AL HS Team Preview: Athens Golden Eagles

PBR Alabama Staff

The 2023 high school baseball season is quickly approaching and as usual, excitement abounds throughout the state. Players and coaches have been working in preparation for the upcoming season and, as is the case each year, there are some very talented players and teams across Alabama.

Teams across the state have goals and aspirations to finish their seasons in the Jacksonville/Oxford/Montgomery area at the AISA or AHSAA state championships, but there is plenty of work to be done before that becomes reality. We hope to familiarize our readers with many of the teams across the state as we preview individual teams across Alabama. We will take you right up to first pitch this season with these team previews and by continuing our scheduled podcasts and releasing our preseason Top 10 in each AHSAA classification. 

Please keep checking back throughout the season as we will be your one-stop shop for everything related to high school baseball across the state. Each week we will be releasing our players of the week, updating the Top 10 in each AHSAA classification as well as a Power 25. One thing that you especially don’t want to miss are our scheduled podcasts with guests from across the state as well as recaps and previews of big games across the state.  

*Please note that all information is based on team preview questionnaires that were sent out and returned by the participating high school coaches.

High School Name: Athens Golden Eagles 

Coach’s Name: Chuck Smith 

Classification: AHSAA 6A 

2022 Record: 24-12

Area Number: Class 6A, Area 15 

No. of Returning Positional Starters:

No. of Returning Pitchers:

Team Strengths: Pitching, Defense

Top Returning Players:

Top 2023 Prospects:

  • C Preston Haney (2023)
  • RHP Raiden Pressnell (2023)

Top 2024 Prospects:

Top 2025 & 2026 Prospects:

Team Outlook

The Athens Golden Eagles were seemingly the odd man out in their area last spring, as they unfortunately missed the Class 6A playoffs by finishing third in their area standings behind Hazel Green and Buckhorn, both of which advanced fairly deep into the playoffs. They do, however, move to Area 15 this spring and will compete against Columbia and Mae Jemison for a spot in the playoffs.

The Golden Eagles featured a strong amount of seniors on last year's roster, many of which who went on to play at the next level. They'll need to find some younger players to fill those holes that were left by them, but also have some key contributors from the last year's season coming back this spring. During the 2022 season, the Golden Eagles enjoyed a strong regular season that featured wins over James Clemens, Grissom, and Huntsville and were 23-6 heading into their area series. After sweeping past Columbia in their first area series, Athens dropped their next two series to Buckhorn and Hazel Green and just missed the Class 6A playoffs. Switching areas this spring should only help the Golden Eagles get into the playoffs, and it seems like they have enough pieces coming back from last year's team to be a strong competitor in Class 6A. LHP Logan Mooney (Alabama-Huntsville signee, 2023) will be their ace one again this season, and has supposedly added a few more ticks in velocity after working hard in the off-season and adding weight to his frame. Mooney has excellent feel for his three-pitch mix and can throw all for strikes in any count.

LHP Logan Mooney (7/25/22)

Following right behind Mooney should be RHP/OF Riley Miller (Alabama-Birmingham, 2024), who will look to be one of their top arms in the rotation as well as a force in the middle of their lineup. During his sophomore season, Miller hit over. 300 in batting average and led the team with 4 HR's. He'll be asked to do the same this spring while also throwing more innings on the mound.

OF/RHP Riley Miller (7/27/22)

After being hurt for parts of the season, SS Jack Elliott (2024) should be back to full-strength this spring and is expected to help lead the charge offensively. Elliott has served as the Golden Eagles' starting shortstop ever since his freshman season and will look to take that next step this spring. He's a slick-fielding shortstop that can spray the ball to all fields with line drives from the left side of the plate.

SS Jack Elliott (3/21/22)

Another junior prospect who played an integral role during his sophomore season was OF Caiden Dumas (2024), who led the team in batting average and stolen bases a season ago. Dumas will look to build off of last year's success and elevate his role as one of the leaders for this team this spring. RHP/SS Austin Uptain (2024) is another player who has seen a jump in terms of velocity on the mound, as he ran his fastball up to 90 mph at this January's Huntsville Preseason ID. The uncommitted junior will look to insert himself into the rotation this spring while seeing some time on the infield, as well. C Preston Haney (2023) and RHP Raiden Pressnell (2023) are two seniors that will both be counted on for production a variety of ways. Haney has gotten a lot stronger in the off-season, while Pressnell is a strike-thrower that should eat up a lot of innings. RHP/INF Grayson Hays (2024) is another junior right-hander that will see more innings on the mound this spring. Hays works mostly in the low-80's with his fastball while pounding the zone with all three offerings.

RHP/SS Austin Uptain (1/4/23)

In addition to these upperclassmen mentioned above, the Golden Eagles will rely on some younger players to step in and fill the production left by some of the seniors who graduated last year. A few of those players to keep an eye out for this spring are OF/RHP Jaylen Malone (2025), INF/RHP Ashton Dickey (2025), INF/RHP Walker Fleming (2025), C Chase Taylor (2026), INF/RHP Connor Stiles (2026) and INF/RHP Hudson Marks (2026). All of these players have a chance to make an impact at the varsity level this spring. There's obviously plenty of talent on this year's roster with some guys who bring back multiple years of experience. Playing in a new area this spring, expect the Golden Eagles to be a strong contender in a deep Class 6A in 2023.


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