Prep Baseball Report

East Alabama Classic Notebook: Day 1

Austin Sharp
Alabama Scouting Director

The East Alabama Classic is an annual event that occurs in the Auburn, Opelika, & Phenix City area each year in Alabama. Teams from around Mobile, Birmingham, Huntsville, and other areas travel down to the eastern part of Alabama to play against each other. These games are always high intense, talent-filled, and fun to watch for any spectator. This year, the host sites are Auburn High School, Opelika High School, Smiths Station High School, Central Phenix City High School and Russell County High School.

With excellent venues like these, it makes for great baseball in the eastern part of the state. This year, that seems to be the case again. This event always draws some of the top teams and players in Alabama. This year’s participants are:

  • 7A No. 1 Auburn

  • 7A No. 2 Central Phenix City

  • 7A No. 6 Smiths Station

  • 7A No. 8 Spain Park

  • 7A Fairhope

  • 7A Tuscaloosa County

  • 7A Baker

  • 7A Sparkman

  • 6A No. 1 Faith Academy

  • 6A No. 2 Helena

  • 6A No. 7 Saraland

  • 6A Spanish Fort

  • 6A Gulf Shores

  • 6A Russell County

  • 6A Opelika

Games got kicked off on Thursday, March 11th, and we had boots on the ground covering some of these games. Today, we take a look back at these games from yesterday and check out some of the final scores, top performers, and reports & video from some players who caught our scouts’ eyes.


Thursday Standouts


+ OF Brandon Green (2023) has really expanded his role so far in his sophomore season for the Panthers. Hitting in the 2-hole of a talented lineup, Green showed he was ready for the big moment against an SEC arm on Thursday night. Still a bit undersized, Green still put together solid contact on each of his hits from the right side. He recorded a single in the 1st, and later came up in his 2nd at-bat of the game in a big spot with the game tied and lined a single through the right side to give his team the lead. He’s a great runner with excellent barrel accuracy at the plate. Line drive type hitter & approach that is starting to make a name for himself in 2021.

OF Brandon Green (3/11/21)

+ 3B/DH Cole Morton (2022) had arguably the biggest swing of the day by any hitter on either lineup. Hitting in the 3-hole and on a current offensive tear over the past few weeks, Morton caught a fastball over the middle of the plate and did not miss it. Created great extension out front & used a strong 6-1, 190 pound frame to muscle it out to the deepest part of the yard in center field. Ball comes off the bat very loud when he connects with it and makes solid contact. Drove home three runs on that one swing, which was a three-run home run to give his team the lead at that time. 

DH Cole Morton (3/11/21)

+ OF Jackson Ray (2022) has been extremely consistent for the Toros hitting at the top of the order. A left-handed hitter with a smooth, balanced swing, Ray recorded three hits in two games at the East Alabama Classic. Turned around an 84 mph fastball in the Toros’ first game of the day down the left field line to drive in a runner from 2nd base. Logged two more hits, one being another double, in their nightcap. Ray also started on the mound, going 4.2 innings while only allowing one earned run and striking out nine in a quality start. Athletic player that has gotten off to a great start to his junior season.

OF Jackson Ray (3/11/21)

+ RHP Khristian Hill (2023) was a pleasant surprise for me on the mound for the Smiths Station Panthers. After his team regained the lead in the later innings, the sophomore right-handed hurler was tasked with closing out the game against the meat of the Toro order. Hill did that and more, going 2.2 IP while striking out two and only allowing one base runner on a walk. In the process, Hill pounded the zone with consistency at 82-83, 85 mph (twice) with sink when to the arm side. It’s a loose arm action with intent for driving it through the zone. Flashed a developing breaking ball, but the fastball was enough to get him through 2 ⅔ IP. With this being his first outing at the varsity level, Hill showed no issue with command. Throwing 39 pitches in the outing, 27 of those were for strikes. An intriguing follow for the sophomore class.

