By Chris McCarthy/Editor
Braxton Light is headed to the Rocket City for the next few years.
The Southside High senior signed a baseball scholarship with The University of Alabama -Huntsville on Nov. 21 at the SHS library.
“It’s a great opportunity for me,” said Light. “It’s a good school with a nice campus and a great baseball program. Over the past couple of years as a while we’ve really been a family as a team/ We’ve always had the talent to win a state championship, but we lacked a family atmosphere, and I really think this year’s team has that feeling. If we stick together this year, we can definitely make it back to the state championship.”
Light has started at rightfield since his sophomore season in 2012, when the Panthers posted a 27-17 record and made it to the Class 5A state championship series.In 141 at-bats last season, Light batted .308 with 41hits, 10 doubles, two triples and 26 RBI. He had six assists in the outfield while committing only one error. Southside went 27-11 and lost to Pinson Valley by one run in the deciding Game 3 of the state quarterfinals.
In 2011 for the state runner-up team, Light finished with a .350 batting average, a .475 slugging percentage and 21 RBI.
“Braxton is almost a five-tool player,” said SHS head baseball coach Blake Bone. “He’s a tremendous outfielder defensively and he’s improving offensively. He’s got the ability to find the gaps and hit a lot of doubles for us, and he keeps improving he can be a guy that consistently hits it out of the park. Plus, nobody outworks Braxton; you’ve really got to kick him out of the batting cage.”
Last season, UAH went 33-15-1.
“I’ve been fortunate to coach a lot of guys, and I don’t know of anyone who has put in the time that Braxton has, whether it be in the weight room, in the batting cage or throwing,” said Bone. “He did whatever he needed to do to give himself the opportunity to play at the next level. I couldn’t be any more pleased with the things he’s done for our program.”
A standout infielder for the Blazers in the late 1990s, Bone noted that Light is the first of his players to sign with his alma mater directly out of high school.
“I certainly loved my time up there, and it’s a great place to go to school and play ball. Now that the [baseball] program is back to what it was when I was there, it’s good see our players contribute to their success.”