Alabama High School Team Preview: Smiths Station Panthers


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: Smiths Station High School 

Classification: AHSAA 7A Area 3

Positional Starters Returning: 3

Pitchers Returning: 4

Team Strengths: Should be competitive on the mound and be solid defensively

 Team Weaknesses: Lost 80% of offensive productivity from a year ago. 


Top Returning Players:

2021 RHP Trent Hodgdon 

2021 C/RHP Ellis Yohn 

2021 C/OF Luke Hasty 

2021 RHP/OF Caden Hare 


Top 2021 Prospects:

2021 RHP/INF Gavin Blair 

2021 RHP/OF Jacob Blackmon 

2021 1B Clayton Freeman 

 

Top 2022 Prospects:

2022 SS Logan Collins 

2022 C/INF Peyton Harrell 

2022 LHP/OF Tucker Sims 

 

Top 2023 Prospects:

2023 LHP/UTL Jake Middleton 

2023 OF Jason Tharpe 

2023 INF Brandon Green 

2023 RHP/UTL Kristian Hill 


Outlook: 

The Panthers return a strong senior class this season that should provide some veteran leadership for the 2021 team. Solid pitching and strong defense should be consistent during the 2021 season while the team will look for some new faces to step up with the bat. The top retunring pitcher for the Panthers is senior RHP Trent Hodgdon. The West Virginia signee commands an upper 80's fastball well while featuring a well above average breaking ball. Hodgdon simply pounds the zone with multiple pitchers and he will also be counted on to be a run producer for the Panthers. Senior UT Martin signee Ellis Yohn is a very versatile player that can, and will play all over the field at various positions. Yohn will be a quality arm and power bat in the Smiths Station lineup. Senior C/OF Luke Hasty shows very solid receiving skills behind the plate and also doubles as a quality outfielder. He brings some physicality to the Panthers batting order as well. Senior Caden Hare also returns and will add to that quality pitching depth as he features a fastball with late action and a power breaking ball. Hare will also be counted on in the outfield as well. Three other seniors to keep an eye on in 2021 are RHP/IINF Gavin Blair, RHP/OF Jacob Blackmon and 1B Clayton Freeman. Blair shows solid action on the infield and is very effective mixing pitches on the mound. Blackmon (signed with Northwest Florida State College) is looking to be a major contributor on the mound this spring. He has an electric arm and can be dominating. Freeman is really good defensively at 1B and is looking to break out offensively this season. Junior SS Logan Collins is a sure handed middle infielder that also has a solid left handed swing at the plate. Collins has committed to Wofford. Peyton Harrell is another junior that will see time behind the plate and in the infield. Harrell is a serious threat with the bat. Junior Tucker Sims will give hitters a different look on the mound as the southpaw shows serious movement on his pitches. Sims also shows advanced actions as an outfielder as well. A few sophomores to keep an eye this year and in years to come are LHP/UTL Jake Middleton, OF Jason Tharpe, INF Brandon Green and RHP/UTL Kristian Hill. Middleton wil be counted on to log some innings this year and will play several different positions in the outfield and possibly some 1B. Tharpe is a left handed hitting outfielder that has phenomenal speed and is a superb outfielder, getting great jumps on balls off the bat. Green has an advanced approach to the defensive part of the game and has solid, fluid glovework. Hill will get an opprtunity to pitch this year and could be a big piece to the Panthers pitching staff. A solid collection of upperclassmen and underclassmen will make the Panthers very competitive once again in 2021.  


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