May 11, 2010 10:26:00 AM
Four local high school baseball players were recently recognized for their accomplishments and earned spots on their state''s All-State teams.
Heritage Academy junior Austin Braddock was named first-team All-State on the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools'' AAA North squad, while Pickens Academy''s Kirk Lewis and Bryant Fikes were named to the Alabama Independent Schools Association All-State Senior team and Chase Davidson was named to the AISA''s All-State Junior team.
The AISA teams will play June 7 at Troy University. They are made up of players in all classifications. Pickens Academy plays in Class AA.
Heritage Academy freshmen Parker Dunaway and James Clark also were named honorable mention All-State in AAA North.
Braddock was limited to designated hitting duties this season after he returned to action following Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Heritage Academy baseball coach Steve Hancock said Braddock''s honor was impressive considering he missed the first quarter of the season and couldn''t pitch or play the field.
"He swung the bat really well and he has grown up a lot as a hitter," Hancock said. "People really pitched around him as a hitter, and he did a nice job of not getting frustrated."
Hancock said Braddock hit right at .400 for the season. He said the Patriots didn''t have a lot of experienced hitting protection in front of or behind Braddock, so opponents typically tried to pitch around him or to get him to chase bad pitches. He said Braddock did a good job of staying patient at the plate and making teams pay for their mistakes.
"He has a nice future ahead of him," Hancock said. "He ought to be 100 percent with his arm by the middle of the summer."
Hancock also praised Dunaway and Clark, who both hit better than .300. He said Dunaway isn''t a true leadoff hitter but filled that role well this season. He added that Clark, who hit in the .380 range, has a lot of potential.
"Both of them did a really good job," Hancock said. "Parker was a spark plug for us offensively for a good part of the season. Both of them have areas they need to get better in, but as far as being freshmen, I thought they did a nice job."
In other MAIS news, Oak Hill Academy''s Cameron Ellis, Maverick Smith, and Kody Riley earned first-team All-Conference honors, while Davis Clayton and Cole Fowler earned second-team All-Conference honors.
For Pickens Academy, Lewis, a second baseman, hit leadoff and had a .442 average with one triple, one home run, and 17 RBIs.
"Kirk has excellent speed and is a threat to score when he gets on," Pickens Academy coach Brach White said.
Fikes went 4-1 with a 3.90 ERA. He struck out 39 in 37 innings, and hit .313 with 20 RBIs.
"He is a right-handed pitcher who has lots of movement on the ball and throws from many different angles," White said. "He will help lead the Pirates on the mound next year."
Davidson has a 17-1 record with 111 strikeouts in 64 innings the past two seasons.
"Chase is a competitor on the mound and will help lead the way for us again next year," said White, who will coach the Junior All-State team. "He is a hard thrower who has great control."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.