Alabama High School Team Preview: Bob Jones Patriots

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: Bob Jones

Classification: AHSAA 7A Area 8

Positional Starters Returning: 2

Pitchers Returning: 1

Team Strengths: Offensive Power, #1 pitcher gives us a chance to win every time. Potential draft pick behind the plate. 4-year starter at 3rd base.

Team Weaknesses: Proven pitching depth (Only 1 guy pitched more than 6 innings last year). Inexperience (only 1 player returning from the 2019 State Runner-Up team)


Top Returning Players:

2021 RHP Thomas Ballard

2021 3B Slate Alford 

2021 C Max Soliz Jr. 

2021 MIF Ryan West 


Top 2021 Prospects:

2021 OF Brycen Hammonds 


Top 2022 Prospects:

2022 1B/RHP JW Hopkins 

2022 RHP/OF Gracin Wilson 

2022 RHP/MIF Cole Molina 


Top 2023 and 2024 Prospects:

2023 MIF/C/RHP Nate Mayfield 

2023 1B/RHP Sam Mitchell 

2024 INF/RHP Braden Booth 



The Patriots lost a great deal of talent from the shortened 2020 season but there is still talent aplenty as the 2021 season approaches. There still should be an abundance of power in the offensive lineup this season but the team will be looking some quality depth on the mound. Speaking of that offensive fire power, senior 3B Slate Alford (Mississippi State signee) and C Maz Soliz, Jr (Arkansas signee) should provide plenty of that this season. Alford was the team's 2020 Co-Offensive MVP and is a 4-year starter and has tons of juice to the pullside. Soliz is a potential high MLB Draft pick, and has really improved his swing this summer/fall and the coaching staff is expecting a big year from him. Alford and Soliz will both be at the PBR Super 60 on February in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Senior RHP Thomas Ballard is the unquestioned leader on the mound this season. The UAB signee returns after being named the team's 2020 Pitcher of the Year and shows a fastball in the upper 80's while also flashing legit secondary stuff. Ballard simply knows how to pitch. Ryan West is another senior that has signed to play at the next level. The middle infielder signed with Coastal Alabama East and is the strongest player on team, as well as being the leader of the group. Look for senior OF Brycen Hammonds to man one of the OF spots as he moves well in the outfield and has some elite bat speed at the plate. Three juniors that should factor in a big way in 2021 are 1B/RHP JW Hopkins, RHP/OF Gracin Wilson and RHP/MIF Cole Molina. Hopkins (6'3 215 lbs.) is just another big right handed bat the Patriots have who saw some varsity AB's a year ago and has produced some massive exit velocity numbers. Wilson will probably will be the Patriots #2 or 3 on the mound as he features a mid to upper 80s fastball. Molina is a transfer from Louisiana who just knows how to pitch. The junior features a mid 80's fastball among his 3 quality pitches. He has the  potential to be the #2 starter on the mound. A couple of sophomores and a freshman are also names to keep an eye on:

2023 MIF/C/RHP Nate MayfieldHas a chance to have a break out year if he can make his way in the lineup as a sophomore. Talented young player.

 2023 1B/RHP Sam Mayfield: Big kid (6'5 200 lbs.) who can really hit. He may be in the mix this year but without a doubt, will be a major factor over the next few years.

2024 INF/RHP Braden Booth: The young prospect could be the team's starting SS as a freshman and will see time on the mound in 2021. A possible future big time talent. 

Even though the Patriots lost a ton of from last year's team, look for the 2021 version to still be in the middle of things in 7A. 

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