Alabama High School Team Preview: Decatur Red Raiders


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: Decatur High School

Classification: AHSAA 6A Area 14

Positional Starters Returning: 4

Pitchers Returning: 4

Team Strengths: Experience up the middle

Team Weaknesses: Pitching depth due to inexperience-- replacing 7 seniors

 

Top Returning Players:

2022 SS William Burgreen 

2022 C Lawson Stricklin 

2021 LHP/1B William Penley 

2021 1B Banks Murphree 

 

Outlook: 

Being strong up the middle is often a recipe for success in baseball and if that is the case, the Decatur Red Raiders have to like their chances in 2021. That strength in the middle of the field should help offset a great deal of inexperience after losing 7 seniors from last year's team. As the season nears, the Red Raiders will be looking for some younger pitchers to step up and provide some quality innings on the mound. A couple of juniors return to help establish their strength in the middle of the field. 2022 C Lawson Stricklin returns after starting evert game as a freshman and sophomore the last 2 seasons. Stricklin has a very strong arm behind the plate and shows some pullside power at the plate. He will help bring a long some of those younger pitchers this year. Junior William Burgreen is a switch hitting SS that brings a lot of athleticism to the Red Raiders. Defensively, he shows plenty of range and the glove work is advanced. Offensively, he shows a very advanced approach from both sides of the plate and does a nice job staying in the middle of the field. Burgreen can run and is a threat when on base.  Senior William Penley also returns and will be counted on as a big offensive threat in the lineup as well as on the mound. The 6'6 220 pound 1B shows some major power at the plate and will be counted on to be a run producer on offense. The senior also shows some promise on the mound as he creates nice downhill tilt on his fastball. Another senior, 6'3 240 pound 1B Banks Murphree, will also be called on to produce offensively in 2021. Murphree should have plenty of opportunities to drive in runs in the season ahead. The Red Raiders should be in the thick of a very challenging 6A Area 14 race. 

 

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