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Fuhrman earns Player of Year honor


Andrew Fuhrman was named The Gadsden Times' 2012 All-Etowah County Baseball Player of the Year. (Photo by Marc Golden | Gadsden Times | File)


An improbable run to the state championship series was the collective highlight for the 2012 Southside Panthers baseball team, but the emergence of several promising young players lends credence to the thought that it was just a sign of things to come.

One of those elevating his game in a big way for the Panthers was junior Andrew Fuhrman, who batted leadoff for Southside while playing shortstop and pitching.

Fuhrman’s all-around play earned him a first-team Class 5A All-State nod by the Alabama Sports Writers Association, and it made him the choice for The Gadsden Times’ 2012 All-Etowah County Baseball Player of the Year.

While serving as a table-setter for the Panthers’ offense, Furhman posted a team-best .415 average with nine doubles and 21 RBI. He scored 35 runs and sported a .493 on-base percentage. He also settled into the role of Southside’s ace of staff, going 7-3 with one save and a 2.18 ERA.

Fuhrman led a contingent of four Panthers named to the Times’ first team. Pitcher Alex Pondick, first baseman Caleb Butler and outfielder Braxton Light also were named to the squad, while Blake Bone was chosen as the team’s Coach of the Year after guiding Southside to the Class 5A state championship series in Montgomery.

Pondick, who teamed with Fuhrman to give the Panthers an outstanding 1-2 punch on the mound, went 8-3 with a 2.18 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 781⁄3 innings. Butler was the top run-producer for Southside, driving in 37 runs on the season to go with a .358 average, two homers, 11 doubles and 29 runs scored. Light batted .386 with 21 RBI and 28 runs scored.

The rest of the first-team pitching staff included Westbrook’s Mikhail Cazenave and Glencoe’s Harrison Bright. Cazenave posted an ERA of just over 2.00 for the Warriors, who reached the Class 2A state quarterfinals for the fourth straight season, while Bright once again served as the ace of staff for a Glencoe squad that reached the Class 3A state playoffs.

The Times’ first-team catcher was Gaston junior Jordan McCartney, who batted .494 with two homers, 13 doubles, 32 RBI and 22 runs scored in helping the Bulldogs to the 1A state quarterfinals.

Hokes Bluff’s Tanner Shields was the team’s second baseman after batting .329 with 11 doubles and 19 RBI, while the Westbrook Christian duo of John Mayfield and Matthew Reaves were first team at shortstop and third base, respectively. Mayfield batted .463 with four homers, 17 RBI and 45 runs scored while hitting out of the leadoff spot and was 5-1 with a 1.12 ERA on the mound. Reaves batted .431 with 39 RBI and 34 runs scored out of the three spot in the Warriors’ lineup.

The outfield featured another Westbrook standout in Jake Kilgo, who also saw extensive time on the mound for the Warriors. At the plate, Kilgo batted .470 with 34 runs and 17 RBI. He also swiped 26 bases. Joining Kilgo and Light in the outfield was West End’s Ryan Mashburn, who batted .429 with eight doubles, 24 RBI and 30 runs scored.

The team’s utility position was filled by Caleb Mayo, who batted .421 with nine doubles, three triples, 16 RBI, 38 runs and 19 stolen bases as the Patriots’ shortstop. He also earned a 5-1 record on the mound.

Those earning honorable mentions included a trio of Hokes Bluff players — pitcher Clay Gidley, catcher Colton Shaw and first baseman Chase Jakiel. Southside second baseman Taylor Snow, Etowah shortstop Josh Bobo, Gadsden City shorstop Zack Burns, Gaston shortstop Jesse Brittain, Etowah outfielder Colby Dunn and Southside outfielder Blake Devine also got honorable mentions at their respective positions. Honorable mention desginated hitters were Coosa Christian’s Noah Williamson and Glencoe’s Daniel Otwell, while Gadsden City’s John Hill and Tyler Roberson each received that honor as utility men.