Prep Baseball Report

AL HS Team Preview: Gardendale Rockets

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: Gardendale Rockets

Coach’s Name: Ryan Keedy 

Classification: AHSAA 6A 

2022 Record: 25-9

Area Number: Class 6A, Area 11 

No. of Returning Positional Starters:

No. of Returning Pitchers:

Team Strengths: Offense, Fielding 

Top Returning Players:

Top 2023 Prospects:

Top 2024 Prospects:

  • RHP Seth Alexander (2024)
  • OF/RHP Bo Bachtel (2024)

Top 2025 & 2026 Prospects:

Team Outlook

The Gardendale Rockets enjoyed another strong spring in 2022, accumulating 25 wins during the season and reaching the 1st round of the Class 6A playoffs. Using a strong core of returning players from last year's team, especially offensively, the Rockets will look to once again be right back in the mix in Class 6A this spring.

The Rockets seemed to be a very strong offensive club just a season ago, as they score 10+ runs in 16 of their 34 games. They really hit their stride down the stretch and into the area series, but dropped a pivotal series against Mortimer Jordan to determine who finished as the winner and runner-up of their area. Because of that, they were faced with a tall task of traveling to No. 4 Oxford in the 1st round of the playoffs. They played the Yellow Jackets tough in both games, including a 1-0 loss in Game 1, but ultimately were eliminated in two games to close out their season with a 25-9 record. With some key parts from that team returning this spring and competing in a new area with Center Point and Huffman, the Rockets should once again be a strong contender in Class 6A. C/3B Connor Hensley (Gadsden State CC signee, 2023) will look to make the move to behind the plate after playing third base for the last two seasons, and should one again be one of their top run-producers in the heart of the order. Hensley has a really strong arm from behind the plate and has gap-to-gap pop hitting from the right side of the plate.

C Connor Hensley (6/1/22)

Another upperclassmen returner that will look to be a force once again in the heart of the order will be 1B Ty McGraw (Troy recruit, 2024), a former PBR Future Gamer from this past summer and Top-20 prospect in the junior class in AL. McGraw has a smooth, yet powerful swing from the left side with power to both gaps offensively. He's continued to work hard in the off-season and is also a quality defender at first base for the Rockets.

1B Ty McGraw (7/27/22)

One big pitcher that will look to lead the charge once again in the rotation will be LHP Logan Fitzgerald (2024), who is a long and projectable 6-foot-4, 170-pounder and ranked inside the Top-70 in the junior class in AL. The junior southpaw works mostly in the low-80's with his fastball with excellent command for all of his secondary offerings, and is an elite competitor on the mound that challenges all hitters with his pitches. He pitched in some big games last spring, and will be asked to do the same during his junior campaign this year.

LHP Logan Fitzgerald (7/21/22)

SS Cooper Jarvis (2024) will provide a much-needed boost to this year's team after missing all of last year's season due to injury after playing a big role during his freshman season. Jarvis, a Top-35 prospect in the junior class in AL, is a natural athlete that has shown the ability to play anywhere on the field defensively while hitting for average from the right side of the plate. He'll look to be one of their leaders this spring and be a key hitter as he returns to the top of the Rockets' order.

SS Cooper Jarvis (5/16/21)

One underclassmen the Rockets will rely on for the same type of offensive output he turned in a season ago will be 3B Caiden Combs (Auburn recruit, 2025). Combs is a dynamic prospect with advanced strength and athleticism for his size, and has immense pull-side power hitting from the right side of the plate. Combs, a Top-10 prospect in the sophomore class in AL, is a hard-worker that will no doubt be a key piece to this offense's success this spring.

3B Caiden Combs (6/29/22)

Gardendale definitely has plenty of key pieces returning to their lineup and on the mound in 2023, but there are some other upperclassmen that will look for their roles to expand this spring. OF/RHP Kyle Norris (2023) is one of those players to watch out for, as he's pitched in some big games on the mound over the course of the past few years. He consistently pounds the zone with strikes and should hit in the middle of the order this spring, as well. A couple others ones to keep an eye on for the Rockets are INF Bryson Barnes (2023), INF Jackson Burdette (2023), RHP Seth Alexander (2024), and OF/RHO Bo Bachtel (2024), all of which should certainly see significant playing time and be big parts to this team's success. Some younger players that will look to make an impact on this year's team are OF Jackson Firestone (2025) and UTL Adam Yazel (2025). Firestone is a quality left-handed hitter that runs well and has a chance to play a lot of innings in the outfield, while Yazel is an exciting young prospect that can play anywhere on the field defensively in addition to a smooth right-handed swing offensively. Both these players will be ones to watch this spring and in the years to come. One of the main strengths for the Rockets this spring should be their ability to generate runs offensively, as they have multiple players coming back this spring that can hit for power and for average. They will need some players to step up on the mound provide some depth in the rotation, but this once again looks to be a strong Gardendale club that should be right back in the mix in Class 6A in 2023.


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