Local players, coaches make all-state baseball

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Photo: Etowah High’s Caleb Freeman delivers a pitch during the Blue Devils’ Class 4A state championship series against UMS-Wright last month. Freeman was recently named Class 4A Player of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

Twelve local players and two coaches were recently selected to the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s 2023 All-State baseball teams.
Highlighting the area talent was Etowah High senior pitcher/centerfielder Caleb Freeman, who was named Class 4A Player of the Year and picked for the Super All-State team, which is made up of the states’ top 10 players, regardless of classification.
In 75 innings this past season, Freeman (pictured above) finished with a record of 10-3-1, an ERA of 1.29 and a WHIP of 1.21 while striking out 92. He pitched seven shutouts and held opponents to a .164 batting average. In his five postseason starts, Freeman allowed 21 hits, 19 walks and only four earned runs while striking out 45. At the plate, he batted .371 with 44 hits, 44 runs and 23 RBI and was a perfect 35-for-35 in stolen base attempts.
Etowah’s Blake Bone was named Class 4A Coach of the Year after guiding the Blue Devils to their first state championship since 1996. Etowah finished with a 30-11 record, including a 10-0 mark in the postseason, and an area championship.
Sardis High’s Kevin Vinson was named Class 5A Coach of the Year. In his seventh season with the program and sixth as head coach, Vinson piloted the Lions to a state runner-up finish, a 30-8 record and an area title.
Joining Freeman on the all-state first team were Etowah senior shortstop Hunter Humphries (in the designated hitter category) and sophomore pitcher Jameson Scissum in Class 4A, Sardis senior pitcher Luke Weems and junior infielder Blaze Gerhart (in the designated hitter category) in Class 5A and Westbrook Christian senior pitcher Hugh Windle in Class 3A.
In 40 games, Humphries had 44 hits with 10 doubles, 47 runs scored, 25 RBI, a .416 batting average, a .550 on-base percentage and a .540 slugging percentage. He was also 20-for-23 in stolen base attempts.
In 53 innings, Scissum posted an 8-2-2 record along with a 1.58 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP, 56 strikeouts and one no-hitter.
In 83 innings, Weems went 9-3-1 with a 2.28 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 97 strikeouts and one shutout. Playing at shortstop and third base, Gerhart batted .377 with 43 hits with 11 doubles and four home runs, 32 RBI, 27 runs scored, an on-base percentage of .482 and a slugging percentage of .596.
In 56 innings, Windle went undefeated at 8-0 along with an 0.89 ERA, a 0.93 WHIP, 61 strikeouts and two shutouts.
Four locals made the second team: Westbrook Christian junior outfielder Cameron Carden and Hokes Bluff junior first baseman Glavine Lamberth (at the utility position) in Class 3A and Coosa Christian sophomore outfielder John David Justus and Coosa Christian senior first baseman Thomas Skaggs (at the utility position) in Class 1A.
In 31 games, Carden finished with 40 hits with seven doubles, 33 RBI, 23 runs scored, a .412 batting average, a .470 on-base percentage and a .557 slugging percentage. In 36 games, Lamberth ended up with 37 hits with 10 doubles, 25 RBI, 20 runs scored, a .381 batting average, a .545 on-base percentage and a .546 slugging percentage. In 38 games, Justus batted .479 with 58 hits, 11 doubles, 33 RBI, 31 runs scored and 30 steals. In 37 games, Skaggs finished with 40 hits with 11 doubles and four home runs, 36 RBI, 28 runs scored, 17 steals and a .347 batting average.
A pair of Southside sophomores received honorable mention recognition in catcher Corbin Driskell and infielder Dylan Rainey (at the utility position).
In 37 games, Driskell posted a .410 batting average, a .554 on-base percentage and a .752 slugging percentage to go along with 43 hits (including 12 doubles and six home runs), 38 RBI and 15 runs scored. In 38 games, Rainey batted .385 while producing 40 hits, 24 RBI, 17 runs scored, a .504 on-base percentage and a .452 slugging percentage.

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