All Area baseball team

By Staff
Danville coach, Priceville and Hartselle players share year's top honors
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
It was a solid season for all area high schools on the baseball diamond in 2007, but three schools led the way. Both Hartselle and Danville made the postseason, with the Tigers advancing to the second round and the Hawks making it to the third round. And although Priceville did not make the postseason, the Bulldogs did win 31 games in their first year of Class 4A competition.
It should come as no surprise that these three schools dominate the list on the 2007 Hartselle Enquirer All-Area Team.
Coach of the Year – Jay Stanley, Danville
Runner-up: Shane Hopkins, Priceville
At the start of the 2007 season, Stanley said that his goal for the year was for the Hawks to not only make the playoffs, but to host the first round and win a playoff game. For the previous three seasons, Danville made the playoffs but qualified as an area runner-up and had to travel in the first round, losing that playoff game each time.
Not only did Danville make both of its goals, it even surpassed them, as the Hawks advanced all the way to the state quarterfinals before falling to powerhouse and eventual champion Hokes Bluff. And here is the scary thought – there were no seniors on this year's Hawks team.
Hopkins at Priceville is a worthy choice as runner-up. Although the Bulldogs did not qualify for the playoffs in Class 4A, Area 15, his Priceville team did finish with a record of 31-9.
Player of the Year – Dustin Chambers, Priceville
Runner-up: Quinn Dunlap, Hartselle
You name it, and Chambers did it for the Bulldogs this season.
Ace pitcher? Check – he finished with a record of 8-1 in 52 innings pitched, striking out 31. Hitting for average? Check – Chambers hit .403 for the Bulldogs, collecting 50 hits and 49 RBIs. Hitting for power? Check – he hit 15 home runs and 11 doubles, scoring 51 runs during his senior season.
Although the Bulldogs failed to miss the playoffs by not winning enough area games, Priceville still had an outstanding season for its first year in Class 4A. A five-member senior class, led by Chambers, played a big part in that success.
With normal Hartselle offensive leader Justin Hargett injured for most of the season, the Tigers needed a senior to step up and help pace the team offensively and Dunlap answered the call.
Dunlap was a sparkplug as Hartselle's leadoff batter all season. He hit a team-high .315, led the Tigers with 45 hits and featured a solid .479 on-base percentage. Once he got on base, Dunlap continued to do damage, stealing a team-high 19 bases while only being caught twice.
Pitcher of the Year – J.C. Bates, Hartselle
Runner-up: Will Rankin, Hartselle
The strength of Hartselle's team this season, as it seems to be every year, could be found in the Tigers' pitching staff. The junior Bates, who also won this award on the 2006 team, finished the year with a record of 11-4 and an ERA of 1.61, with opponents hitting just .198 off him.
Bates also led Hartselle with 82 strikeouts, while allowing just 29 walks in 83.2 innings pitched.
Senior Will Rankin was a solid No. 2 pitcher for Hartselle, with a 2.63 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 78.2 innings pitched.
First team
Filling out the rotation with Bates and Rankin is Chambers, who made the first team as a pitcher rather than his other position of infielder. Completing the quartet is Danville junior Roger Smith, who anchored the Hawks' staff all season long.
Smith finished the year with a record of 8-3 and a 3.20 ERA. Opponents hit .266 against him and he struck out 87 batters in 78.2 innings pitched. Perhaps even more impressive than his strikeout totals was Smith's control, as he walked just 19 batters all season, for a strong 4.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
This year's utility player is Brewer's Eric Parker, who had a solid senior season for the Patriots and also did some pitching for Brewer's team. Parker recently signed a scholarship with Lawson State Community College.
The designated hitter is Hartselle junior Ethan Widener, who hit .281 for the year with a slugging percentage of .402, third best on the Tigers. His season was highlighted by a performance in the Tigers' first-round playoff win over Moody, where Widener collected seven RBIs and a grand slam.
This year's catcher is Danville sophomore Parker Hogan, who had a .391 batting average and collected 45 hits. He hit eight triples, two home runs and stole 18 bases while collecting a .510 on-base percentage.
The infield of this year's All-Area team features one starter from each of four different schools. Hartselle's Tony Weaver joined Dunlap at the top of the line-up to give the Tigers a solid 1-2 punch during the season. Weaver amassed a .280 batting average and had 35 hits, second on the team to Dunlap.
Priceville senior Rand Hutchison had a solid season for Priceville as the Bulldogs' third baseman, hitting .390 on the year with 41 hits, 35 RBIs and five home runs. He recently signed a scholarship with Birmingham-Southern.
Danville's Jake Mahathy led the Hawks with 20 stolen bases, while also hitting for a solid .359 batting average. He scored 38 runs, collected 22 RBIs and had 47 hits.
Filling out the infield is Falkville's Kevin Boroughs, who was recently named to the Morgan/Limestone County Lions' All-Star team.
Joining Dunlap in the outfield of the All-Area team is Hartselle teammate Luke Bole. Bole finished the season as the Tigers' biggest power bat, leading the team with 29 RBIs and tying for the team lead with four home runs.
Priceville senior Matt Croft led the Bulldogs in several offensive categories, most notably a team-high .465 batting average. He hit 20 doubles and five home runs, scoring a team-high 68 runs and collecting 25 stolen bases, also a team high.
Closing out this year's All-Area team is Danville junior Dakota Wilson. Wilson led the Hawks with a .425 batting average and scored 41 runs this season. He picked up 31 RBIs, stole 19 bases and had a .521 on-base percentage.

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