Baseball superlatives

Editor’s Note: Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the spring sports season was cut short along with the cancellation of in-person schooling. In lieu of a traditional All-Elmore County All-Star team, Tallapoosa Publishers Inc. has decided to put together a list of superlatives for the baseball, softball and soccer teams in the area. We will also be doing a series of senior spotlights, highlight the senior classes of each spring sports team. Those will all be published in the coming weeks.

Most Valuable Player: Luke Sisson, Edgewood senior

Sisson made it easy as he undeniably made an impact in every aspect of the game. At the plate, he led the Wildcats with a .556 batting average, six stolen bases and 10 RBIs despite being in the batting order in just six of the team’s 10 games before hurting his wrist. Sisson, a Lurleen B. Wallace signee, continued to play a role in the team’s defense and on the mound, finishing with a 0.52 ERA in 13 1/3 innings pitched while striking out 16.

“It’s hard to put his value into words,” Edgewood coach Justin Jones said. “Luke is one of those guys before and after practice, he’s out there on his own. He puts in a lot of time by himself. The whole team looks up to him and when he’s going everyone else is going. He deserves it.”

Honorable Mention: Seth Johnson, Sr., Wetumpka; Hunter Martin, Sr., Holtville; Zak Haynes, Sr., Tallassee

 

Cy Young: Colin Woodham, Stanhope Elmore freshman

The Mustangs were not surprised to see Woodham thrive during the shortened season but he still exceeded expectations. In 24 innings on the mound, Woodham struck out 16 and allowed just two earned runs for an ERA of 0.58. He grabbed three wins in four starts, accounting for half of Stanhope Elmore’s victories this season.

“I knew he was going to be good but I didn’t expect him this year to be as good as he was,” SEHS coach Kaleb Shuman said. “This kid is really going to be special and has a chance to be great. It’s huge for every team to have a true No. 1 you can trust. The confidence of the team goes up.”

Honorable Mention: Jacob Abbott Ingram, Jr., Tallassee; Landon Maynard, Sr., ECHS; Dawson Fuller, So., Wetumpka

 

Coach of the Year: Michael Byrd, Elmore County

After losing 10 seniors from last year’s team, it would have been understandable if the Panthers took a step back in 2020. However, they came out of the gates hot with six straight wins to start the season and finished with an 11-5 record. Elmore County even made an appearance right outside the top 10 of Class 4A in the final rankings of the season.

“Ultimately, it’s what the kids have done,” Byrd said. “They have bought in and it’s been a big turnaround. I think we would have gotten over 20 (wins) this year. I have good coaches around me and that’s been a big blessing for us. The expectations have been raised for sure.”

 

Silver Slugger: Seth Johnson, Wetumpka senior

After starting the season with just one hit in his first 13 plate appearances, Johnson got back to his usual self and was on fire by the time the season was cut short. He finished with a .394 batting average and a .574 on-base percentage while leading Wetumpka with two home runs and a 1.241 OPS. Johnson recorded 24 quality at bats in just 47 plate appearances.

“There was no doubt he was going to break through and have a good year,” Wetumpka coach Michael Dismukes said. “He’s a great hitter and really understands his swing. I knew it was going to fall eventually. He has a high ceiling and his future is very bright.”

Honorable Mention: Drez Crawford, Jr., Edgewood; Nolan Taylor, Sr., Stanhope Elmore; Brody Ward, Jr. ECHS

 

Gold Glove: Sam Silas, Holtville freshman

It’s not everyday you see a newcomer take over the starting role at shortstop by Silas made sure it was clear he was the man for the job. He showed off range and arm strength throughout the season and made just three errors in 37 chances in what many coaches will say is the most important defensive position on the field. Silas finished with the most assists among starting shortstops in the county.

“His baseball instincts and baseball IQ are through the roof. Him and Drey competing every day makes them better. They have a good relationship. In practice, they just make each other better because of their work ethics. Sam eats, breathes and sleeps baseball. He loves the game. That’s huge. There are going to be a lot of balls to the shortstop and that takes a lot of pressure off the pitcher.”

Honorable Mention: Ty Brooks, So., Wetumpka; Zach Stevens, Fr., Stanhope Elmore; Bobby Baker, Sr., Tallassee

 

Road Runner: Nassin Bryan, Elmore County sophomore

Several players know how to affect the game with their speed and while Bryan made an impact elsewhere, his speed may have been his best tool. He led the county with 22 stolen bases and he was caught stealing just twice. Bryan also finished with a team-high 22 runs scored, leading an Elmore County offense that averaged 8.8 runs per game.

“He’s the table setter. He’s so athletic and with as fast as he is that he doesn’t have to be perfect. When’s hes on base, we’re going to score runs. If you’re nehond him, you’re probably going to be hitting with a guy in scoring position.

Honorable Mention: Garrett Ingram, So., Holtville; Cody Simmons, Jr., Stanhope Elmore; Jackson Ray, Jr., Wetumpka

 

Biggest Surprise: Brandon White, Elmore County eighth grader

White was quickly making his name known around the area and may have made some noise at the state level if he got the chance to this year. White was a strikeout machine for the Panthers, sitting down 29 batters by way of strikeout in just 18 innings. He made eight appearances, seven in relief, and finished with a 0.78 ERA.

“I thought coming in he night get a couple of innings with some varsity. We wanted to put him in position to get better and when I threw him in there, he never struggled. He kept responding. He’s got natural stuff and he;s got to get comfortable with it.”

Honorable Mention: Randy Davis, Fr., Holtville; Payton Stephenson, Fr., ECHS; Chase Eddings, Jr., Stanhope Elmore

 

Best Game: Tallassee 5, Prattville Christian 4

No one knew it would be the last game of the season but Tallassee certainly made its final game count. Trailing 4-0 to the Panthers in the sixth inning, Zak Haynes led off with a solo home run to start a rally. The Tigers scored three in the frame and grabbed two more in the seventh. The victory, and season, was capped off when Reece Graham scored on a sacrifice fly by Clayten Gough for the walk-off win.

Honorable Mention: Holtville 13, Dadeville 11; Edgewood 7, Macon-East 5; Wetumpka 4, Holtville 2

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.