Alabama High School Team Preview: Phil Campbell Bobcats


PBR Alabama Staff

  The 2021 high school baseball season is quickly approaching and as usual, excitement abounds throughout the state. That excitement may be at an all-time high entering this high school season as the 2020 high school baseball season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Players and coaches have been working in preparation for the upcoming season during an offseason unlike any other and as always, there are some very talented players and teams across Alabama.

    Teams across the state have goals and aspirations to finish their seasons in Montgomery 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 note that all information is based on team preview questionnaires that were sent out and returned by the participating high school coaches.

 

High School: Phil Campbell High School

Classification: AHSAA 3A Area 15

Positional Starters Returning: 8

Pitchers Returning: 6

Team Strengths: Senior heavy lineup. Experienced group with several guys that have started since freshman and sophomore years. Pitching depth is a strength.

Team Weaknesses: Injuries. We have some guys fighting their way back from football injuries.

 

Top Returning Players:

2021 RHP/3B Ridge Raper 

2021 RHP/MIF Luke Barnwell 

2021  UTIL Austen Baker 

2022 RHP/MIF Mason Swinney 



Top 2021 Prospects:

2021 OF Trey Leindecker

2021 RHP/OF Levi Crittenden 

2021 1B/DH Eli Smith 

2021 RHP/1B Brett Saint 

2021 INF John-Miller Lawson 


Top 2023 Prospects:

2023 OF/MIF Bryant Hyde 

2023 C Bryant Anthony

2023 LHP Cameron Habada 

2023 RHP Kyle Pace 

2023 RHP Cole Pace 


Outlook: 

The Bobcats of Phil Campbell High School return a veteran group in 2021 with several guys that have been multiple year starters and the team really likes their pitching depth on the mound. One of those senior arms that will be relied on heavily is RHP/3B Ridge Raper, a Wallace Hanceville CC signee. Raper is a rare 5 year starter at the varsity level and will give the Bobcats a front line arm on the mound and a productive bat in the lineup. Senior RHP/MIF Luke Barnwell also returns and will once again toe the rubber for the Bobcats when he is not playing in the middle of the field on the dirt. Barnwell shows easy actions with the glove and also shows solid feel on the mound. He is a returning three year starter. Utility player Austen Baker is another senior that has a ton of experince as he is a four year starter and can play a number of positions on the diamond for the team. Baker's bat is a necessity in the lineup each day. Yet another three year starter that returns in junior RHP/MIF Mason Swinney. The talented 2022 grad doubles as a quality arm (upper 80's FB) and big bat in the lineup. Swinney will be another top end that will see a ton of impoartant innings in 2021 while being counted on to be a top run producer this spring. As mentioned, the Bobcats are a veteran group in 2021 as they will count on five additional seniors in a variety of ways. They are:

2021 OF Trey Leindecker-  A 3 year starter that should be one of the leaders of the team and will be counted on day in and day out to man an outfield spot and be an offensive weapon in the lineup. 

2021 RHP/OF Levi Crittenden-  Another 3 year starter in the program that is a solid defensive outfielder and a right hander pitcher that commands both halves of the plate. 

2021 1B/DH Eli Smith- A big bat that will see time at 1B and will be counted on as a DH on some days. This is a case where the bat need sto be in the lineup.

2021 RHP/1B Brett Saint- The senior will be counted on to add depth on the mound and partner with Smith to give the Bobcats two solid 1st basemen.

2021 INF John-Miller Lawson- A transfer into the program that should provide another quality infielder and a run producing bat.  

In addition to this seasoned group of upperclassmen that return in 2021 there is a solid nucleus of talented sophomores on the horizon. It still remains to be seen how much these sophomores will contribute this year due to all of the experience returning, but there are definite names to remember this year and beyond. 2023 MIF/OF Bryant Hyde is an athletic youngster that doubles as a quality MIF or outfielder. Bryant Anthony is a sophomore catcher that shows solid actions behnd the plate and is a very quiet receiver of pitches. Sophomore LHP Cameron Habada is a nice looking young southpaw that shows a clean arm action and plus movement on the faceball. Twin brothers Kyle Pace and Cole Pace are solid right handed arms and both show a solid mix of three pitches and will be counted on in the next few years to log quality innings for the Bobcats. 

The Bobcats should be major factors in the 3A race this season. 

 

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