Prep Baseball Report

AL HS Team Preview: Chelsea 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: Chelsea Hornets 

Coach’s Name: Michael Stallings 

Classification: AHSAA 7A 

2022 Record: 21-15

Area Number: Class 7A, Area 6

No. of Returning Positional Starters:

No. of Returning Pitchers:

Team Strengths: Team Work Ethic  

Top Returning Players:

Top 2023 Prospects: 

Top 2024 Prospects:

Top 2025 & 2026 Prospects:

Team Outlook

The Chelsea Hornets make the move to Class 7A this spring after competing in Class 6A for the past few years, and seem to have a quality amount of talent coming back even though they lost a few seniors from last year's team. They should have a strong mix of upperclassmen and underclassmen on this roster in 2023.

The Hornets finished last year's season with over 20 wins after making a late run throughout the playoffs in Class 6A. The continuously played some of the top teams in the state, regardless of classification, and recorded some big wins over programs like Thompson, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook, Helena, Pelham, and many more during the regular season. Finishing as the winner of Area 9 over Mountain Brook, Briarwood Christian, and Homewood, the Hornets swept a pair of 1-0 games in their 1st round matchup against Arab, and advanced to the Sweet 16 to face off against Cullman. Chelsea won that series, as well, to advance to the Elite 8 where they would face Hazel Green. With both teams playing their best baseball of the season up to that point, the Trojans would eventually win the series by scores of 9-7 and 9-4 to end the Hornets' season at 21-15. They do lose a good amount of seniors from last year's team that ended up graduating and moving on to the next level, but still have enough returning talent and newer faces to make another run throughout the playoffs in 2023. OF Chris McNeill (Gadsden State CC signee, 2023), INF Jackson Morgan (Gadsden State CC signee, 2023), and C Walker Thomas (Gadsden State CC, 2023) are a trio of returning offensive contributors that have all signed to go play at the next level at the same college. They will once again be looked upon for strong years both offensively and in the clubhouse serving as the leaders of this team.

OF Chris McNeill (7/6/22)

One returning pitcher that has racked up some quality innings at the varsity level over the past few years is RHP Kaden Heatherly (Montevallo, 2023). The senior right-hander is a big, physical 6-foot-6, 225-pounder that has seen his fastball work in the mid-80's with solid secondaries offerings. Two more solid options returning on the mound will be RHP/INF Brandon Ridderhoff (Wartburg signee, 2023) and RHP Steven Shelton (Marion Military CC signee, 2023). Both will look for their roles to continue to increase this spring as seniors.

RHP Kaleb Heatherly (4/1/22)

Also looking to help contribute to the Hornets' offense this spring will be OF/RHP Kaleb Hester (Mississippi State recruit, 2024), INF/RHP Bryson Morman (2024), and INF Jason Neal (2024). Hester is currently ranked inside the Top-10 in the junior class in AL, while Mormon and Neal have been named top performers at various PBR events over the past few months. RHP Logan Moller (2024) is another junior that is expected to see his workload increase on the mound this spring.

OF Kaleb Hester (4/8/21)
INF Jason Neal (1/7/23)

The Hornets also have a strong group of underclassmen that will be looking to help contribute to this year's team at the varsity level. Some of those players to watch are RHP/OF Jackson Land (2025), RHP/INF Paxton Stallings (2025), C/RHP Cade Mims (2025), LHP/OF Aiden Hughes (2025), C/1B Brett Hackett (2025), and LHP/OF Aiden Craven (2026). Each of these players have a chance to see some time and provide depth, while also looking to gain experience for the next few years of their careers. There's plenty of talent on this year's roster and they'll look to have a strong first year in their new classification. The Hornets will compete in Area 6 against Hewitt-Trussville, Spain Park, and Oak Mountain for a spot in the playoffs once the end of the season comes around. Look for Chelsea to once again be a competitive club and right in the mix of Class 7A at the end of 2023.


2023 Summer Events

Madison Rising Stars ID 5/28/23 Bob Jones HS (Madison, AL)
Top Prospect Games: Upperclass (Invite-Only) 6/13/23 Choccolocco Park (Oxford, AL)
Top Prospect Games: Underclass (Invite-Only) 6/14/23 Choccolocco Park (Oxford, AL)
Birmingham Open 6/21/23 Spain Park HS (Birmingham, AL)
Birmingham Rising Stars ID 6/21/23 Spain Park HS (Birmingham, AL)
Montgomery Open 6/28/23 Stanhope Elmore HS (Millbrook, AL)
All-State Games (Invite-Only) 7/11/23 Troy University (Troy, AL)
Mobile Rising Stars ID 7/18/23 TBD (Mobile, AL Area)
South Alabama Games (Invite-Only) 7/18/23 TBD (Mobile, AL Area)


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