AL HS Team Preview: Smiths Station Panthers


PBR Alabama Staff

High School: Smiths Station Panthers


2019 Record: 23-9

Head Coach: John Ferry

AHSAA Classification: 7A

AHSAA Area: Area 4

2019 Area Finish: 3rd

2019 Playoff Run: N/A


RETURNING STARTERS: 


‘20 C/OF Zane Faulk

‘20 SS Hunter Donaldson

‘20 OF/RHP Carson Swilling

‘21 RHP/3B Trent Hodgdon

‘21 C/RHP Ellis Yohn

‘21 RHP/OF Caden Hare

‘21 C/OF Luke Hasty

‘21 MIF/RHP Javi Marrero

‘20 LHP/OF Christian Bryan


OTHERS TO WATCH: 

‘20 1B/RHP Jackson Huguley

‘21 1B Clayton Freeman

‘21 RHP/OF Jacob Blackman

‘22 SS/2B Logan Collins

‘22 CF/LHP Tucker Sims


TEAM STRENGTHS: 

Pitching

Team Defense

Catching Depth

Strength at the top of the lineup

Team Speed

 

OUTLOOK: 

The Smiths Station Panthers enter the 2020 season with a ton of excitement surrounding the program. The Panthers will battle in one of the toughest 7A areas in the state with Auburn and Central Phenix City. There is a lot to like in Coach Mike Ferry’s squad but the team will be depending on a couple of inexperienced players at infield positions. Senior C/OF Zane Faulk is one of the key returners from the 2019 season as he had a monster offensive year that saw him hit .494 with 11 2B’s and 6 HR’s. He has obvious power to all fields and is equally impressive as both an outfielder and catcher with plus arm strength. Faulk, a Wallace- Dothan signee, shows nice speed as well. ‘20 SS Hunter Donaldson signed with the University of South Alabama after hitting .446 with 10 2B’s, 3 3B’s and 5 HR’s last year. Donaldson is ultra competitive and shows nice defensive actions with the glove and plenty of arm strength across the infield. ‘20 OF/RHP Carson Swilling hit .367 with 11 2B’s and 2 HR’s to go along with a 1.75 ERA on the mound as the closer. This year, the Auburn University signee will move to a starter’s role on the mound (fastball in the low 90’s) while also playing the outfield. ‘21 RHP/3B Trent Hodgdon is a tall, lanky RHP that shows nice command on all three pitches (fastball in the upper 80’s) and is ultra competitive on the mound. The West Virginia University commit will also see time at 3B for the Panthers. ‘21 C/RHP Ellis Yohn shows a nice arm behind the plate and is a solid outfielder as well where the arm strength jumps out as well. He will be utilized on the mound in several roles with a fastball in the upper 80’s and a well shaped breaking ball. Yohn, a UT Martin commit, hit 5 HR’s as a sophomore. ‘21 OF/RHP Caden Hare shows a live arm and can command three pitches making it hard for opposing hitters to square anything up against him. Hare will be counted on to log some key innings as a mainstay in the Panthers rotation. Another junior, C/OF Luke Hasty shows nice strength and athleticism behind the plate and does everything very well. Offensively he has some strength in the hands with power to all fields. The Panthers will count on him to be a run producer in the lineup in 2020. ‘21 MIF/RHP Javi Marrero is another big time arm for the Panthers who recently committed to Troy University. Marrero will be counted on to log a ton of innings this season as he shows command to both sides of the plate with a fastball up to 90 mph. The breaking is a swing and miss pitch as well. ‘20 LHP/OF Christian Bryan is a crafty lefty that knows how to pitch and commands the zone with all of his pitches. The Lawston State signee is also a very solid defensive outfielder. ‘20 1B/RHP Jackson Huguley enters his first year in the program and will provide a physical bat in the middle of the lineup. Huguley is solid around the bag at 1B and will also see time on the mound. ‘21 1B Clayton Freeman is also very solid around the bag at 1B and his offensive game continues to show improvement. Junior RHP/OF Jacob Blackman has a very live arm on the mound and is working to gain experience and confidence on the mound. Blackman is also a speedy outfielder. Two 2022 grads to keep an eye on this year and in the future are SS/2B Logan Collins and CF/LHP Tucker Sims. Collins has a great understanding of the game and has a very advanced offensive approach from the left side. Sims shows solid actions in the outfield and the bat is continuing to improve against varsity level pitching. The southpaw commands the zone well with two pitches and is working on a third pitch. The Panthers are poised for a successful season in 2020.

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