Brennen Norton

Cullman's Brennen Norton — Class 6A Player of the Year.

Brennen Norton’s numbers tell no lies.

The recent Cullman graduate cemented himself as one of — if not, the — toughest outs in the state his senior season.

And for good reason, too.

Opposing coaches couldn’t stand the sight of the thunderous slugger. Neither could oft-overmatched opposing pitchers.

His eye-popping stats, more commonly seen in a video game than in real life, craft an easily digestible story.

Norton was the best Class 6A had to offer in 2021.

The Alabama Sports Writers Association agreed, too, bestowing Player of the Year accolades on the Jacksonville State signee when this year’s All-State baseball teams were announced on Sunday.

Cullman’s Jeb Bartle (6A pitcher) and Hanceville’s Zach Campbell (4A infielder), meanwhile, claimed second-team honors in their respective classifications.

The ASWA’s decision to go with Norton — also a first-team infielder — for the top prize couldn’t have been a simpler one.

His batting average (.496), slugging percentage (.970) and OPS (1.525) were tops in 6A among players with at least 50 at-bats, and he led his classification in home runs (12), doubles (22), extra-base hits (37), RBIs (48), runs (49) and hits (67). Additionally, Norton led all classifications in doubles and was tied for second in hits.

Cullman’s Brent Patterson has seen myriad great hitters don the Black and Gold during his long tenure with the program.

And, according to the Bearcats coach, Norton is as good as any of them.

"It’s a culmination of years and years of hard work on his part,” Patterson said of Norton’s recognition. "It didn’t just happen. He worked to become a player of this caliber. You don’t put together a season like that out of the blue. He enjoys the game and the team, and he worked just as hard for our team as he did for himself. And in games where he had personal success and the team didn’t — he wasn’t happy."

As for what made the right-hander so dynamic at the plate?

For Patterson, the answer is easy — consistency.

“He was always so close, but something clicked in the fall,” he said. “He was squaring up every ball. When the season started, Brennen was dialed in every at-bat and didn’t miss a beat. After the first few games, we could see that he did too many things correctly to ever go through a long slump. He’s so simple, balanced and complete at the plate. He’s never going to go through extended periods of failure.

“It was one of the best seasons (by a player) since I’ve been here. He did it against the best pitching we saw, the worst pitching we saw, and everything in between.”

See below for capsules on each local baseball player highlighted by the ASWA.


% Name: Brennen Norton

% School: Cullman

% Year: Senior

% Class: 6A

% Position: Infielder

% All-State Status: First Team

% Stats: Compiled a .496 batting average, .554 on-base percentage, .970 slugging percentage and 1.525 OPS with 67 hits, 49 runs, 48 RBIs, 22 doubles, 15 stolen bases, 12 home runs and three triples in 41 games.


% Name: Jeb Bartle

% School: Cullman

% Year: Senior

% Class: 6A

% Position: Pitcher

% All-State Status: Second Team

% Stats: Compiled a 6-2 record with 62 strikeouts, a 1.95 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 57 1/3 innings. Held opponents to a .221 batting average.

% Coach Speak: “He’s the perfect No. 1 pitcher. He had a bulldog mentality and loved coming to practice. He also had energy, drive and determination. He also really helped other guys on the team. Jeb was well on his way to a remarkable season until he had some nagging injuries late. Even then, he never made an excuse. He always took the ball and wanted to do everything that he could for his teammates. Just a great example of what a No. 1 should be.” — Cullman’s Brent Patterson


% Name: Zach Campbell

% School: Hanceville

% Year: Sophomore

% Class: 4A

% Position: Infielder

% All-State Status: Second Team

% Stats: Compiled a .481 batting average, .566 on-base percentage, .568 slugging percentage and 1.134 OPS with 39 hits, 32 runs, 23 RBIs, nine stolen bases, five doubles and a triple in 26 games.

