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Abernathy highlights All-Area baseball squad


Cedar Bluff's Curtis Abernathy was named The Gadsden Times' 2012 All-Area Baseball Player of the Year. (Photo by Jim Hannon | Special to The Times | File)


It was hard to imagine a scenario where Curtis Abernathy’s 2012 season could top his 2011 campaign, but that’s exactly what happened for the Cedar Bluff junior this year.

After posting an 8-2 record with a 1.16 ERA as a sophomore, Abernathy bested that output by going 10-2 with a 0.99 ERA in 622⁄3 innings of work. He also recorded two saves and struck out 78 while walking just 14.

That production earned Abernathy the distinction of being named The Gadsden Times’ 2012 All-Area Baseball Player of the Year.

Abernathy, who helped lead the Tigers to the Class 1A state quarterfinals, was named one of the Times’ All-Area first-team pitchers for the second year in a row.

Abernathy’s impact on the game was never more felt than in the quarterfinals against eventual state champion Shoals Christian. Abernathy was mowing down the Flames early on, striking out four batters over two perfect innings before a shoulder injury, which later would require surgery, forced him to leave the game. From there, Shoals Christian managed 11 runs over the final five innings on its way to a series sweep.

A pair of Abernathy’s Cedar Bluff teammates — second baseman Rihied Harris and outfielder Lance Estes — also were recognized as first-teamers. Harris batted .423 with 15 doubles, 42 runs, 28 RBI and 32 stolen bases, while Estes hit .356 with 14 doubles, 43 runs, 26 RBI and 36 stolen bases.

Joining Abernathy on the first-team pitching staff were Piedmont’s Joel Ray and

Plainview’s Colton Campbell. Ray, who helped the Bulldogs to the Class 3A state finals, went 13-3 during his senior season with a 1.87 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 97 innings. He also tossed four shutouts. Campbell went 9-4 with a 1.98 ERA for the Bears, who reached the state semifinals before falling to Ray and the Bulldogs. Campbell also had four shutouts during the year and threw a pair of no-hitters.

The first-team catcher was Albertville’s A.J. Walden, who hit .440 with five homers, 22 doubles and 40 RBI for the Aggies. Gaylesville’s Brian Sanford was the first baseman after posting a .430 average with three homers and 36 RBI.

Piedmont’s Cade Bradley was the first-team shortstop after batting .415 with six homers, 13 doubles, 41 runs and 27 RBI. He also stole 16 bases. Joining Bradley on the left side of the infield was Spring Garden third baseman Will Penton, who hit .327 with two homers, 10 doubles, 28 RBI and 30 runs scored.

The squad’s outfield consisted of Plainview’s Cole Porter and Fyffe’s Kanaan Coppock, along with Estes. Porter hit .406 with two homers, 23 RBI and 60 runs scored. He also was a valuable pitcher, posting a 9-2 record with a 2.81 ERA. Coppock had one of the highest batting averages in the area with a .476 clip.

Boaz senior Kyle Overstreet, a University of Alabama signee, was a standout shortstop and pitcher for the Pirates, but made the Times’ first-team at designated hitter. Overstreet batted .500  with three homers and 18 RBI while going 5-1 with a 0.54 ERA.

The first-team utility position was filled by Fort Payne’s Blake Smith, who batted .418 with four homers, 35 runs scored and 40 RBI for the Wildcats. He also went 7-3 with a 1.38 ERA on the mound, and struck out 82 batters in 552⁄3 innings.

The All-Area Coach of the Year went to Piedmont’s James Blanchard, who guided the Bulldogs to the 3A state final series and a 29-11-1 final record.

Earning honorable mentions were Fort Payne pitcher Trey O’Daniel, Cedar Bluff pitcher Levi Mintz, Piedmont catcher Landon Pruitt, Gaylesville second baseman Zack Cavin, Spring Garden second baseman Ryan Messer, Cherokee County third baseman Logan Pierce, Piedmont outfielder Trevor Ford, Fyffe outfielder Trent Thrash and Gaylesville utility man Levi Morgan.