Prep Baseball Report

AL HS Team Preview: Tuscaloosa 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: Tuscaloosa County Wildcats 

Coach’s Name: Nick Richardson 

Classification: AHSAA 7A 

2022 Record: 25-9

Area Number: Class 7A, Area 5 

No. of Returning Positional Starters:

No. of Returning Pitchers:

Team Strengths: Returning Experience, Team Speed 

Top Returning Players:

Top 2024 Prospects:

Top 2025 & 2026 Prospects:

Team Outlook

The Tuscaloosa County Wildcats are coming off a strong 2022 campaign where they surpassed the 20-win en route to a berth in the Class 7A playoffs. They should once again have a talented squad this spring with a heavy group of juniors and seniors looking to lead the way.

The Wildcats will bring back most of last year's production both at the plate and on the mound with eight positional starters and five pitchers returning for another year. They finished with a 25-9 and record and had some big wins over quality wins over programs like Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, Northridge, Spain Park, Gulf Shores, and many others on their regular season schedule. Competing in arguably one of the toughest areas in the state regardless of classification, the Wildcats clinched an Area 5 Championship on the final day of area play and hosted the 1st round of the playoffs at home against Vestavia Hills. The Rebels, however, were able to take both games of the series to end Tuscaloosa County's season at 25-9. It was a very successful season, but they'll look to advance even further throughout the playoffs this spring with an experienced team. They will look for senior leadership and offensive production from numerous players, but seniors like OF/RHP Trenton Shirley (Shelton State CC signee, 2023), C Grant Browning (2023) and SS/RHP Hayden Strickland (Gadsden State CC signee, 2023) are going to be huge pieces coming back for another year. Each of these players had integral roles on last year's team, and will look to come back stronger this spring as seniors.

OF Trenton Shirley (3/2/22)
SS Hayden Strickland (6/1/22)

A few more seniors that are expected to help lead the way offensively will be 3B/RHP Ben Arendale (Lawson State CC signee, 2023), and OF Will Keller (Marion Military CC signee, 2023). Both of these players hit in the middle of the order for the Wildcats last spring, and look poised for breakout senior seasons to help carry the load for their offense. In addition to these returning seniors, the Wildcats also have some juniors that should see their roles increase this spring. A couple of those players to watch for this spring will be LHP Spencer Nicholas (2024), OF/LHP Rylee Pate (2024), and UTL/RHP Spencer Johnson (2024).

3B Ben Arendale (1/23/22)
OF Will Keller (6/23/22)

Tuscaloosa County will also feature a few highly-ranked prospects in their underclassmen group that have a chance to make a big impact at the varsity level this spring. 1B/LHP Cooper Clemmons (2025), 3B/RHP Jashaun Moten (2026), and 3B/C Kole Nicholson (2025) are all ranked inside the Top-40 in their respective graduating classes, and will be key pieces for the Wildcats not only this spring, but for the next few years. Some other underclassmen to watch for this spring are C/RHP Camden Barnett (2025), INF Drew Keller (2025), INF/RHP Brooks Mellown (2026), OF/LHP Tate Pettus (2026), and INF/RHP Blake Bowman (2026).

1B Cooper Clemmons (2/26/22)

It's easy to see why the Wildcats are expected to have another strong spring with many upperclassmen coming back with valuable experience and some talented younger players looking to make their impact at the varsity level this year. They will be back in a talented Area 5 once again this spring, and will compete against Hoover, Vestavia Hills, and Thompson for a spot in the playoffs at the end of the year. Expect Tuscaloosa County to be one of the more experienced teams in a deep Class 7A in 2023.


2023 Summer Events

Madison Rising Stars ID 5/28/23 Bob Jones HS (Madison, AL)
Top Prospect Games: Upperclass (Invite-Only) 6/13/23 Choccolocco Park (Oxford, AL)
Top Prospect Games: Underclass (Invite-Only) 6/14/23 Choccolocco Park (Oxford, AL)
Birmingham Open 6/21/23 Spain Park HS (Birmingham, AL)
Birmingham Rising Stars ID 6/21/23 Spain Park HS (Birmingham, AL)
Montgomery Open 6/28/23 Stanhope Elmore HS (Millbrook, AL)
All-State Games (Invite-Only) 7/11/23 Troy University (Troy, AL)
Mobile Rising Stars ID 7/18/23 TBD (Mobile, AL Area)
South Alabama Games (Invite-Only) 7/18/23 TBD (Mobile, AL Area)


+ Click HERE to create a free profile.

+ Click HERE to purchase a subscription which gives you access to additional information on the site. 


Related Content: