PREP BASEBALL: Cullman’s Norton signs with Jacksonville State

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Cullman’s Brennen Norton signs his scholarship to play at Jacksonville State with his parents, David and Shannon Norton, his brother Weston Norton and his coaches Shannon Fondren and Brent Patterson. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Monday night was a special one for a particular Cullman baseball standout. Bearcats third baseman Brennen Norton celebrated his signing with Jacksonville State University alongside his family and coaches at Cullman High School. Norton has been an impact player in the field, at the plate and on the mound for Cullman since his freshman season and he earned a 6A All-State honorable mention after his sophomore campaign. Norton was well on his way to a stellar junior season before the COVID-19 pandemic cut it short in March, but he’ll be ready to pick up where he left off this spring.

Norton helped lead Cullman to a 6A state title in 2019 and ‘Cats Head Coach Brent Patterson saw him step up in big moments throughout that playoff run.

“He’s got an uncanny ability to really hit. He can really hit, and he can hit good pitching. Even as a freshman he was always one of our better at-bats,” Patterson said. “You hear about guys that are gamers and that are good in the clutch and all that but for him even as a freshman it seemed like the bigger the moment, the better he was. I think that really stood out his sophomore year on the mound. When everything was on the line, he’s a competitor and he just finds ways to come through.”

Brennen’s production on the field is easy for all Bearcat fans to see but one of his biggest contributions to the ‘Cats success has been his leadership and energy. Patterson says it’s hard for everyone not to have fun when Norton is at practice and he can see the rest of his team feeding off that energy.

“He’s an extremely hard worker, very unselfish, good teammate, high energy and not afraid to be himself. He doesn’t really try to blend in he’s just him and I think his teammates love that and they feed off of it,” Patterson said. “He’s always smiling and having fun, but it means the world to him too and he knows when to get serious. He’s just a very driven, determined, focused young man.”

During his recruitment, Norton got the opportunity to visit campus and see the athletic facilities at Jacksonville State but even away from campus since then, he’s gotten to know the coaches even better and is looking forward to working with them after he graduates in May.

“One big thing was the facilities; I really like the facilities around there are just as good as we have here and one of the other things was definitely the coaches,” Norton said. “I really like Jim Case and Evan Bush and all of them and they would talk to me almost every day and it wasn’t just about baseball. They’d talk to me about everything and just ask how my day was going and stuff. It isn’t too far away either but it’s still away from home and I loved that about it.”

Brennen is excited for the opportunity to play for the Gamecocks and to see what he can do at the next level but before he gets started on his collegiate career, he still has plans for his senior season with the Bearcats.

“I really just want to win,” Norton said. “It’s not about me or anything I just want to win another state championship and help get everyone on the same page and just keep that same culture we’ve always had of winning.”

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