By Blake Ells
Outfielder Will Yarbro represented Mountain Brook High School at the AHSAA’s North-South Baseball All-Star Game at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery on July 16. His North squad lost two, seven-inning games by scores of 16-7 and 18-16.
“It was definitely an honor to be selected,” Yarbro said. “It was cool to be able to play with a bunch of really good players there.”
In five plate appearances over the course of two games, Yarbro was 1-3 with a walk and he was hit by a pitch. His line drive in the 6th inning of the first game broke up a no-hitter by the South. The North team was heavily junior-laden; just seven seniors competed for the team. Yarbro was the lone Spartan on the team, and he couldn’t shake the feeling that some familiar faces were missing.
“I definitely think that I have some teammates that could have been on the team,” he said. “They were definitely deserving.”
The experience was a valuable one for Yarbro, who’ll return to the Spartans next season as a senior.
“I saw some really good arms there,” he said. “It was good to play against some great competition. I hope that can help make me a better player.”
Yarbro has spent most of his summer with his XL Baseball team, a travel team mostly composed of Birmingham-area players. He continues offseason work with high hopes for next season.
“We definitely underachieved last year,” he said. “I feel like we were good enough to make a run at the state championship last year. We didn’t play our best in our area. We need to be hitting on all cylinders going into area play next year. That’s really the part of our season that matters. I think we beat three teams that (eventually) played in a state championship game before we started area play. We just couldn’t put it all together for area.”
That’s an area that includes Hewitt-Trussville, Spain Park and Vestavia Hills. Hewitt-Trussville made it to the state semifinals; while the Rebels concluded their season in the second round of the state playoffs.
Moving Into Senior Shoes
As the Spartans look ahead to the 2020 season, Yarbro feels confident about the ability of his class to lead the underclassmen.
“We’ll miss some key contributors from last season,” he said. “I’m confident that we can fill their shoes. I already had a similar role last season because we had a small senior class. But I feel like I have more of a leadership role this year as a senior and returning starter.”
He’ll count on guys like Harrison Ware, the senior catcher currently committed to the University of Alabama. Will Baynes will return as an outfield starter alongside Yarbro. First baseman Ford Kelly is also a returning starter. He expects big contributions from a few new faces, too. Davis White will join Yarbro and Baynes in the outfield. He concedes that the Spartans lost a lot of good arms, but he expects Edward Berry, Porter Phelan and Baynes to step up to the challenge of filling those roles.