Prep Baseball Report

Alabama High School Team Preview: Gardendale Rockets

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: Gardendale High School

Classification: AHSAA 6A Area 12

Positional Starters Returning: 3

Pitchers Returning: 3

Team Strengths: Defense. Lost both middle infielders but the new guys are solid. OF should be solid and the Rockets are deep at C.

Team Weaknesses: Hitting. The potential to be good is there but there are so many inexperienced guys.


Top Returning Players:

2021 3B/OF/RHP Presley Walker 

2021 OF CJ Bryant 

2021 RHP Daniel Bradley 


Top 2021 Prospects:

2021 RHP Drew Shackleford 


Top 2022 Prospects:

2022 C Juan Morales 

2022 3B/RHP Eli Moore 

2022 INF Jayce DuBose 


Top 2023 Prospects:

2023 C/3B/RHP Connor Hensley 



The Rockets enter the 2021 season expecting to defend at a high level even though a few valuable players were lost from the shortened 2020 season. Several talented newcomers will be counted on this spring. One key returnee is senior OF/3B/RHP Presley Walker, a Wallace-Hanceville CC signee. Walker has a throwback mentality to his game. He runs very well and has great bat speed with power to all fields. Speedy senior OF CJ Bryant also returns. Bryant is a Transylvania University signee and the Rockets will be looking for a big year from him. He covers a ton of ground in the outfield and shows a short, base hit approach at the plate. Once on the bases, Bryant is a legitimate threat and can create havoc with his speed. RHP Daniel Bradley is another senior that will be called on in an expanded role in 2021. He does a nice job keeping the ball down in the zone and is a strike-thrower. He is that arm that is  not going to light up a radar gun but simply gets people out. Another senior arm that will be looked on to log some big innings this spring is RHP Drew ShacklefordHe has worked extremely hard this offseason and has been a relief pitcher in the past but could move into a starting role this year. Three juniors to keep an eye on this year are:

2022 C Juan Morales: Morales ransferred into the proagram and has a plus arm behind the plate. The switch hitter has good pop from both sides of the plate.

 2022 3B/RHP Eli Moore: He logged a lot of innings last year as a sophomore. He shows good arm action and has improved since last year which should translate well to the mound.

2022 INF Jayce DuBose: The sophomore shows solid, fluid actions with the glove and can move well to both sides. The bat path is clean and he handles the barrel well. 

Sophomore C/3B/RHP Connor Hensley (6'2 175 lbs.) is another transfer into the program and has a very good on the mound, behind the plate and on the infield. He is an extremely hard worker and should help the Rockets this year in some capacity. 

The Rockets will be an interesting team to follow in a loaded 6A classification this year.


Follow us on Twitter at @PBR_Alabama.

Check out our website for more information on prep baseball in the Yellowhammer State. 

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

Click HERE to create a free profile.


Related Content: