Childersburg leads 4A-5A All County baseball team
by LAVONTE YOUNG
The Childersburg Tigers had one of their best seasons in school history in 2013.

The Tigers won 32 games this season, which was the second-most number of wins in school history.

Childersburg’s goal of playing for the state championship fell short as they fell to Beauregard in the second round of the AHSAA Class 4A playoffs.

For their efforts the Tigers had nine players to earn All County honors as well as the Class 4A-5A Player and Co-Coach of the Year.

“The best thing you can say about that first team is that they are all going to be back with me next year,” Childersburg head coach Chad Slaten said. “That is what is great. When we got beat out in the playoffs, I was talking to them, and I told them if there is a bright spot we get to do this again next year. It is great that they made first team All-County and it is well deserved. It’s a lot of talent in our county this year. For those guys to be on the All-County team it’s a reflection of their hard work and I am proud of them. But I am more proud of the fact that we are getting them back next year.”

Zach Lightsey earned Class 4A-5A Player of the Year honors. Lightsey threw three shutouts and he had an ERA of 1.42 off the mound this season for the Tigers. He had a batting average of .490. Lightsey led the Tigers in most categories of hitting and pitching.

“I helped coach their All Star team when they were 12 years old,” Slaten said. ”We knew that we had a bunch of real good kids coming. I told my wife then that Zach is going to be a special player. It is several of them that I felt that could have gotten Player of the Year off our team. I have known for a long time that we really had a good group coming. Coaching them when they were 12 and Zach was one of them that I really going to have a good team. He pitched it really well and hit it really well. He played good defense, if there is a Player of the Year he is definitely the one that should have gotten it. I don’t think any one in the county had the type of year that he had doing three different things: hitting, defense and pitching. He led us led us most categories hitting and pitching and that is strong considering the line up that we have and some of the batting averages that we had.”

The Tigers had six players to earn first team honors. Reeves Brasher has a stellar junior campaign for the Childersburg. Brashear had an ERA of below two on the season. He will participate in the AHSAA North-South All Star game on July 15.

Alex Bentley also had an ERA below two for the Tigers. Will Donahoo, Peyton Logon, Trevor Bates, and Justin Baker earned first team honor, while Jamel Roston, Walker Holmes and Ryan Garrett earned spots on the honorable mention team.

Slaten said that getting Co-Coach of the Year would have been possible if it wasn’t for his players.

“It is about the kids,” Slaten said. “I’ve always said that any kind of coaching awards means that you have good players. We definitely have good players. I thank for my players for getting Coach of the Year, because it is because of them. 32 wins are second most in school history, so they should be proud of that. We have had a bunch of good teams to come through here and for them to get 32 wins they should pat themselves on the back because they had a really good year.”

The Sylacauga Aggies had another successful season under head coach Michael Gibbs. The Aggies went 23-12 on the season; they won the County Tournament and the Lake Martin Classic this spring. Sylacauga fell to the top team in Class 5A Homewood in three games in the first round of the AHSAA playoffs.

This was the first time that we won two tournaments since I could remember, Gibbs said. “We won the County Tournament back there in February. We had a good performance out all of all our kids to be able to do that. Then, we turned around at Lake Martin we were able to play in the Final Four. Once we got there our kids really stepped up the last two ball games. We won the Lake Martin Classic for the first time in many years. Two tournament titles are big and we went 23-12. I don’t know how many of us expected us to win that many games. Obviously, your goal is o win. Our kids did a good job of playing hard and working hard on a daily bases.

For their efforts the Aggies had 11 players land spots on the All County baseball team including six first team selections.

Will Green, Allen Wilson, Austin Masters, Brooks Jackson, Keith Roberson and Justin Hickman earned first team honors for Sylacauga.

Zach Pearson, Hunter Johns, Stephen Strickland, Clay Wesson and Tanner Cleveland were selected to the honorable mention team.

“We had a very good year and the guys that on the All County list certainly had a lot to do with it,” Gibbs said. “We won a bunch of games and played very well together. I am proud of all of them for being recognized. I am glad to have most of them coming back next year. I am just really pleased the way they performed this year all up and down the batting order.”

Gibbs earned County Co-Coach of the Year honors.

“It is just a reflection of the players that we had,” Gibbs said. “You are only as good as your players are. We like to coach and we like to coach them hard and to the best of our ability. The players had more to do with this than I did. You don’t get recognized to much as a coach, but when you do it is just a reflection of what your players were able to do and how well they were buying to what you were trying to coach and teach and they way you played. It is more of a reflection of what they did more than what I did.”

The Munford Lions had a solid season with a 14-14 record and they also earned a trip to the AHSAA playoffs in Class 4A.

Munford had seven players to earn spots on the All County team including two players to earn first team honors.

Blake Haynie and Clay Upchurch for the Lions. Upchurch led Munford with a .571 batting average with a home run and 28 RBIs. Upchurch also stole 16 bases out 16 attempts.

“Upchurch is an all around leader,” Stephens said. ”He hustles, he is a motivator, and he hates to lose. He had a 28 consecutive at bats of reaching base. Clay was the center fielder and has excellent speed. He makes big catches.”

Haynie had a stellar season for the Lions. The senior had a .487 batting average, which was second on the team. He also recorded two home runs, and 22 RBIs.

“I am definitely going to miss Blake’s bat,” Stephens said. “Clay had a better average, but Blake hit for power. When we needed a critical hit, he would come up and get the hit. Against Lincoln, he hit the homerun to beat them. Blake is actually a third baseman and I had to move him to catcher this year. He did a superb job of taking that role as catcher.”

The Lions had five players to earn positions on the honorable mention team: Brett Haynie, Tranas Patterson, Dean Ponder, Logan Kirk and Michael James.

The Lincoln Golden Bears had three players to earn All-County honors. Colton Pate and Logan Sims earned first team honors, while Greg Stephens earned honorable mention honors.

Talladega had two players to earn All-County honors. Zach Spratlin earned first team honors. Spratlin finished the season with a 3.2 ERA while logging 56 innings pitched, with 56 strikeouts and 30 walks. At the plate, he had a batting average of .451, while earning 19 hits and 10 RBIs. Southern Union signee Matt Bishop earned honorable mention honors. Bishop had a batting average of.465 with six home runs, 23 RBIs and 18 stolen bases. He had 34 hits on the season. He finished his last game off the mound. He threw a no-hitter against Winterboro.

The county coaches in classification 4A-5A selected the All County team.

© 2013