Prep Baseball Report

AL HS Team Preview: Baker Hornets

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: Baker Hornets 

Coach’s Name: Tyler Minto 

Classification: AHSAA 7A 

2022 Record: 24-12

Area Number: Class 7A, Area 1 

No. of Returning Positional Starters:

No. of Returning Pitchers:

Team Strengths: Depth 

Top Returning Players:

Top 2023 Prospects:

  • C/OF Brycen Brown (2023)
  • INF Hernan Ponce (2023)
  • OF Brieson Timmons (2023)
  • INF David Hadley (2023)
  • C/INF Samuel Gaston (2023)
  • LHP/OF Ashton Turberville (2023)
  • RHP/INF Hunter McCormick (2023)

Top 2024 Prospects:

  • OF/RHP Bryant Durbin (2024)
  • INF Ethan Santos (2024)

Top 2025 & 2026 Prospects:

  • OF/RHP Jawon Springs (2025)

Team Outlook

The Baker Hornets return back to Class 7A this spring with expectations of being one of the top teams in the southern part of the state after winning their area and advancing to the Elite 8 just a season ago. There will be some familiar names returning to this year's roster that will features a strong pitching staff and depth offensively.

The Hornets enjoyed another successful spring in 2022, going 24-12 with some quality wins over programs like Helena, Central-Phenix City, Saraland, and others during the regular season. Baker won their five-team area last spring, and hosted the 1st round of the Class 7A playoffs against Daphne. The Hornets took down the Trojans in two games by scores of 3-1 and 7-2 to clinch their ticket into the Elite 8, where they would face off against Central-Phenix City, a team that they had beaten earlier in the season. The Red Devils, the eventual Class 7A State Champions, were able to sweep the Hornets by scores of 13-7 and 9-0 to end the Hornets season at 24-12. They had some key seniors from last year's team that went on to play at the next level, but will expect on some other players who bring play quality playing time to slide into those roles in order for them to be successful this spring. The Hornets will feature of strong amount of seniors this year, but RHP/SS Connor Gatwood (South Alabama recruit, 2024), a former PBR Future Gamer and Top-15 prospect in the junior class in AL, will be a junior that will look to take the reigns of this pitching staff after throwing some quality innings and playing shortstop during his sophomore season. The junior right-hander has really come on over the last year, and was extremely impressive at this month's South AL Preseason All-State where he's already shown signs of increased velocity where he sat 91-93 mph and touched 93.7 mph during his extended bullpen with strikes using two secondary offerings.

RHP Connor Gatwood (1/8/23)

Returning to the middle of the order this spring, 3B Connor Fadalla (Lurleen B. Wallace CC signee, 2023) should be one of their leaders offensively after a strong junior campaign a season ago. 1B/RHP Carey Simon, Jr. (2023) and INF Landon Vayda (2023) are two more seniors that are currently uncommitted, but certainly have the ability to play at the next level. Simon, Jr. played a big role last spring both at first base and on the mound, while Vayda returns after leading the Hornets in multiple offensive categories during his junior season. Looking to help lead the charge on the mound, LHP/OF Paxton Cooper (Coastal Alabama-East CC signee, 2023) and RHP Zack Munger (Bishop State CC, 2023) are two seniors who are headed to the next level that pitched some big innings on the mound as juniors, and will look to expand on that during their senior seasons. LHP/OF Bryce Cain (2024), a Top-80 prospect in the junior class in AL, also returns as a dynamic two-way prospect that possesses premium athleticism and some upside both on the mound and at the plate. He will look to continue to make his impact at the varsity level and increase his workload this spring.

OF/LHP Bryce Cain (10/3/21)

The Hornets have a strong senior class in addition to these returners mentioned above, and all will be looked upon to provide leadership for some of the younger players on the roster. Some of those seniors to watch for this spring are C/OF Brycen Brown (2023), INF Hernan Ponce (2023), OF Brieson Timmons (2023), INF David Hadley (2023), C/INF Samuel Gaston (2023), LHP/OF Ashton Turberville (2023), and RHP/INF Hunter McCormick (2023). All of these players will look to compete for a starting jobs and provide depth both at the plate and on the mound. OF/RHP Bryant Durbin (2024) and INF Ethan Santos (2024) are two more upperclassmen who will also be ones to follow this year during their junior campaigns. Although it's a very senior and junior led team this spring, the Hornets have a few younger players that look to make their impact at the varsity level. OF/RHP Jawson Springs (2025) is one of those players to watch for, as he'll look to fight for playing time this spring and help build the foundation for the future of Baker's program. The Hornets will once again compete in Area 1 this spring, and battle against Alma Bryant, Mary G. Montgomery, and Davidson for a spot in the Class 7A playoffs at the end of the season. After a strong year in 2022, they'll look to build off of that success this spring and fight to be contenders in a talented Class 7A in 2023.


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