Prep Baseball Report

AL HS Team Preview: James Clemens Jets

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: James Clemens Jets 

Coach’s Name: Johnny Johnson 

Classification: AHSAA 7A 

2022 Record: 24-20

Area Number: Class 7A, Area 8 

No. of Returning Positional Starters:

No. of Returning Pitchers:

Team Strengths: Infield Defense, Pitching Depth  

Top Returning Players:

Top 2023 Prospects:

  • RHP/OF Hunter Harris (Columbia State CC, 2023)
  • OF Brooks Kulavich (2023)

Top 2024 Prospects:

  • RHP Mason Busch (2024)
  • OF Aidan Cook (2024)
  •  C JT Johnson (2024)
  • OF Carson Loosier (2024)
  • RHP Cade McComb (2024)

Top 2025 & 2026 Prospects:

Team Outlook

The James Clemens Jets should be a very experienced, veteran group in 2023 with most of their primary contributors being either seniors or juniors. They reached the Elite 8 in the Class 7A playoffs a season ago, and will look to have that same type of success as we head in the 2023 season.

The Jets played a very difficult schedule in 2022 with hopes of being well-prepared and battle-tested once the most important parts of their season came around at the end of the year. They were participants in the inaugural PBR AL Kickoff Classic, where they dropped two closely-contested games to Mobile Christian and Vestavia Hills on Saturday. They would go on to play quality teams throughout the rest of the season, and recorded big wins over teams like Hazel Green, Cullman, Buckhorn, Sparkman, and others on their regular season schedule. They finished as the runner-up in their area behind Bob Jones, and hit the road in the 1st round of the playoffs to face off against Huntsville. During their series with Panthers, James Clemens won two low-scoring, one-run games by scores of 4-3 and 2-1 to advance to the Elite 8 in Class 6A. The competition would continue to ramp up, as they hosted Hewitt-Trussville in the 2nd round with a spot in the Final 4 on the line. After winning Game 1 of that series on a walk-off double, the Jets would drop Games 2 and 3 by scores of 3-0 and 8-0 to end their season at 24-20. With many of those players coming back this year, the Jets should have plenty of confidence and motivation to once again be a threat in Class 7A. SS Andrew Lawrence (East Tennessee State signee, 2023) returns as one of their top middle-of-the-order hitters this spring after a strong junior campaign. He will be one of their leaders with valuable experience under his belt at the varsity level.

SS Andrew Lawrence (5/15/22)

Two more seniors that will be sure provide some power and run-scoring ability are 1B Nathan Guyse (2023) and C Colten Payton (Wallace-Hanceville CC signee, 2023). Guyse is one of the top uncommitted hitters in the state, while Payton is another power threat in the middle of the order and is coming off a strong showing at last month's North AL Preseason All-State.

1B Nathan Guyse (5/15/22)
C Colten Payton (1/7/23)

Looking to lead the charge on the mound, the Jets have a few options returning that will look to continue to throw significant innings and see their roles increase this spring. RHP Grant Gage (Wallace-Hanceville CC, 2023) is one of those right-handers that will throw important innings for the Jets using his mid-to-upper-80's fastball and solid secondary offerings that he fills the zone up with.

RHP Grant Gage (1/7/23)

RHP/INF Luke Davenport (Auburn recruit, 2024) and LHP/1B Satchel Wheeler (2024) is a pair of juniors who will also be key pitchers the Jets will rely on this spring. Davenport has worked up into the upper-80's with his fastball, while Wheeler has shown excellent pitchability with quality offerings, as well. Both of them will also have a chance to provide production offensively, as well.

RHP Luke Davenport (4/4/22)

A couple other upperclassmen that return to this year's roster are INF Francisco Ramirez (2024) and OF David Sharp (2024). Ramirez is a contact-type hitter with sure-hands defensively, while Sharp played some significant innings last spring, but will unfortunately miss the season due to injury. Some more upperclassmen that will fight for playing time and provide depth this spring will be RHP/OF Hunter Harris (Columbia State CC signee, 2023), OF Brooks Kulavich (2023), RHP Mason Busch (2024), OF Aidan Cook (2024), C JT Johnson (2024), OF Carson Loosier (2024), and RHP Cade McComb (2024). All of these seniors and juniors will be expected to have different roles on this team in order for them to be successful. Some other younger players that are expected to push for playing time earlier in the season are INF/RHP Ty Marsh (2025), RHP Cody Hodges (2025), INF/RHP Matthew Drinkwater (2026), and 1B/RHP Ethan Hopkins (2026). These underclassmen will look to provide depth and assume various roles for the Jets this spring. 

The Jets still have some needs and positions that are still up for grabs heading into the spring, but there's plenty of players on this team that come back with loads of experience at the varsity level. They should be a strong offensive club with plenty of depth and pieces on the mound. They will once again compete in Area 8 against Bob Jones, Florence, and Austin for a spot in the Class 7A playoffs at the end of the season. Expect James Clemens to be a strong contender and right back in the mix in Class 7A at the end of the season in 2023.


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