RHP Khristian Hill (3/11/21)

+ RHP/QB1 Brax Garrison (2023) was another sophomore arm that stood out on Day 1 of the East Alabama Classic. A sought after QB prospect, Garrison also showed some ability on the mound in his start versus current 7A No. 1 Auburn HS. A physical specimen at 6-4, 210 pounds, Garrison navigated his way through a veteran lineup efficiently for 4 ⅓ innings. Garrison started off having to labor a bit with some high-stress pitches due to lack of command and walks, but soon found a groove in the middle innings. Worked anywhere from 80-84 mph throughout, and touched 86 mph in the 1st inning. Tends to cut the fastball when to the arm side, and got more swings and misses because of it. Went to his breaking ball when facing the order for the third time around that flashed promise at 68-70 mph. He finished striking out five hitters, walked six, and allowed only two hits and zero earned runs in 4 ⅓ innings. 

RHP Brax Garrison (3/11/21)

+ OF/C/DH Walker Zapp (2022) is a familiar face that has seemed to have gotten better and better at each look. Slotted in the designated hitter role on Thursday night for the Tigers, Zapp reached base in all four plate appearances. Reached on a double/misplayed ball in left field during his first at-bat of the game, walked twice, and singled in the 6th inning. Zapp showed off a little bit of the clutch gene in Thursday’s contest. With his team trailing and only four outs left, Zapp came to the plate with the tying run on 2nd and two outs. The 5-11, 190 pounder adjusted well to a breaking ball, and served it back up the middle, scoring the tying run for the Tigers in a huge situation. He came back up in the 8th, but was intentionally walked. We’ve seen how well he defends behind the plate during the summer/fall circuit, but is playing more outfield/designated hitter so his bat can be in the lineup. A former Future Gamer from this past summer that is still on the market.

DH Walker Zapp (3/11/21)



Thursday, March 11th Scores

7A No. 6 Smiths Station (11) vs. 6A Spanish Fort (7)

Location: Smiths Station HS

Smiths Station

Logan Collins - 2-3, 3 RBI’s, 2 R’s, HBP

Brandon Green - 2-5, RBI, R

Khristian Hill - 2.2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K’s

Spanish Fort

Cole Morton - 1-3, HR, 3 RBI’s

Jackson Ray - 1-3, 2B, RBI, R

6A No. 1 Faith Academy (6) vs. 6A Russell County (1)

Location: Russell County HS

Faith Academy

Gabe Broadus - 3-4, 2B, RBI

Parker Carlson - 3-4, 2B, RBI, R

Jay Seymour - 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI’s, R

Peyton Bell - W, 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 10 K’s; 1-3, BB, R

Russell County

Colton Wombles - 1-3, HR, RBI

7A No. 2 Central Phenix City (10) vs. 6A Gulf Shores (0)

Location: Central Phenix City HS

Central Phenix City

Zion Morris - 2-4, HR, 5 RBI’s

Will Cannon - W, 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 6 K’s

Gulf Shores

Jackson Achimon - 1-2, BB

6A Russell County (3) vs. 6A No. 1 Faith Academy (2)

Location: Russell County HS

Russell County

Alex Strickland - 2-3, 3B, 3 RBI’s

Taylor Battles - W, 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), BB, 9 K’s

Faith Academy

Cole Berry - 2-3, 2B, RBI

7A No. 1 Auburn (4) vs. 7A Tuscaloosa County (3)

Location: Auburn HS


Ryan Austin - 1-4, RBI, R

Walker Zapp - 2-2, 2B, RBI, 2 BB

Brendan Wall - Walk-off RBI single in 8th

Matthew Rhodes - 5.1 IP, H, 2 R, BB, 10 K’s

Griffin Stewart - W, 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K’s

Tuscaloosa County 

TJ Glasgow - 2-3, RBI

Ben Arendale - 1-2, RBI

6A Spanish Fort (11) vs. 6A Opelika (5)

Location: Opelika HS

Spanish Fort

Pierce Dutton - 1-4, GS, 4 RBI’s

Jackson Ray - 2-4, 2B, RBI, 2 R’s; 4.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 9 K’s

Matthew Thompson - 1B, 2 RBI’s, BB


Kydylan Ligon - 5 IP, 3 H, 3 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 10 K’s

Julian Duke - 2B, 3 RBI’s, BB

Jacob Smith - 3-4