BOAZ – The Snead State baseball team will open its 2016 season on Feb. 14 at home against Martin Methodist College.
The 41-man roster welcomes 28 freshmen. Only 13 sophomores are returning to the team.
"We have a very young team," said Snead State Head Coach Gerry Ledbetter. "I'm excited to see how our sophomores have improved and how our new freshmen class performs."
Coach Gerry Ledbetter is entering his 24th season as the Parsons' leader.
Ledbetter was recently inducted into the Alabama Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame. During his years at Snead State, he has seen 11 of his players play professional baseball and more than 175 of them have signed with four-year colleges or universities.
"We want to develop winners in the classroom and on the field," said Coach Ledbetter. "We want to see all of our sophomores graduate, go back to the state tournament and finish in the top five in the ACCC."
Several members of the team are graduates from local high schools including Boaz, Albertville, Arab, Gadsden, Cullman, Crossville and Geraldine.
The team finished the fall semester with a 3.0 grade point average. Five players finished the fall semester with a 4.0 grade point average – Christian Leonard from Boaz, Wesley Burns from Boaz, Josiah Buell from Greensburg, Ind., Brady Williams of Crossville and Brandon Matthews from Gadsden.
Last year, the team had three Academic All-Americans. The team was also named an Academic All-American team for 2014-2015.
"If you work hard in the classroom, baseball will take care of itself," said Coach Ledbetter. "We want to be named an Academic All-American team for the second year in a row."
"I expect our players to be model citizens. They are not only representing themselves but our College and our program as well."
Returning to the team this year are assistant coaches Casey Underwood and Jerry Wayne Hallmark.
Coach Ledbetter's Key Players
Team captains this season are sophomores Hunter Gilmore from Cordova and Brian Dansereau from Douglasville, Ga.
"We have Josh Letson, Jeremy Peterson, Brock Colvin and Hunter Gilmore coming back for us on the mound. Letson (0-1 with one save in 10.2 innings pitched) is from Alabaster. Jeremy Peterson (0-2 and 8.1 innings pitched) is from Birmingham. Colvin pitched 21.2 innings in 2015 and is from Albertville. He gave up 21 hits in 12 appearances with a 1.6 ERA). Gilmore was a redshirt freshman last season. He graduated from Cordova High School.
"Matt Washington is a first-baseman for us and is also a relief pitcher." He is from Douglasville, Ga., and batted .253 with 11 RBIs last season for Snead State. "Ethan Broome of Warner Robins, Ga., transferred in as a first-baseman as well."
"Brian Dansereau is moving from right-field to second base for us." Brian is also from Douglasville, Ga. In 2015, he batted .278 and had 14 RBIs.
"Cristian Martinez will be returning at catcher. Evan Finke is our freshman catcher." The Cullman native had six RBIs and batted .265 last season. Finke is from Columbus, Ind.
"We also have freshmen pitchers Taylor Borst (Madison), Christian Leonard (Boaz), Dakota Jackman (Clewiston, Fla.), Josh Perkins (Rome, Ga.), William Guay (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and Brady Padgett (Heflin). They're expected to contribute a great deal of talent this season."
"Transfer pitchers Brantley Flanagan and Nick Williams are coming from division II schools and are both expected to help mentor our young freshmen pitchers." Flanagan is from Woodstock, Ga. Williams is a native of Rome, Ga.
"Our outfield is all freshmen – Jason Aponte from West Palm Beach, Fla, Josiah Buell from Greensburg, Ind., Larry Crisler from Columbus, Ind., and Orvis Cuello from Cullman."
"We have two local guys in a good battle at third base – freshmen Wesley Burns from Boaz and Dustin Robinson from Etowah." Both are freshmen.
"Transfer sophomore Carmine Cioffoletti from Florida and freshman Ridge Watson from Arab are valuable first-basemen for us."
Also joining the Parsons this year are freshmen Michael Battle II of Hueytown, Brandon Matthews of Gadsden, Caleb Harper of Albertville, Ethan Abston of Huntsville, Tyler Ray of Odenville, James Phatsadavong of Muscle Shoals, Courtney King of Loxahatchee, Fla., Nathan Doss of Cullman, Brady Williams of Crossville, Jackson Kiser of Cordova, Keylon Harris of Geraldine, Tanner Kennedy of Gadsden and Garrett Woods of Cordova.
Sophomore team members also include Grayson Bowman of Murfreesboro, Tenn., Chris Tidwell of Killen and Andrew Goolsby of Springville.
The team faces a tough schedule this season that includes a series on the road in New Orleans, La., to take on nationally-ranked Delgado College in April and a tournament at Pensacola State in March.
The team will also face ACCC conference rivals Lawson State, Shelton State, Wallace State, Central Alabama, Calhoun, Marion Military and Southern Union.
They will also be playing at home Feb. 20 and 21 against Wabash College. The double headers each day start at noon.
A complete schedule can be found online by visiting snead.edu/baseball.