mound and will rely on timely hitting and fundamental defense as they begin their season this weekend. SS Andrew Gaughan (2023) is one of those seniors coming back and will look to anchor the shortstop positions and be a key piece in the middle of their order. OF/RHP Caleb Coffey (Spalding signee, 2023) and RHP Lawson Ryan (Christian Brothers signee, 2023) are two more seniors that are expected to help carry the load in a variety of ways, and will look to kickoff their season on a strong note this weekend. LHP Matthew Shorey (2024) will also be a solid option on their pitching staff and will be asked to throw some important innings this spring. The Fightin' Irish have some other key pieces on their squad, and should once again be a competitive club this spring.

+ HAzel Green Trojans

Head Coach: Mitchell Wright
Team Twitter: @HGHS_Baseball
Week 3 Ranking: 6A No. 9
2023 Record: 8-8
Classification, Area No.: Class 6A, Area 16
  • Hazel Green vs. Sparkman (Thursday, 1:30 PM, Hazel Green HS)
  • Hazel Green vs. Athens (Thursday, 4:00 PM, Hazel Green HS)
  • Hazel Green vs. Bob Jones (Saturday, 11:30 AM, Hazel Green HS)
  • Hazel Green vs. Corner (Saturday, 4:30 PM, Hazel Green HS)

INF/RHP Tarpley Priest (2024) should be one of their leading hitters like he was a season ago during his sophomore campaign. The corner infielder has shown the ability to hit for both average and power from the left side of the plate, and should also throw some quality innings on the mound this spring. Two seniors that seem to be the glue of this team are SS/RHP Blake Hall (Gadsden State CC signee, 2023) and C/RHP Parker Hall (Northeast Mississippi CC, 2023), as both were key pieces to last year's playoff run. Blake is a do-it-all type player that will be one of their better players this spring, while his brother Parker is a solid defensive catcher that has a great baseball IQ with some power hitting from the right side. Both are expected to be two of the top leaders for this team in 2023. Returning to the top of the rotation on the mound, RHP/OF Jackson Hunter (Alabama recruit, 2024) is a Top-10 prospect in the junior class in AL that will look to build off of a solid sophomore campaign. Hunter will operate around the 88-90 mph range with good action to his slider and changeup, and is an elite competitor that should also see time in the outfield and in the lineup when he is not pitching. A pair of seniors that will look to make their impact both at the plate and on the mound this spring will be INF/LHP Jackson Baeder (2023) and OF/RHP Rayce Craver (2023). Baeder should play first base and outfield defensively while throwing three pitches for strikes on the mound, and Craver should be their everyday center fielder in addition to working in the low-to-mid-80's on the mound with a big, sharp breaking ball. Another upperclassmen that should see plenty of innings on the mound will be LHP Blake Saltzman (2024). The southpaw has a funky delivery with some deception while pitching in the low-80's with strikes using a true slider and fading changeup. OF Jaden Charles (2025) is a premium athlete that can "go get it" in the outfield using 6.63-speed. He also has a strong arm from the outfield to go along with some pop hitting from the right side of the plate. 

+ James Clemens Jets

Head Coach: Johnny Johnson
Team Twitter: @JCJetsBaseball
Week 3 Ranking: 7A "Just Outside the Top-10"
2023 Record: 9-7
Classification, Area No.: Class 7A, Area 8
  • James Clemens vs. Russellville (Thursday, 4:00 PM, James Clemens HS)
  • James Clemens vs. Athens (Friday, 6:30 PM, James Clemens HS)
  • James Clemens vs. Father Ryan (TN) (Saturday, 9:00 AM, James Clemens HS)
  • James Clemens vs. Etowah (Saturday, 4:30 PM, James Clemens HS)

SS Andrew Lawrence (East Tennessee State signee, 2023) returns as one of their top middle-of-the-order hitters this spring after a strong junior campaign. He will be one of their leaders with valuable experience under his belt at the varsity level. Two more seniors that will be sure provide some power and run-scoring ability are 1B Nathan Guyse (2023) and C Colten Payton (Wallace-Hanceville CC signee, 2023). Guyse is one of the top uncommitted hitters in the state, while Payton is another power threat in the middle of the order and is coming off a strong showing at January's North AL Preseason All-State. INF Ty Marsh (2025) is another hitter that has gotten off to a really hot start this spring. Looking to lead the charge on the mound, the Jets have a few options returning that will look to continue to throw significant innings and see their roles increase this spring. RHP Grant Gage (Wallace-Hanceville CC, 2023) is one of those right-handers that will throw important innings for the Jets using his mid-to-upper-80's fastball and solid secondary offerings that he fills the zone up with. RHP/INF Luke Davenport (Auburn recruit, 2024) and LHP/1B Satchel Wheeler (2024) is a pair of juniors who will also be key pitchers the Jets will rely on this spring. Davenport has worked up into the upper-80's with his fastball, while Wheeler has shown excellent pitchability with quality offerings, as well. Both of them will also have a chance to provide production offensively, as well. A couple other upperclassmen that return to this year's roster are INF Francisco Ramirez (2024) and OF David Sharp (2024). Ramirez is a contact-type hitter with sure-hands defensively, while Sharp played some significant innings last spring, but will unfortunately miss the season due to injury. Some more upperclassmen that will fight for playing time and provide depth this spring will be RHP/OF Hunter Harris (Columbia State CC signee, 2023), OF Brooks Kulavich (2023), RHP Mason Busch (2024), OF Aidan Cook (2024), C JT Johnson (2024), OF Carson Loosier (2024), and RHP Cade McComb (2024).

