• 36°
franklin county times

Russellville baseball ranks No. 35 in MaxPreps’ Top 50

Austin Bohannon, Austin Kitterman, Cody Greenhill, Landon Oliver
Austin Bohannon, Austin Kitterman, Cody Greenhill, Landon Oliver

After their second-straight state championship, it’s to be expected that the Golden Tigers would gain some attention. The Russellville team has been ranked No. 35 in MaxPrep’s Xcellent 50 National Baseball Rankings. For Coach Chris Heaps, the recognition is “quite an honor.”

“Just to be considered, I think, is quite an honor for our staff, our players and our community,” said Heaps.

Hillcrest, No. 30, out of Tuscaloosa, was the only other school in the state to be named on the list.

A team recognition isn’t the only recent honor from MaxPreps for the Golden Tigers. Austin Bohannon and Cody Greenhill were named in the top 10 on the National High School Baseball Stat Leaders list – No. 2 and No. 7, respectively. Austin Kitterman also ranked the list, coming in at No. 105.

“Most schools throughout the country use some type of digital stat keeping mechanism, and most of them report directly to MaxPreps,” Heaps said. “Any recognition that comes nationally to your program is quite an honor.”

Additionally, Golden Tiger Landon Oliver has landed on MaxPrep’s Medium School Baseball Player of the Year Watch, among ten superb high school athletes. MaxPreps recognized Oliver’s skill at the plate: “Oliver was one of several prolific hitters for the Golden Tigers, who won the Class 5A state championship. He batted .451 with 62 RBI, 19 doubles and six home runs.”

“He’s one of the best hitters I’ve ever coached,” Heaps said. “He probably is our most clutch hitter.”

Heaps is looking optimistically at next season as summer activities for the baseball team gear up. He has a good core of his team coming back, including seven players with experience and two Division 1 college signees in Greenhill and Judd Ward. He’ll have to battle through some youth before his team steps up to the plate next season, but he said he sees a lot of promise in his team that is sure to grow and mature through a challenging summer schedule and regular fall practices and workouts. The team will play 15 games throughout the month of June.

Heaps said having “a lot of guys buy in” clinched the winning season for the Golden Tigers, to whom he presented himself as “a teacher and salesman.” He told the team, “If you’ll buy in, we can make some great things happen.”

And they did.