AL HS Team Preview: Pike Liberal Arts Patriots

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: Pike Liberal Arts Patriots

Coach’s Name: Will Austin  

Classification: AHSAA 2A 

2022 Record: 32-4

Area Number: Class 2A, Area 5 

No. of Returning Positional Starters:

No. of Returning Pitchers:

Team Strengths: Competitive, Team Defense, Pitching, Situational Hitting  

Top Returning Players:

Top 2024 Prospects:

  • RHP/INF Houston Gunter (2024)

Top 2025 & 2026 Prospects:

  • RHP/OF Dawson Bradford (2025)
  • RHP/INF Pruitt Vaughan (2025)
  • OF Jackson Booth (2025)
  • RHP/OF Rhodes Baker (2025)
  • RHP/INF Wilson Cotton (2025)
  • RHP/INF Cody Boyett (2025)
  • C/RHP Jack Baggett (2026)
  • RHP/INF Garrett Whitaker (2027)
  • RHP/INF Cole Garrott (2027)

Team Outlook

The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots will make the move from AISA to AHSAA this spring after becoming a powerhouse at the private school level over the past few years. Winners of four-consecutive AISA State Titles, the Patriots will look to replicate that same success this spring competing in Class 2A in AHSAA.

The Patriots have continued to churn out next-level prospects over the past few years, including numerous prospects from last spring that are now freshman at various college programs. They had arguably one of their more impressive years in 2022, going 32-4 and winning the Class AAA State Title while outscoring their opponents 336-67 in their 36 total games. The Patriots swept through each of their playoff matchups, including in the state title over Glenwood by scores of 1-0 and 6-1 with that series being filled with top prospects from both teams. They'll need some other players to replace players like Drew Nelson, Cason Eubanks, Press Jefcoat, Skylar Kidd, and others from last year's team, but still return a strong amount of players from last year's team to be a real contender in their first year in Class 2A. SS/RHP KC Bradford (2023) is one of those players that contributed to last year's success, but will need to continue to take the next step this spring and be one of the leaders offensively and on the mound for the Patriots. He's a two-sport athlete who can multiple positions defensively. RHP/INF Davis Kilcrease (2023) and RHP/OF Levi DeBoer (2023) are two more seniors that will be looked upon to produce in a variety of way while being one of the leaders of this team. C John Lott (2024) returns to behind for the third-consecutive season after taking over starting duties during his freshman campaign, and hasn't looked back since. Lott has shown the ability to handle elite-level arms behind the plate and will look to a force hitting in the middle of the order this spring.

C John Lott (3/9/22)

Also looking to throw some big innings on the mound this spring, LHP Will Rice (2024) is another junior who continues to take steps in the right direction and looks poised for a breakout campaign this year. INF Payne Jefcoat (2024) should continue to see his role expand this spring, as well. Jefcoat saw some playing time last spring and is looking to build off of that during his junior season. Two underclassmen to watch for this spring and in the future will be RHP/INF Kade Brookins (2025) and RHP/INF Luke Barron (2025), as they will look to compete for starting roles early in the season and continue to gain experience as the year goes on. In addition to these returners mentioned above, the Patriots will need some newer faces to step in and fill the shoes of those seniors who graduated last spring and provide depth both at the plate and on the mound. Some of those players to watch for will be RHP/INF Houston Gunter (2024), RHP/OF Dawson Bradford (2025), Pruitt Vaughan (2025), OF Jackson Booth (2025), RHP/OF Rhodes Baker (2025), RHP/INF Wilson Cotton (2025), RHP/INF Cody Boyett (2025), C/RHP Jack Baggett (2026), RHP/INF Garrett Whitaker (2027), and RHP/INF Cole Garrott (2027). The Patriots will compete in Area 5 against Goshen, Highland Home, and Luverne for a spot in the Class 2A playoffs at the end of the year, and all signs point to another strong season this spring. Pike Liberal Arts will look to continue their steady trend of success over the past few years and be a real contender once the end of the season comes around in Class 2A in 2023.


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