% Coach Speak: "Zach is one of the most talented and skilled guys I have ever had. He is also very competitive and understands the small competitions within a baseball game. This year, he really stepped up into a leadership role for us. I’m really proud of the effort he put into our program, and I’m excited to see him continue to grow and develop.” — Hanceville’s Michael Chandler


See complete All-State baseball teams below.


Class 7A

Player of the Year

Grant Taylor, Florence

 

Pitcher of the Year

Riley Quick, Hewitt-Trussville

 

Hitter of the Year

Slate Alford, Bob Jones

 

Coach of the Year

Matt Cimo, Auburn

 

First Team

P: Chase Allsup, Dothan, Sr.

P: Riley Quick, Hewitt-Trussville, Jr.

P: Grant Taylor, Florence, Sr.

P: Jack Tullier, Auburn, Sr.

C: Max Soliz Jr., Bob Jones, Sr.

IF: Slate Alford, Bob Jones, Sr.

IF: Ryan Austin, Auburn, Sr.

IF: Zeke Bishop, Florence, Sr.

IF: AJ Causey, Sparkman, Sr.

OF: Sean Agsalud, Hoover, Sr.

OF: Jack Buening, Sparkman, So.

OF: Jayven Williams, Baker, Jr.

UT: Will Turner, Auburn, Sr.

UT: Eli Zielinski, Daphne, Jr.

DH: Davis Gillespie, Oak Mountain, Jr.

DH: Jackson McCreless, Florence, Sr.

 

Second Team

P: Will Cannon, Central-Phenix City, Sr.

P: Matthew Hawsey, Hoover, Sr.

P: Trent Hodgdon, Smiths Station, Sr.

P: Slade Wood, Prattville, Jr.

C: Stone Lawless, Huntsville, So.

IF: Brody Capps, Central-Phenix City, Jr.

IF: Logan Collins, Smiths Station, Jr.

IF: Te’Relle George-Mills, Dothan, Sr.

IF: Parker Sessison, Enterprise, Sr.

OF: Ta’Marion Bolling, Jeff Davis, Sr.

OF: Trey Burrell, Hewitt-Trussville, Sr.

OF: Logan Hittle, Bob Jones, Sr.

UT: Jakob Lewis, Sparkman, Sr.

UT: Caleb Mahan, Florence, Jr.

DH: Cam Brock, Fairhope, Sr.

DH: Travis Stauter, Prattville, Jr.

 

Honorable Mention

P: Cole Kehoe, Central-Phenix City, Sr.

P: Eli Zielinski, Daphne, Jr.

C: Lucas Steele, Hoover, Jr.

IF: Logan Braunschweig, Thompson, Sr.

OF: Ethan Duhon, Hewitt-Trussville, Jr.

OF: Brody Tuinder, Mary Montgomery, Fr.

UT: Maddox Macrory, Oak Mountain, Jr.


Class 6A

Player of the Year

Brennen Norton, Cullman

 

Pitcher of the Year

Pico Kohn, Chilton Co.

 

Hitter of the Year

Trey Higgins, Oxford

 

Coach of the Year

William Booth, Hartselle

 

First Team

P: Connor Ball, Chelsea, Sr.

P: Peyton Bell, Faith Academy, Sr.

P: Elliott Bray, Hartselle, Jr.

P: Pico Kohn, Chilton Co., Sr.

C: Daniel Stewart, Hazel Green, Sr.

IF: Gabe Broadus, Faith Academy, Sr.

IF: Kyle Morrison, Wetumpka, Jr.

IF: Brody Moss, Helena, Sr.

IF: Brennen Norton, Cullman, Sr.

OF: Parker Carlson, Faith Academy, Sr.

OF: Trey Higgins, Oxford, Sr.

OF: Ryan Storey, Helena, Jr.

UT: Michael Hopkinson, Faith Academy, Sr.

UT: Thrasher Steed, Gulf Shores, Jr.

DH: Carson Alvis, Jasper, Sr.

DH: Kline Smith, Saraland, Sr.

 

Second Team

P: Jeb Bartle, Cullman, Sr.

