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Four locals receive Honorable Mentions to 2013 All-State team

Published 3:20pm Friday, June 14, 2013

The 2013 Alabama Sports Writers Association All-State baseball teams have been released, and there is a local presence amongst the season’s best on the diamond.
Four players from the area were chosen as Honorable Mention selections to the All-State teams.
For Benjamin Russell, second baseman Blake McClellan earned one of those selections in Class 5A.
The senior hit .319 at the plate, collecting 36 hits and scoring 22 runs for the Wildcats.
Additionally, he provided sound defensive play, as he had a .923 fielding percentage during the season.
“I can’t say enough good things about Blake McClellan,” said BRHS head baseball coach Richy Brooks. “He’s as hard-working of a kid that we’ve had on the team, and he’s the most respected member on the team.”
Brooks credited McClellan for being a source of motivation for the Wildcats.
“He was the leader of our team, and he is deserving of every bit of this honor,” Brooks said. “I have no doubt of that.”
The Dadeville Tigers received significant contributions from a mostly youthful squad on their way to a 20-win season. They landed three players on the Class 4A All-State team as Honorable Mention selections.
Senior Caleb Nolen was an Honorable Mention selection at first base. The slugger batted at a .449 average during the season. He also drove in 36 runs, hit nine doubles, had an on-base percentage of .601 and a slugging percentage of .635.
Tigers second baseman C.J. Tolbert’s Honorable Mention selection came off the heels of a junior season where the infielder hit .341 on the year.
He also had three homers, 11 doubles, three triples and 22 RBIs.
Joining Nolen and Tolbert is freshman Cal Jones.
The shortstop landed on the team as an Honorable Mention selection at the designated hitter position.
Jones hit .400 this past season. In addition to two homeruns, he hit ten doubles, seven triples and drove in 38 runs.
“(Judging by their selections to the All-State team) It’s pretty self-explanatory what they meant to our team,” said DHS head baseball coach Randy Nolen. “They were really important. Each one of them had a really good year.”
Randy said while the players’ offensive numbers stick out, Caleb, Jones and Tolbert helped the team in more ways than just putting runs on the board.
“We had C.J. at our leadoff spot, Cal at the three-spot and Caleb hitting fourth, and that’s usually where you put your best hitters,” Randy said. “All three contributed on the mound as well. I’m excited to know that they were recognized in this manner.”
With the graduation of Caleb, and Tolbert no longer suiting up on the diamond for the Tigers, Jones is the lone returnee of this bunch for Dadeville next season.
Randy said he expects Jones to continue to improve.
“I’m sure he’ll take the next step, no doubt,” he said. “He’ll only be a sophomore next season, so he’s got three years to get better. It wouldn’t surprise me if he went from Honorable Mention to first-team All State.”

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