AL HS Team Preview: Hackleburg Panthers

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: Hackleburg Panthers 

Coach’s Name: Jon McKinney 

Classification: AHSAA 1A 

2022 Record: 27-6

Area Number: Class 1A, Area 14 

No. of Returning Positional Starters:

No. of Returning Pitchers:

Team Strengths: Experience, Pitching

 Top Returning Players:

  • RHP/OF Jaxon Fincher (2023)
  • RHP/3B Aydan Beard (2024)
  • RHP/SS Blaise Vickery (2025)
  • OF/SS JaQuan Reeder (2025)
  • INF Ross Hudson (2026)
  • C Edge Weeks (2025)

Team Outlook

The Hackleburg Panthers come into the 2023 season with high hopes of advancing even further in the Class 1A playoffs after reaching the Sweet 16 a season ago. The Panthers will once again look to be strong contenders in their classification using what should be an experienced offensive lineup this spring.

The Panthers were consistently ranked inside of our Top-10 in Class 1A and amassed an impressive number of wins with a 27-6 record in the process. Their offense seemed to be one of their strengths, as they scored 10+ runs in 17 of their 33 total games, and they bring back seven positional starters who will look to replicate that same success this spring. This year's roster seems to have a strong mix of upperclassmen and underclassmen that will look for their roles to increase in 2023. RHP/OF Jaxon Fincher (2023) is a senior who is one of their top returners, and will look to heavily contribute both at the plate and on the mound. RHP/3B Ayden Beard (2024), like Fincher, is another upperclassmen that will certainly play a two-way role for the Panthers this spring. Beard will look to build off of last year's season, where he was one of the leaders during his sophomore campaign. A trio of sophomores that will look to continue to make their impact at the varsity level are RHP/SS Blaise Vickery (2025), OF/SS JaQuan Reeder, and C Edge Weeks (2025), while INF Ross Hudson (2026) is another underclassmen returner who saw playing time last spring as an eighth-grader and will look to be a key offensive contributor this year.

There will certainly be more players to watch for this spring both at the plate and on the mound for the Panthers, but there seems to be a strong amount returners coming back from last year's team that reached the Sweet 16 in Class 1A. They will compete in Area 14 with Belgreen, Phillips, and Vina to determine who will advance to the playoffs once the end of the year comes around. Expect the Panthers to once again be a strong threat in Class 1A in 2023.


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