A lot of good baseball players have come out of West Morgan over the years.
Two among the best are Trey Mathis and Parker Henson. They are in the final three of The Daily’s contest for the Favorite Player of the Year in the 2000s for Class 1A-4A.
Joining the two former Rebels in the finals is Elkmont’s Brandon Turner.
Voting in the finals begins today and last three days. First round and semifinal round votes to not carry over to the finals.
Mathis was a power hitting catcher for West Morgan. He was honored in his junior season in 2012 after hitting 14 home runs, which was tied for the most in the state that season. The number was amazing considering it was the first year of the rule change that restricted the trampoline effect on aluminum composite bats.
The rule change was for safety reasons. Many thought home run numbers would dwindle. That’s what happened in college baseball when the NCAA enacted a similar rule before the 2011 season.
Mathis defied the rule.
“Trey averaged a home run about every five games,” said then West Morgan coach Todd Stephens. “That’s really impressive, considering the new bats. He put together a great season, and having him in the middle of our lineup was a huge plus.”
Mathis hit .506 that season with a slugging percentage of 1.174. He had 11 doubles, 42 RBIs, 25 walks and struck out just 10 times. He was named the Class 3A Hitter of the Year. Mathis went on to play at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Henson was a bulldog on the mound for West Morgan in 2017. The first-team All-State selection led the Rebels with a 9-3 record. He struck out 134 in 80 innings while walking 17. When he was not pitching, Henson started at shortstop. He hit .411 with 32 RBIs.
One of the highlights of Henson’s senior season was a showdown vs. Brewer star pitcher Dakota Bennett, who was an 11th round pick by the Miami Marlins in that summer’s Major League draft. West Morgan won 2-1 with the two pitching aces combining for 32 strikeouts.
Turner was a ball-hawking centerfielder for the Elkmont Red Devils in 2001. He had 59 hits in 100 at bats his senior season for a cool .590 average. Today that ranks third in the state record book with a minimum of 100 at bats. Nine of his hits were home runs. He drove in 35 runs and stole 23 bases.
When he was not busy chasing fly balls, Turner could deliver on the pitching mound. In 2012, he went 11-4 with a 2.67 ERA. He signed with Snead State Community College.
The voting for Class 5A-7A baseball started Wednesday and ends today. The contest for Class 5A-7A softball ends Saturday. The finals for Class 1A-4A softball begins Sunday.
Go to decaturdaily.com to vote. You do not need an online subscription to be able to vote, but a first-time online subscription is just $6 for six months.