Joy, Russell headline talented all-area team
When Hartselle suffered through some early growing pains this spring, senior rightfielder Ryan Joy gave the Tigers plenty of stability.
The Tigers reached the Class 5A state championship series in Montgomery for the second season and Joy’s steady offensive production helped bridge the gap for the Tigers, who lost almost every starter from the team that won 50 games a year earlier.
Joy and Danville pitcher Thomas Russell top the Hartselle Enquirer’s 2010 All-Area Baseball Team as hitter and pitcher of the year respectively.
Hartselle head coach William Booth, who reached the 5A finals for the 10th time in his legendary career, is the area’s top coach.
Hartselle came into the 2010 season with little starting experience other than Joy, who has signed to play with Pensacola Junior College next season.
Joy led the Tigers in seven different offensive categories on his way to first-team all-state honors.
The Hartselle right fielder had 71 hits in 167 at-bats and posted a .425 average with 49 RBIs. He added team-highs in doubles (16), total bases (123) and walks (38).
He had 140 hits and 26 doubles in his final two seasons at Hartselle.
Thomas Russell stepped up as Danville’s top ace on the mound this season and responded by posting great numbers as a junior.
Also a solid hitter, Russell finished the season with a 5-2 record with one save in 10 appearances. He had a 2.29 ERA.
Russell had 39 strikeouts in 39.2 innings of work.
Hartselle had eight players named to the all-area team with all-staters Joy and Logan Cain leading the Tigers’ pack.
Cain, a reserve last season, exploded to post career-high numbers in every category, including homers after he finished the season with a team-high 15 to give the Tigers plenty of offensive punch.
Cain also had 46 RBIs and 112 total bases.
Also representing Hartselle on the all-area team were catcher Mac Hendrix, first baseman Robby Reece, second baseman Andrew Hampton, centerfielder Jackson Reeves, designated hitter Drew Cowan and pitcher Tres Austin.
Hendrix caught all but four of Hartselle’s games this season, including every postseason game.
Reece hit .447 to lead Hartselle despite missing much of the regular season with a separated shoulder. He still finished strong with nine homers and nine doubles in just 33 games.
Hampton was a solid defensive performer at second and posted good offensive numbers late in the season.
Reeves, a stellar defensive outfielder, hit .331 with 46 RBIs in 48 games.
Austin finished the season 9-5 with a 4-1 mark in the playoffs, while Cowan ranked second for Hartselle with 48 RBIs.
Russell was joined on the all-area team by fellow Hawks Cole Veazey (.432 with 10 doubles and nine stolen bases), Matt Vest (.400 with 26 RBIs) and Jacob Fields (.350 with 15 stolen bases).
Priceville’s Clay Chandler (6-2 overall record in 41 innings, 45 strikeouts, 3.68 ERA), Dalton Lorance (.461 with 56 hits, 54 runs, 34 RBIs and 16 stolen bases) and Andrew Starkey (.382, 45 hits, 37 runs, 15 stolen bases).
Lorance also finished 4-1 with a 3.42 ERA for the Bulldogs.
Aaron Lee, a solid hitting catcher, was the lone first-team all-area representative from Falkville.
Players earning all-area honorable mention selections were Brewer’s Kevin Smith; Danville’s Evan Cleghorn, Trey Jones and Dylan Woods; Falkville’s Corey Holliday; and Dax Gillespie, Zach Letson, Ethan Howell and Ryland Blankenship from Hartselle.