+ Russellville Golden Tigers

Head Coach: Jess Smith
Team Twitter: @RussellvilleBB
Week 3 Ranking: 5A "Just Outside the Top-10"
2023 Record: 6-6
Classification, Area No.: Class 5A, Area 14
  • Russellville vs. James Clemens (Thursday, 4:00 PM, James Clemens HS)
  • Russellville vs. Etowah (Thursday, 6:30 PM, James Clemens HS)
  • Russellville vs. Sparkman (Friday, 1:30 PM, James Clemens HS)
  • Russellville vs. Athens (Friday, 4:00 PM, James Clemens HS)

The defending Class 5A State Champions coming into the 2023 season looking to replace some key players from last year's team that graduated, but seem to have plenty of talent on their roster and should once again be a competitive club this spring. RHP Banks Langston (Northwest Shoals CC signee, 2023) returns for his senior season as the ace of the pitching staff and has shown the ability to run his fastball into the low-90's in the preseason. He has a wipeout slider that tunnels well off of his fastball, and creates a tough matchup for any hitter he faces. SS Brandt Cummings (2024) will be asked to help lead the offense this spring and should hit near the top of the order for the Golden Tigers. C Shayden Romans (2023) is another upperclassmen that brings back some experience after playing a role on last year's team, and looks poised for a strong senior campaign. RHP/1B Brayden Spurgeon (Northwest Shoals CC signee, 2023) and LHP/1B Logan White (2023) are a pair of dual-threat players that have logged some important innings over the past couple of years, and will also be looked upon to hit in the middle of the order, as well. The Golden Tigers will rely on some other players for contributions this spring, and should once again be a quality club in 2023.

+ Sparkman Senators

Head Coach: Jason Brewer
Team Twitter: @Sparkman_RBI
Week 3 Ranking: 7A "Just Outside the Top-10"
2023 Record: 10-6
Classification, Area No.: Class 7A, Area 7
  • Sparkman vs. Hazel Green (Thursday, 1:30 PM, Hazel Green HS)
  • Sparkman vs. Russellville (Friday, 1:30 PM, James Clemens HS)
  • Sparkman vs. Father Ryan (TN) (Saturday, 11:30 AM, James Clemens HS)
  • Sparkman vs. Etowah (Saturday, 2:00 PM, James Clemens HS)

3B/RHP Ryan Strachan (Northwest Shoals CC signee, 2023) has already had an outstanding high school career for the Senators and comes back for his senior season as a starter for the fourth-consecutive year. The senior right-hander is a primary run-producer offensively and should be one of their key arms in their rotation, as well. Two more multi-year starters that are expected to play big roles at the plate and on the mound are RHP/1B Carter Wells (Northeast Mississippi CC signee, 2023) and RHP/UTL Jacob Haley (South Alabama signee, 2023). Wells has thrown the most innings on the mound for the Senators over the past few years while also possessing pull-side power offensively, and Haley looks to be back to full-strength on the mound after missing last year's season on the bump. Both pitchers can work their fastball's into the upper-80's and will be key arms that should lead this pitching rotation. Three-year starter UTL Jack Buening (Calhoun CC signee, 2023) has delivered for the Senators in some big spots offensively over the past few years, and will once again look to help lead the charge in the heart of their order. From the right side, the senior has power to all fields and doesn't get cheated with any of his swings. INF Nick Causey (2023) is another top-of-the-order hitter returning to this year's roster. The senior right-hander will be a spark plug offensively while also serving as one of their leaders in the clubhouse. Sparkman will rely on a heavy group of upperclassmen to lead this year's team and are expecting on some of those players to step into larger roles this season in order for them to be successful. OF Chris Walker (Roane State CC signee, 2023) is an athletic outfielder that can "go get it" defensively and was ranked inside the Top-5 in OBP last season as a junior. RHP Ethan Clark (Calhoun CC signee, 2023) was their top arm out of the bullpen last spring using an upper-80's fastball with a plus changeup and will look to build off of last season's success. Another quality arm in their rotation will be LHP Cade Collins (2023) after seeing some time on the mound last spring. He will look to expand on last year's season using a low-to-mid-80's fastball and solid secondaries. A pair of juniors that will look to once again play integral roles on this year's team after experiencing success a season ago are RHP/3B Ryan Everly (2024) and C Wyatt Shears (2024). Everly tossed the third-most amount of innings on last year's staff and features an mid-to-upper-80's fastball, while Shears earned a starting job last spring and handles all of the Senators' pitchers well behind the plate.


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