Area players earn All-State honors
by LaVonte Young
East Central Alabama was well represented in the 2013 Alabama Sports Writers Association All-State baseball team.

Seven players from the area earned All-State honors, with three of them earning first team honors.

Childersburg had two players to earn All-State honors in Class 4A. Reeves Brashear earned a first team honor in Class 4A as a second baseman. He played a major role in the Tigers going 32-8 this season and earning a trip to the second round of the AHSAA playoffs. The junior had a huge year off the mound and at the plate for Childersburg. Brashear had a batting average close to .500 and he had an ERA under two.

“I think it is awesome,” Childersburg head coach Chad Slaten said. “I think it is a great honor to be among the best in the state. I hope he understands that and appreciates it. His teammates helped him get it and we are just tickled to death. Anytime you get an All-State player it is really a big honor and he is well deserving of it. He had a really good year.”

Brashear said making the team wouldn’t have been possible without teammates and the coaching staff. The junior believes making the team is something that he always wanted to accomplish.

“It has been a lot of people in Childersburg making it,” Brashear said. “It is a big honor and to be apart of that group is a real big honor.”

Zach Lightsey earned a spot on the honorable mention team as a utility player. Lightsey earned Player of the Year for Class 4A-5A in Talladega County. Off the mound he had an ERA of 1.42; at the dish he had a batting average around .500.

“He made it as a sophomore,” Slaten said. “Zach, his numbers speak for themselves. He had a great year for us. To make that as a sophomore is really saying a lot, but he deserves it. He put forth effort this year and his game has gotten so much better the last couple of years because of his hard work. That is real big for him and we are really proud of him.”

This is the first time the Tigers had two players to make the All-State team since their championship season in 2007. Cole Limbaugh was the last player to make the ASWA All-State team in 2009.

With both of his All-State players returning, Slaten believes next season could be special.

“This is the first time that we have had some underclassmen make it, which means that they are coming back,” Slaten said. “I think that shows that the future for us is really bright if they continue to work and get better. I really like our chances next year. I think we have a really good chance of having a really special year next year.”

Munford’s Clay UpChurch earned first team honors as an outfielder in Class 4A. He had a batting average of .571, which was one of the top batting averages in the state. He also led Munford with a .571 batting average with a home run and 28 RBIs. Upchurch also stole 16 bases out 16 attempts.

“Clay is well deserving for the honor,” Munford head coach Noel Stephens said. “His stats speak for themselves. He’s an all-around ball player that gives 110 percent all the time. He’s also a leader both on the field and off. I hate that he’s a senior, but at the same time I’m excited and proud of all the accomplishments he has earned especially the honor of All-state.”

UpChurch is the first player from Munford to make the All-State team in 14 seasons. Chris Stephens made the team in 1999 as a pitcher.

“That’s what I was looking for when I came to the plate, I was looking to hit,” UpChurch said. “I didn’t want to walk, I didn’t like walking. They had me hitting in the four hole, so it was always runners in scoring position, so I knew I had to do my job and get those runners in. I was looking to hit when I came up to bat.”

This season, the Lions went 14-14 and made a trip to the first round of the playoffs. UpChurch said he didn’t think he had good enough season to make the All-State team.

“Me and my team were aiming for the playoffs,” he said. ”We made it to the playoffs and were aiming to go deep in the playoffs but we fell short in the first round. I just wanted to have a good season in my senior year. I guess I had a pretty good season, but I didn’t think it was good enough for All-State.”

The AISA Class AA state champions, the Coosa Valley Academy Rebels, had four players to earn All-State honors.

Michael Mims earned first team honors for CVA.

“He was my starting centerfielder and he started every game for me,” CVA head coach Tyler Dent said. “He was the kind of player that every coach wants. He was scrappy; he did what he was told to do. He is a man of few words. He doesn’t talk a lot, but when he is asked to do something he does it. He is the type of player that every coach wants. He is well deserving of that. He batted .571 in the playoffs; you couldn’t keep him off the bases. He was my lead off guy. If he went, we all went and he did that for sure.”

The Rebels also had three players to earn spots on the AISA honorable mention team: Jake Carter, Allan Logan and designated hitter Garrett McMillan. Logan earned MVP honors in the Class AA state championship game as he drove in the game-winning run.

“Jake, Allan and Garrett are three seniors and three leaders,” Dent said. “Jake and Allan grew up a lot throughout the year. Garrett was our starting catcher. All three guys are what you want as a coach of a team. Senior leadership, Jake, Garrett and Allan, you couldn’t ask for any better, especially in the playoffs. Those guys really stepped up, Jake and Allan especially on the mound. Every time they stepped on the mound they continually threw strikes. Garrett is a senior catcher and leader. You couldn’t ask for more out of all three of those guys.”
© 2013