By Matt Smith
The Chambers Academy Baseball program hasn’t seen much on-field success in the past decade, but the program has been building around a strong nucleus of young players over the past few seasons. As a result, anticipation is high surrounding this year’s JV and Varsity programs.
The Varsity program will be dressing 22 players ranging from 8th-12 grades. 3 seniors, 7 juniors and 5 sophomores will be counted on to help deliver the program from AISA obscurity. Amongst those 15 upper classmen expected to contribute are Dalton Thrower (Pitcher,Catcher), Auburn transfers Brock Ennis (2B,OF) and Hayden Thompson (3B), Opelika transfer Hunter Davis (Pitcher, SS), Gavin White (Pitcher, SS), Blake Sheppard (1B,OF), Reed Allen (OF) and Jordan Gillespie (OF).
The JV program will be expecting big things this season as well. Coach Dillon NesSmith will be heading up the JV squad. 6 freshmen, 3 8th graders and 3 7th graders round out the team. They will be led by 2 year varsity letterman Braxton Allen (Pitcher,Catcher) as well as Logan Broome (OF), Payton Allen (Pitcher, SS) and Jacob Oliver (1B).
I am really excited about this group of young men. We have put a big focus this season on the culture of our program and I really feel the kids are buying in. We have made it a priority to bring a positive attitude to everything that we do. Our piece of scripture comes from Proverbs 16:32 which states “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”
The Varsity program will get the season under way this Saturday as they travel to Columbiana for a double-header with Restoration Academy and host Cornerstone Christian beginning at 1:00 pm. The first home game will be February 27th at 3:30 vs Springwood.
By Ashley Oliver
The 2017 year may be a year of rebuilding for the Varsity Lady Rebels. Coach Brandi Fuller will be forced to fill key infield positions left empty from four players who graduated last year. Along with the help of Brittney Williams and Gene Williams as assistant coaches, this year’s team will see several position changes. Starting pitchers for this year’s Rebel team will be Junior, McKensie Barnes and Freshman, Olivia Williams. Juniors, Kelsey Oliver and Tori Harmon, both 4th year varsity starters, will be taking on the 3rd base and catcher positions.
Although there are many changes this year; Coach Fuller is excited about the coming season saying, “You really don’t know what you have till the season starts. I know I can depend on Kelsey Oliver to do a good job at 3rd base, McKensie Barnes can play anywhere and is doing a good job pitching. Of course, Olivia Williams, who pitched some for us last year, is going to be pitching for JV and Varsity. She is accurate, throws strikes right down the middle. I may even bring Chloe Mitcham up for some Varsity games. She throws hard. Only a 7th grader but definitely an asset to our pitching staff. Tori Harmon is going to be the starting catcher and I feel confident in her at that position. We lost several players but I think we are going to be okay overall”.
The JV Ladies will dress out 11 players this year. Olivia Williams and Chloe Mitcham are set to pitch for the JV. Several returners are Bailey Allen, Britten Stephens, Natalie Lovelace, Mattie Reese and Lindsey Fuller. Coach Fuller stated “They are a good group of girls. I’m still trying to decide what position suits a couple of them best but overall they are looking good at practice:.
The Varsity Ladies will start their season against Cornerstone Christian in Columbiana on February 24th. The JV ladies will get their start hosting Springwood on February 27th.