P: Trey Mooney, Oxford, Sr.

P: Jacob Peters, Helena, Sr.

P: Payte Williams, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, Sr.

C: Tyler Jon Santos, Helena, Sr.

IF: John Hall, Homewood, Sr.

IF: Hess Horne, Eufaula, Sr.

IF: Luke Price, Buckhorn, Jr.

IF: Carter Sheehan, Calera, So.

OF: Jeremy Hawkins, Shades Valley, Sr.

OF: Braxton Hughes, Saraland, Sr.

OF: Luke Williams, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, Jr.

UT: Dee Bonner, Lee-Montgomery, Sr.

UT: Jacob Little, Southside-Gadsden, Sr.

DH: Griff Minor, Helena, Sr.

DH: Wade Penny, Mortimer Jordan, Jr.

 

Honorable Mention

P: John Michael Pickens, Hueytown, Jr.

P: Jaxon Shineflew, Wetumpka, So.

C: Brooks Bryan, Opelika, Jr.

C: Sage Givens, Robertsdale, Jr.

IF: Carter Johnson, Oxford, Fr.

IF: Mayson Slaughter, Jasper, Sr.

OF: Spencer Arceneaux, McGill-Toolen, Sr.

OF: Justin Brunson, Baldwin Co., Jr.

UT: Ethan Black, Eufaula, Sr.

DH: CT Englebert, Saraland, Jr.


Class 5A

Player of the Year

Maddux Bruns, UMS-Wright

 

Pitcher of the Year

Maddux Bruns, UMS-Wright

 

Hitter of the Year

Jackson Lindsey, Russellville

 

Coach of the Year

Chris Heaps, Russellville

 

First Team

P: Maddux Bruns, UMS-Wright, Sr.

P: Bryce Cunningham, Headland, Sr.

P: Emitt Green, Russellville, Jr.

P: Wesley Wright, Alexandria, Sr.

C: Jackson Hirschler, Madison Academy, Sr.

IF: Jackson Lindsey, Russellville, Sr.

IF: Will Passeau, St. Paul’s, Sr.

IF: JT Pennington, Shelby Co., Sr.

IF: Grant Walker, Sylacauga, Sr.

OF: Lane Cook, Rehobeth, Jr.

OF: Zach Johnson, Moody, Jr.

OF: Alex Wade, Madison Academy, Jr.

UT: Boyd Ogles, Central-Clay Co., Sr.

UT: Clay Slagle, Pike Road, Sr.

DH: Luke Hogan, Ardmore, Sr.

DH: Joe Watkins, Rehobeth, Sr.

 

Second Team

P: Lucas Baggett, Pike Road, Jr.

P: Cole Cheatham, Ardmore, Sr.

P: Blaze Gerhart, Sardis, Sr.

P: Carson Snow, Hayden, So.

C: Tanner Wells, Rehobeth, Sr.

IF: Ayden Amis, Andalusia, Jr.

IF: Cole Barnett, Russellville, Sr.

IF: Sean Darnell, Elmore Co., Jr.

IF: Sam Wade, Alexandria, Jr.

OF: Gavin Brown, Corner, So.

OF: JP Fox, Shelby Co., Sr.

OF: Austin West, Alexandria, Jr.

UT: Colin Daniel, Corner, Jr.

UT: Kai Watson, Madison Academy, Sr.

DH: Landan Hodges, Beauregard, So.

DH: Avery Seaton, Madison Academy, Sr.

 

Honorable Mention

P: Luke Fondren, St. Clair Co., Sr.

P: Rowe Gallagher, Russellville, Sr.

C: Clayten Gough, Tallassee, Jr.

IF: Shermaine Hollis, Parker, Jr.

OF: Will Landers, Leeds, So.

OF: Cole Blaylock, UMS-Wright, So.

UT: Brody Samples, Sardis, Jr.


Class 4A

Player of the Year

Charlie Keller, Mobile Christian

 

Pitcher of the Year

Ben Capps, Gordo

 

Hitter of the Year

Grant Jay, Mobile Christian

 

Coach of the Year

Tyler Hall, Handley

 

First Team

P: Ben Capps, Gordo, Jr.

