By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
Though both recently graduated and have signed with different colleges, Cullman High’s 1-2 pitching punch of Keegan Thompson and Jordan Guthrie are teammates once again — and the squad they’re representing is pretty exclusive.
Thompson was named to the Louisville Slugger High School All-American first team as a pitcher for the third year in a row, while Guthrie earned a spot on the second team at the same position. The honorary squads are selected by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
The pair of fireballers were electric for the Bearcats throughout their entire prep careers, but especially during the 2013 campaign.
Thompson reeled off a 9-2 record with two saves, a 1.25 earned run average, 124 strikeouts and one shutout in 72-2/3 innings. The Auburn signee also had his way at the plate, batting .420 and cranking out nine home runs, 63 hits, 45 RBIs, 35 runs, 19 doubles, four stolen bases and a triple.
The accolade is just the latest Thompson’s raked in since the end of the season. It started with his second Gatorade Alabama Baseball Player of the Year award and continued with the Alabama Sports Writers Association handing him Class 5A Player and Pitcher of the Year, Super All-State, first-team pitcher and Mr. Baseball honors.
Brent Patterson, who nominated both departing pitchers for All-American honors, said Thompson has been a coach’s dream.
“He’s the model of consistency. You know what you’re going to get every time you put him on the mound,” the Cullman coach said. “He really started out as a freshman, but then he was our No. 1 as a sophomore. He’s pretty special to be able to sustain that for three straight years. It’s incredible.”
On most any other club, Guthrie had the goods to be a sure-fire ace. The lefty wrapped up his senior season with a 9-4 record, a 1.37 ERA, 99 strikeouts and three shutouts in 81-2/3 innings.
Guthrie, who is set to start attending Snead State in the fall, paved his way all season with excellent command early in counts. He also baffled batters by bringing a speedier fastball to the ballpark and effectively mixing it with his other off-speed pitches.
“That absolutely makes my day,” Patterson said upon hearing of Guthrie’s All-American status. “It was absolutely through hard work that he became a legitimate No. 1 on any other team. Man, that’s awesome.”
Baseball America’s All-American Team, which Thompson has graced as a second-team pitcher twice, is likely to be released sometime this week.
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 138 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.