AL HS Team Preview: Shelby County Wildcats

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: Shelby County Wildcats

Coach’s Name: Cory Hamrick 

Classification: AHSAA 5A 

2022 Record: 31-6

Area Number: Class 5A, Area 8 

No. of Returning Positional Starters:

No. of Returning Pitchers:

Team Strengths: Senior Leadership, Pitching Depth

Top Returning Players:

Top 2024 Prospects:

Top 2025 & 2026 Prospects:

Team Outlook

The Shelby County Wildcats continued to take a step in the right direction in 2022, as they boasted a 31-6 record and were ranked as the No. 1 team in Class 5A heading into the playoffs. Coach Hamrick & Co. will once again look to build off of prior success and advance even deeper throughout the playoffs with a strong core of returning players from last year's roster back in 2023.

The Wildcats swept through their area series in 2022 and were able to host the 1st round of the Class 5A playoffs, but were paired with a talented St. Paul's Episcopal squad right out of the gate. They were able to defeat the Saints in a three-game series by winning Games 2 and 3 to advance to the 2nd round, where they would match up against Pike Road. The Wildcats swept their opponent by scores of 9-4 and 4-1 to clinch their spot in the Elite 8. Having to travel this round to Headland, who was also ranked inside the Top-5 in Class 5A, Shelby County was ultimately defeated in a thrilling three-game series by scores of 2-3, 2-1 and 3-10 to close an impressive 2022 campaign at 31-6. They do, however, bring back a very upperclassmen-led roster this spring that features 11 seniors and plenty of players that have tons of experience at the varsity level. Leading it off, SS Carter Sheehan (2023) will look to build off of his stellar junior season where he served as a catalyst for the Wildcats hitting at the top of the order. Sheehan earned All-State honors in 2022 and scored a ton of runs for their squad. He is an excellent defensive infielder with plenty of speed and pop in the right-handed box and is going to be looked upon for another strong senior season.

SS Carter Sheehan (4/19/22)

Another player that comes back for Shelby County after receiving All-State honors a season ago will be RHP/OF Jacob Fox (2023). The senior posted a perfect 11-0 record on the mound during his junior season and is an elite competitor on the mound while serving as one of their leaders in the clubhouse. Expect for him to once again have another strong season in 2023, both at the plate and on the mound. 1B Austin Wilson (2023) is another offensive threat that returns to the heart of their order after being one of their offensive leaders just a season ago. Wilson stands a physical 6-foot-3, 220-pounds and has loads of power from the right side of the plate. He will be expected to once again be a primary run-producer for this offense.

1B Austin Wilson (7/6/22)

INF Logan Starnes (Gadsden State CC signee, 2023) will also once again be a key piece for this offensive and will hit at the top of their order this spring. Starnes will look to build off of a strong junior campaign where he was one of the leaders at the plate using plenty of pop hitting from the right side of the plate. He will also be a key defender playing up the middle for the Wildcats defensively.

INF Logan Starnes (6/23/22)

Looking to provide an immediate boost to this team after missing some of last year's season will be RHP/OF Micah Morris (2024), who has a chance to be one of their top arms in the rotation this spring. Morris made a quick impression at this January's Birmingham Preseason ID, both at the plate and on the mound where he ran his fastball up to 86 mph. The uncommitted junior will look to be a steady force offensively hitting in the middle of the order and is a big piece coming back to the Wildcats' roster.

OF/RHP Micah Morris (1/5/23)

Shelby County also has some talented underclassmen players who are looking to make their impact at the varsity level this spring. UTL/RHP Cooper Pennington (2026), a Top-20 prospect in the freshman class in AL, played a vital role on last year's team as an eighth-grader and will only continue to see his role expand this season. Pennington is advanced physically standing 6-foot-2, 210-pounds and has seen his fastball work into the mid-80's on the mound while showing immense pull-side power hitting from the left side of the plate. Expect more big things from Pennington during his freshman season.

UTL Cooper Pennington (1/7/23)

Another young player that is battling for playing time this spring is C/OF Davis Ruston (2026), who is a freshman that is described as one of the hardest workers in the program. He'll look for that work to pay off this year as he competes for playing time in the early part of the season. It's easy to see why the Wildcats have a chance to take another step in the right direction this spring with plenty of upperclassmen talent coming back and a good mix of younger players looking to make an impact. Competing in Area 8 against Central-Clay County and Sylacauga, expect the Wildcats to once again be a strong threat in a deep Class 5A in 2023.


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