Photo by Chris McCarthy/Messenger
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Saying that opposing hitters fared poorly against Westbrook Christian’s Samuel Dutton this past high school baseball season is putting it mildly.
The rising junior moved with ease through most of lineups he faced, as teams batted a collective .121 average against the LSU commitment. In 63 and two-third innings, Dutton (pictured above) struck out 110 while finishing with an 8-3 record and a miniscule 0.88 earned run average. Dutton was no slouch at the plate, either, batting .383 with 41 hits, 38 runs, 21 RBI, six doubles, two triples and two home runs.
Dutton’s outstanding numbers played a big part in the Warriors’ 23-14 record, area championship, three playoff series victories and berth in the state championship series for the first time since 2013.
“I just try to stay focused while I’m on the mound and get a rhythm going and throw strikes,” said Dutton in an interview with The Messenger during the 2019 season. “I try to do daily what I need to do and make the adjustments I need to make.”
Dutton brother Andrew, who recently was named Class 2A Hitter of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association, also made the first team. The rising senior second baseman batted .443 with an on-base percentage of .603 with 40 hits, 50 RBI, 40 runs, six doubles, four triples and seven home runs.
Joining Samuel Dutton on the first team pitching staff were Etowah senior Will Hotalen, Hokes Bluff senior Dylan Teague, Hokes Bluff sophomore Payton Lemons and Southside’s Jacob Little.
Hotalen helped the Blue Devils go 23-6 and make the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs with his 7-2 record, 1.11 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 51 innings. Hotalen allowed just 22 walks and seven earned runs.
Teague went 11-1 on the mound this past season with a 2.03 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 76.1 innings. In 70 and one-third innings, Lemons went 12-1 while recording a 1.39 ERA with 88 strikeouts and only 14 earned runs. The duo helped the Eagles go wire to wire in the regular season as the No. 1 ranked team in Class 4A with a 26-5 record, county and area championships and a second straight berth in the state semifinals.
As the ace of the Panther pitching staff, Little went 7-2 with a 2.56 earned run average with 52 strikeouts n 71 innings.
Joining Andrew Dutton on the first team infield were Westbrook senior catcher Greysen Robertson, Etowah senior first baseman Daniel Sieber, Etowah senior shortstop Austin Young and Westbrook junior third baseman Isaac James.
Robinson hit .312 along with 35 hits, 45 RBI, 14 runs scored, nine doubles and three home runs; Sieber batted .381 with 32 hits, 37 RBI and seven doubles; Young sported a .407 batting average with 44 hits, 45 runs scored and 34 stolen bases; and James ended up with a .381 batting average, 45 hits, 37 RBI 18 runs scored, six doubles and two home runs.
Selected to the first team outfield were Hokes Bluff senior Carson Eubanks, Etowah senior Jarren Wright and Westbrook junior Joseph Gilchrist.
As the Eagles’ leadoff hitter and two-time Offensive Player of the Year, Eubanks produced a .440 batting average with 44 hits, 44 runs scored, 25 RBI and 18 stolen bases while striking out only 12 times.
Wright batted .435 with 50 hits, 47 runs, 32 RBI, 12 doubles and 38 steals, while Gilchrist finished with 51 hits, 61 runs scored, 26 RBI, 10 doubles, 17 steals to go along with a .440 batting average.
Holding down the respective designated hitter and utility spots were Southside’s Brennan Stokes and Tyler Roberts. A senior shortstop, Stokes hit .406 with 51 hits, 39 runs scored, 20 RBI, nine doubles and 20 steals. A junior pitcher/centerfielder Tyler Roberts hit .391 with 47 hits, 35 runs scored, 21 RBI and eight doubles while pitching to a 6-0 record with a 2.03 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 60 and two-thirds innings.
After Southside won just eight games a year ago, first-year coach Shane Chappell guided the Panthers to a 25-12 record, first and second-round playoff series wins and the program’s first berth in the state quarterfinals since 2016.
Making the second team pitching staff were Etowah junior Kam Wilson (5-2 record, 1.11 ERA, 62 strikeouts in 50 innings); Glencoe senior Cam Harris (8-1 record, 1.85 ERA, 60 strikeouts in 37 and two-third innings); West End senior A.J. Taylor (7-1 record, 45 strikeouts, 2.75 ERA in 43 innings); Gadsden City senior Baylor Partridge (41 strikeouts in 42 innings); and Coosa Christian senior Caiden Lipscomb (41 strikeouts in 32 innings).
The second team infield features Hokes Bluff senior catcher Houston Edwards (.402 batting avg., 37 hits, 28 RBI, allowed only three stolen bases); Hokes Bluff junior first baseman Koby Addison (.397 batting average, 25 hits, 21 RBI in 20 games); Glencoe senior second baseman Bryan Benefield (.338 batting avg., 24 hits, 24 runs scored, 16 steals); Sardis junior shortstop Trey Hubbard (.387 batting avg., 22 RBI,); and Sardis junior third baseman Luke Morris (.419 batting avg.).
Named to the second team outfield were Southside senior Connor Johnson (.417 batting avg., 50 hits, 45 runs, 30 RBI, 11 doubles); Glencoe senior Alex Pointer (.431 batting avg., 25 hits, 24 runs, 16 RBI); and Southside senior Sam Raines (.397 batting avg., 49 hits, 45 runs, 32 RBI, 14 doubles, three home runs).
Coosa Christian senior Karter Roberts (.327 batting avg.) and Gadsden City junior Paden New (.343 batting avg., 34 hits, nine doubles; 30 strikeouts in 42 innings) made the cut at designated hitter and utility, respectively.