By Lee Davis
By any measure, 2017 was a golden season for Over the Mountain baseball.
Briarwood, Homewood and Oak Mountain produced outstanding seasons. Vestavia Hills had a strong April-May push that nearly put it in the Class 7A championship finals, and Hoover brought home the big blue trophy, emblematic of the 2017 state title.
As a result, the 2017 All-Over the Mountain baseball team is one of the most talented and deepest in history. The Buccaneers and the Rebels each placed six players on the team, which is chosen by an exclusive poll of the eight coaches of Over the Mountain baseball teams in Class 6A and Class 7A. Additionally, Hoover pitcher Brock Guffey and Vestavia hurler Caden Lemons shared 2017 Over the Mountain Player of the Year honors. Also, the Rebels’ Jamie Harris was named Coach of the Year.
Guffey was the hero of the Class 7A championship series against Auburn. With Hoover’s back against the wall after an opening loss, Guffey pitched a two-hitter against the Tigers to even the series. He also earned a save in relief as the Bucs claimed the third and deciding game. Guffey finished with a perfect 11-0 record.
“Brock probably had one of the best years that any Hoover pitcher has ever had,” Hoover coach Adam Moseley said. “He always came up with the great effort when we needed it the most.”
Lemons was an outstanding pitcher throughout his career at Vestavia, and was particular effective in the Rebels late season sprint to the Class 7A semi-finals. He posted a 6-1 record with 69 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.35. Lemons will be pitching at the University of Mississippi next season.
Harris led a largely unproven Vestavia team to within one series of the Class 7A finals.
“It’s an honor to be named Coach of the Year, but really everything is about our players,” Harris said. “They deserve all the credit. I’m the guy that got to coach them.”
Hoover players joining Guffey on the All-Over the Mountain team included Brandon Agsalud, Sonny DiChiara, Garrett Farquhar, Mike Hammonds and Peyton Wilson. Vestavia players joining Lemons on the squad were Christian Cusomano, Colton Lewis, D.J. Steele, Josh Stevens and Drew Stockton.
Other players earning positions on the team included Will Baumbach, Carson Eddy, Cole Steadman and Sam Strickland, Briarwood; Michael McClung, John Marc Mullins, Austin Spiers, Homewood; Jeb Brown, Sam Jeffcoat and Clay Stearns, Mountain Brook; Joseph Hartsfield, Ethan Holsumbeck, Gene Hurst, John McDonald and Mason Williamson, Oak Mountain; Will Battersby and Jacob Rich, Spain Park.