C’burg’s Bentley makes Alabama All-Star team
by LaVonte Young
Childersburg’s Alex Bentley was selected to the 2013 Alabama Baseball Coaches Association 2014 Alabama All-Star team.

The team consists of the top prospects from the 2014 class.

The rising senior thanks his head coach for pushing him to try out for the team.

“Everybody was talking about going to Snead to tryout for the team at Troy,” Bentley said. “I wasn’t going to do it, but Coach Slaten pushed me to do it because he felt that I could make the team. I told him ‘OK I will do it because you think I can.’ He sort of just talked me into it. I signed up and went. I threw the hardest I have ever thrown from the outfield and I got picked. I was excited because I was the only one from my school to make it and I didn’t think I was going to make it.”

The Alabama All-Stars will play Tennessee and Florida today in Atlanta.

The left-handed pitcher took advantage of the opportunity he earned while in Troy. Bentley was dominant off the mound as he only allowed one hit in the 10 batters he faced.

“When I got my chance to pitch at Troy, I absolute threw amazing,” Bentley said. “I struck out seven or eight of the 10 batters that I faced and I only gave up one hit. I did good hitting and I did my part in the outfield when I had a chance. When I left that night after being up there for two days, about 45 minutes into the way home I got a call from the Snead State coach saying that I made the Alabama team. If it wasn’t for Coach Slaten telling me to go try out for the team and pushing me to do it, I probably wouldn’t be where I am right now.”

Bentley had an ERA of less than two and he struck out 56 batters this season for the Tigers. He said when he got to Troy, he didn’t put any extra pressure on himself-he just played the game he loves.

The tournament in Troy allowed several pro scouts and colleges coaches in attendance to see Bentley.

“I just told myself that I can’t be nervous on a big time stage like this,” Bentley said. “I was like I have to do my thing and maybe I will be noticed by some college coaches. Sure enough I did, I had a couple of college coaches to call me. I got the call saying I made the Alabama team and now I have the chance to pitch in front of more scouts in Atlanta.”

Fayetteville’s Morris Phillips is an assistant coach on the Alabama team. Phillips was impressed with the way Bentley pitched in the tournament.

“I am real proud of Alex Bentley of Childersburg for making it,” Phillips said. “Last week, we went to Troy and he showed out. He had a really great showing. I look forward to seeing him in Atlanta as well. He is going as a pitcher and he will be able to help us out a lot. He is on a team that is loaded with talent. We have one of the kids on the team that has verbally committed to Vanderbilt and another that has verbally committed to Alabama. Several of them are big time recruits.”

The 2011 Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 1A Coach of the Year is grateful for the opportunity to coach the Alabama All-Star team.

“It is an honor to be asked to do this,” Phillips said. “You get to go over and see some great baseball with the top 20 upcoming seniors in the state of Alabama. It is great to be able to go over there and be with those guys and see the good competition that we hope to see.”

The Alabama team coaching staff consist of Major League Baseball scouts as well Snead State and Enterprise State head baseball coaches.

“I love to be around these college coaches,” Phillips said. “I get to pick their brain when we are not playing and see those little things that they do here and there. What they look for in athletes and how they run their practices. It is a good thing to be around them.”

Phillips said he is really impressed with the way Alabama Baseball Coaches Association President/Executive Director Barry Dean gets student-athletes exposed to college and pro scouts.

“Barry Dean does a real good job of promoting student-athletes around the state,” Phillips said. “This is just one of the things that he does. Last week, he got together the top 120 players in the state of Alabama for the All-Stars in Troy. While we were down there playing we had over 40 pro scouts and college coaches from across the southeast there to watch. It is a great way to get the kids out there and seen by college coaches so they can hopefully further their career. Barry Dean does a great job of doing this for our state.”
© 2013