Etowah ace highlights All-Messenger baseball


Photo: Etowah High’s Caleb Freeman looks towards home plate during the Blue Devils’ Class 4A state championship series victory over UMS-Wright last month. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger) 

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

Much like a seasoned MMA fighter, Caleb Freeman rose to the occasion after getting knocked off balance a time or two this past baseball season.
The Etowah High senior raised his game to a different level following a few early setbacks, especially when the stakes were high. In his five postseason starts, Freeman all-owed 21 hits, 19 walks and only four earned runs while striking out 45 in 33 innings.
“That’s kind of been Caleb’s M.O. all year,” said Etowah head baseball coach Blake Bone. “When he settles in, he’s as good as anybody out there. Caleb’s been in tough situa-tions before, so he’s not going to get rattled if things don’t go his way at first. Caleb’s absolutely the guy we want with the ball in his hand when it comes time to finish off a game or a series.”
That mental toughness combined with stellar production earned Freeman his second straight Player of the Year award for the All-Messenger high school baseball team.
While helping the Blue Devils win their first state cham-pionship since 1996, Freeman finished with a record of 10-3-1, an ERA of 1.29 and a WHIP of 1.21 while striking out 92 in 75 innings.
He pitched seven shutouts and help opponents to a .164 batting average. In 113 at-bats, Freeman batted .371 with 44 hits, 44 runs and 23 RBI. In addition, he was a perfect 35-for-35 in stolen base attempts. Caleb and twin brother Briggs, the team’s catcher, will play at Snead State next season.
All-Messenger first team pitching staff
Jameson Scissum, sophomore, Etowah: 53 innings, 8-2-2 record, 1.58 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 56 strikeouts, 33 walks, one no-hitter
Luke Weems, senior, Sardis: 83 innings, 9-3-1 record, 2.28 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 97 strikeouts, one shutout
Blaze Gerhart, junior, Sardis: 73 innings, 9-2-1 record, 3.11 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 101 strikeouts, two shutouts
Hugh Windle, senior, Westbrook Christian: 56 innings, 8-0 record, 0.89 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 61 strikeouts, two shutouts
Renn Gladden, sophomore, Coosa Christian: 52 innings, 6-2-2 record, 2.59 ERA, 36 strikeouts, two shutouts
All-Messenger first team infield
Catcher: Corbin Driskell, junior, Southside: 37 games, 43 hits with 12 doubles and six home runs, 38 RBI, 15 runs scored, 410 batting average, .554 on-base percentage, .752 slugging percentage
First base: Thomas Skaggs, senior, Coosa Christian: 37 games 40 hits with 11 doubles and four home runs, 36 RBI, 28 runs scored, 17 steals, .347 batting average
Second base: Russ Wiggs, junior, Sardis: 33 games, 38 hits, 19 RBI, 19 runs scored, 11-of-13 in stolen base att-empts, .355 batting average, .439 on-base percentage, .477 slugging percentage
Shortstop: Hunter Humphries, senior, Etowah: 40 games, 44 hits with 10 doubles, 47 runs scored, 25 RBI, 20-for-23 in stolen base attempts, .416 batting average, .550 on-base percentage, .540 slugging percentage
Third base: Carson Gillilan, junior, Sardis: 38 games, 50 hits with 13 doubles, 31 RBI, 41 runs scored, .397 batting average, .453 on-base percentage, .572 slugging percentage
Designated hitter: Dylan Rainey, sophomore, Southside: 38 games, 40 hits, 24 RBI, 17 runs scored, .385 batting ave-rage, .504 on-base percentage, .452 slugging percentage
Utility: Caleb McCarty, senior, Westbrook, first base/pit-cher: .375 batting average, .471 on-base percentage, .427 slugging percentage; 55 innings pitched, 6-3 record, 52 strikeouts, 2.54 ERA, .211 OBA.
All-Messenger first team outfield
Cameron Carden, junior, Westbrook Christian: 31 games, 40 hits with seven doubles, 33 RBI, 23 runs scored, a .412 batting average, a .470 on-base percentage, .557 slugging percentage
John David Justus, sophomore, Coosa Christian: 38 games, 58 hits with 11 doubles and three triples, 33 RBI, 31 runs scored, 25 steals, .479 batting average
Levi Martin, freshman, Sardis: 37 games, 43 hits with 10 doubles and five home runs, .352 batting average, .406 on-base percentage, .590 slugging percentage
All-Messenger second team pitching staff
Clete O’Bryant, sophomore, Coosa Christian: 48 innings, 7-4 record, 60 strikeouts, 4.68 ERA, one shutout
Kutter Johnson, junior, Southside: 42 innings, 5-1 record, 2.50 ERA, 50 strikeouts, 1.29 WHIP, one shutout
Brady Kitchens, junior, Glencoe: 37 innings, 47 strike-outs, 1.89 ERA, 1.405 WHIP, .205 OBA
Conner Masters, senior, Hokes Bluff: 1.88 ERA
Drew Layfield, junior, Ashville: 7-2 record, 3.50 ERA .1000 fielding percentage, 33 put outs
All-Messenger second team infield
Catcher: Baylor Garrard, junior, Sardis: 34 games, 32 hits, 23 RBI, 10 runs scored, .381 batting average, .438 on-base percentage, .429 slugging percentage
First base: Trace Thompson, senior, Etowah
Second base: Angelo Alberghina, sophomore, Southside: 35 games, 38 hits, with seven doubles, 22 RBI, 30 runs scored, 26-for-29 in stolen base attempts, .369 batting ave-rage, .496 on-base percentage, .595 slugging percentage
Shortstop: Anderson Morgan, sophomore, Hokes Bluff: 36 games, 43 hits, 22 RBI, 30 runs scored, 15 steals, .339 batting average, .396 on-base percentage, .417 slugging percentage
Third base: Jordan Nowell, senior, Gadsden City: .375 batting average, eight doubles, 20 RBI
Utility: Nolan Fairley, senior, Glencoe, second base/pitcher: .344 batting average, .475 on-base percentage, .557 slugging percentage, eight doubles; 2.62 ERA, 1.432 WHIP, 32 strikeouts
Designated hitter: Luke Hollingsworth, junior, Gaston: .323 batting average, 25 RBI, eight doubles
All-Messenger second team outfield
Thad Pearce, senior, West End: 37 hits with nine dou-bles, 28 runs, 16 RBI, .429 batting average, .532 on-base percentage
Jacob Maples, freshman, Westbrook: .300 batting ave-rage, .389 on-base percentage, 19 RBI, 10 steals
Jackson Sparks, senior, Gadsden City: .343 batting ave-rage, five doubles, 15 RBI


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