Alabama High School Team Preview: Arab Knights
January 12, 2022
The 2022 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 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 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: Arab Knights
Coach’s Name: Chad Hudson
Classification: AHSAA 6A
Area Number: Area 15
No. of Returning Positional Starters: 5
No. of Returning Pitchers: 3
Team Strengths: The Knights return a lot of their everyday lineup from last year as they bring back 5 everyday starters and several other guys who played a lot. There is a lot of experience in the lineup.
Top Returning Players:
- 3B Dakota NeSmith (2023)
- SS Hayden Turner (Shelton State CC, 2022)
- RHP/OF Brody McCain (2023)
- C Weslee Staton (2023)
- OF Wes Johnson (2022)
- UTL John Ray Wilks (2023)
- INF Owen Garrison (2023)
- 1B Spencer Strickland (2023)
- 1B JD Hall (2023)
- OF/RHP Aiden Cox (2023)
- C KB Lackey (2024)
Top 2024 & 2025 Prospects:
The Arab Knights head into the 2022 season with high aspirations to make it back to the 6A State Playoffs, like they did last spring. The Knights finished as the runner-up in their area and was dealt the difficult task of facing top-5 ranked Oxford in the 1st Round. This year, the Knights return a lot from that team and will look to make it back to the playoffs in 2022.
The Knights return the majority of their lineup from last year, so they should be able to put up some runs offensively. 3B Dakota NeSmith was the Knights' best power hitter last year, hitting .314 with four home runs & 25 RBI's hitting in the heart of the lineup. He'll also be relied on to pitch some important innings on the mound, as well. SS Hayden Turner (Shelton State CC) is expecting a big year as one of the key leaders for this team. He's a four-year starter who drove in 15 run and scored 25 times last spring. Turner will start at shortstop and serves as the team's closer, as well. RHP/OF Brody McCain comes back for his junior season as the ace for this rotation after leading the way last spring. McCain is more of a low-80's right-hander with good command of all pitches & excellent composure on the mound. He had a 2.41 ERA last year and will also play in the outfield when not pitching.
C Weslee Staton is another key piece coming back for the Knights, as he'll serve as the starting catcher on this year's time. Staton hit at a .291 clip last year while driving 19 runs in the process. OF Wes Johnson will patrol center field once again for Arab, and also be looked upon to provide some offensive production in the lineup. UTL John Ray Wilks & INF Owen Garrison both saw some significant playing time last spring, and should see their roles expand this year. 1B Spender Strickland & 1B JD Hall are a pair of juniors who are still battling it out for playing time at 1st base. OF/RHP Aiden Cox & C KB Lackey also have a chance to make an immediate impact this spring. In addition to these players, there are plenty more talented players competing for starting roles heading into the preseason. Knights have enough key pieces returning from last year to have another successful spring in 2022.
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