PREP BASEBALL: 2020 season recap; COVID-19 brings early end to spring sports

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Cullman’s Hayden Stancil (left) and Hanceville’s Kainen Cruce (right). (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – With Gov. Ivey and State Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey’s announcement about students staying home for the rest of the school year coming Thursday afternoon, that puts a lid on spring sports for 2020. As a result, this year’s baseball season is now officially in the books and though we weren’t able to get many games played, there were still plenty of bright spots for local teams that are worth discussing.

Addison Bulldogs (5-4)

Addison looked to bounce back after a rough 2019 season and its season early on saw a few postponements/cancellations, but they still started the new campaign 3-0 and were 4-1 before dropping three in a row. The Bulldogs shook off the losing streak to defeat Oakman on the road to improve to 5-4 on the season. Addison’s squad featured a good group of upperclassmen mixed with eight sophomores and got some strong pitching from senior Luke Waldrep to start the season. Addison will lose five seniors to graduation, Jake Wilson, Colton Tyree, Brett Smith, Jason Pellicer and Waldrep and after the way this season has ended, the returning Bulldogs should be hungry for their next opportunity to get back on the field.

Cold Springs (4-0)

Cold Springs’ 2020 season saw several games get postponed early on, but the Eagles didn’t lose once they began playing. They defeated Vinemont, Hanceville, Holly Pond and Good Hope to put together a record of 4-0. The reason behind their 4-0 season is their offense, which put up seven or more runs in all of its games thanks to a roster is filled with upperclassmen. Brooks Stephenson, Sam Rollo, Brylan Aaron, Logan Rice, Dylan Gable, Anthony Chaver-Figueroa and Lawson Burgess have played their final games on the diamond for the Eagles but there will be a lot of new faces anxious to get back on the field next spring.

Cullman (9-6)

Cullman was aiming for a repeat of its amazing 2019 season. The ‘Cats entered the season as the defending 6A State Champs and got off to a fast start to start in 2020, going 8-2 in their first 10 games. After dropping a few games away from home, the Bearcats defeated James Clemens on the road to move to 9-6 on the season. Ben Hollis, Easton Dean, Cooper Bowen, Brady Patterson, Nick Braswell, Eli Kilpatrick and A.J. Miller have played their last games in black and gold but after this unprecedented end to the season, next year’s Cullman will team will be excited to get back on the field.

Fairview (2-5)

Fairview was looking for a strong start in 2020 but just like Cold Springs, the Aggies had several early games get rained out. Once they could get on the field, the Aggies won their first two games over J.B. Pennington and Danville before dropping five in a row, including a pair of losses to West Point on March 16th to drop to 2-5. Its roster consisted a truckload of juniors, only one senior, and a few underclassmen and if the season does get back underway, Fairview will look to get back on the right track and use their experienced roster to their advantage.

Good Hope (2-6)

After Good Hope finished out 2019 strong, going 4-1 in their final five games, the Raiders looked to keep that momentum going into 2020. The Raiders got off to a slow start, going 1-3 before rolling past Holly Pond on the road. Good Hope wound up dropping its next three games to bring its record to 2-6 on the season. Austin Wright, Ashton Twilley, Colton Williams, Cole Maddox and Harper Chiaranda are set to graduate this summer but there are still some impact players set to return next spring.

Hanceville (6-6)

Hanceville was aiming for another strong start in 2020 but got off to a 1-4 start in its first five matchups. The Bulldogs quickly got things turned around and defeated Danville and Fairview and wound up going 3-2 in their last five games, including two wins over Holly Pond on the 16th, improving their record to 6-6 this season. Hanceville will lose Matthew Cornelius, Ashton James, Kainen Cruce and Cainon Moore to graduation this summer, leaving plenty of spots for new faces to step into next season.

Holly Pond (2-7)

Holly Pond got off to a strong start in 2020, picking up wins over Asbury and Good Hope to take two of its first three, but the Broncos dropped their next six games, including a pair of losses to Hanceville on the 16th, to fall to 2-7 on the year. Kyler Chaney, Logan Leach and Micah Faulkner are the only seniors on this year’s squad so there should be plenty of familiar faces on the diamond for Holly Pond next spring.

Meek (3-2)

Meek won its first three games of the season, defeating Good Hope, Winston County and Belgreen but then the Tigers dropped a pair of games to Marion County to bring their record to 3-2. Stuart Waldrep, Jagger Benson, Bryson Hudson, Jonah Johnson and Alden Archer will be gone next season but there are a lot of young names and faces returning to fill their shoes.

Vinemont (5-4)

Vinemont looked to make some more noise in 2020. The Eagles dropped their first two games of the season to Cold Springs and D.A.R. before righting the ship in their next seven games, going 5-2. Wins over Good Hope and Danville at home improved Vinemont’s record to 5-4. A big senior class consisting of Andrew Thomason, Teague Whatley, Clay Rogers, Jake Griggs, Lucas Miller, Travis Hopper and Zander Noblett have played their final games as Eagles and they all leave behind big shoes to fill for the players returning next year.

West Point (8-7)

Head coach Drew Bryson and the Warriors entered the season with a very experienced roster and were no doubt looking for a fast start in 2020. Unfortunately, after defeating Deshler to kick off the season, they dropped seven of their next eight games to fall to 2-7. However, West Point was able to bounce back and get things going in the right direction by sweeping a doubleheader with Priceville, a pair of area games against Hamilton and a doubleheader with Fairview to improve to 8-7. Brody Rusk, Will Brown, Levi Farley, Whitt Laney and Cooper Couch will graduate this summer, but the Warriors will have some experience and talent returning next spring.

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