CULLMAN, Ala. – Another year of high school baseball is in the books and the Alabama Sports Writers Association has made its all-state selections for the year. Cullman ace Jeb Bartle and Hanceville shortstop Zach Campbell received 6A second team and 4A second team honors respectively but in Class 6A, one name stood out among the rest. Senior Bearcat shortstop and Jacksonville State signee Brennen Norton was named 6A Player of the Year after a phenomenal season at the plate and in the field.
Norton was a nightmare for opposing pitchers this season, finishing with a .496 batting average, .554 on-base percentage, .970 slugging percentage, 1.525 OPS, 12 home runs, 22 doubles, 48 RBIs, 67 total hits and just 10 strikeouts. Brennen has been an impact player at Cullman for years, earning a 6A honorable mention after winning a state championship in 2019. He was well on his way to another stellar season in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic shut things down early.
Over the last five years, Cullman Head Coach Brent Patterson has seen Brennen develop from an eighth grader with potential into what he believes is one of the best hitters to come through the Bearcats program.
“Brennen’s been such a steady presence in our lineup for the last four years. We feel like we’ve always known he’s a very special talent and really expected him to take off and make a name for himself last year. Obviously, last season got cut short, but all the signs were there,” Patterson said. “He turned out to be one of the best hitters we’ve had. He hit for a high average and for power. His ability to go the other way with power was something you just don’t see a lot of at the high school level.”
Norton is leaving behind some phenomenal numbers and was part of some huge Cullman wins over the past four seasons, but Patterson says his most lasting impact on the program was made as a worker and a teammate.
“More than anything, he was an extremely hard worker and a great teammate. He worked to make himself as good as he could be, but the success of his team was just as important to him,” Patterson said. “He’s a high energy, very competitive kid who leaves a lasting impression on the program. We will hate to see him go but we’ll be his biggest fans as he moves on. It’s been such a pleasure to coach a kid like him for the last five years.”
Norton will begin his collegiate career with the Jacksonville State Gamecocks next spring.
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