P: Luke Hodge, Oneonta, Jr.

P: Kelly Lanier, Mobile Christian, Jr.

P: Nathan Shelton, American Christian, Sr.

C: Grant Jay, Mobile Christian, Jr.

IF: Tanner Bailey, Gordo, Jr.

IF: Landon Barnes, North Jackson, Jr.

IF: Charlie Keller, Mobile Christian, Jr.

IF: Mason Mann, Priceville, Sr.

OF: Will Moye, Oneonta, Sr.

OF: Brandon Poole, North Jackson, Sr.

OF: Rashad Robinson, Mobile Christian, Sr.

UT: Tyler Daniel, White Plains, Sr.

UT: Carson Smith, North Jackson, Fr.

DH: Hayden Redding, Mobile Christian, Sr.

DH: Hunter Sute, American Christian, Sr.

 

Second Team

P: Carson Howard, St. James, Sr.

P: Eli Jackson, Hamilton, Jr.

P: Colin Patterson, West Limestone, So.

P: Parker Willingham, Deshler, Sr.

C: Brayden Buckner, Deshler, Sr.

IF: Zach Campbell, Hanceville, So.

IF: Coleman Oliver, Jacksonville, Sr.

IF: Walker Pruett, Cherokee Co., Jr.

IF: Jacob Woder, Curry, Sr.

OF: Kyle Handy, Jackson, Sr.

OF: Brodie Naramore, Curry, Jr.

OF: Thorne Slaton, West Limestone, Sr.

UT: Cody Posey, Montevallo, Sr.

UT: Connor Wilson, Cherokee Co., So.

DH: Bo Burkes, Bibb Co., Jr.

DH: Cade Horton, Bibb Co., Sr.

 

Honorable Mention

P: Logan Martin, West Limestone, Jr.

P: Luke Smith, Curry, Sr.

C: Juan Canales, Jacksonville, Jr.

C: Will Haynes, Curry, Jr.

IF: Jae-Taj Morris, Jacksonville, Jr.

IF: Zac Westbrook, Alabama Christian, Sr.

OF: Caleb Freeman, Etowah, So.

OF: Nick Whitten, Deshler, Sr.

UT: Jaden Chatman, White Plains, Sr.


Class 3A

Player of the Year

Mason Swinney, Phil Campbell

 

Pitcher of the Year

Josh Gunther, Bayside Academy

 

Hitter of the Year

Jack Hayes, Piedmont

 

Coach of the Year

Jonathan Raper, Phil Campbell

 

First Team

P: Josh Gunther, Bayside Academy, So.

P: Blake Jernigan, T.R. Miller, Sr.

P: Payton Lemons, Hokes Bluff, Sr.

P: Mason Swinney, Phil Campbell, Jr.

C: Jack Hayes, Piedmont, So.

IF: Austen Baker, Phil Campbell, Sr.

IF: Jordan Fomby, Childersburg, Sr

IF: Jake Smith, Providence Christian, Jr.

IF: Sean Smith, Piedmont, Sr.

OF: Abe Chancellor, Providence Christian, Sr.

OF: Brodey Lentz, Lauderdale Co., Jr.

OF: Ike Rowell, Fyffe, Sr.

UT: Tanner Cowart, Fyffe, Sr.

UT: Austin Estes, Piedmont, Jr.

DH: Drake Rainey, Hokes Bluff, Sr.

DH: Robert Rucando, Bayside Academy, Sr.

 

Second Team

P: Brody Cook, Winfield, Sr.

P: Tanner Cowart, Fyffe, Sr.

P: Harrison Mims, Providence Christian, So.

P: Ridge Raper, Phil Campbell, Sr.

C: Bryant Anthony, Phil Campbell, So.

IF: Hunter Busha, Winfield, Jr.

IF: Rickey Garrett, Saks, Jr.

IF: Noah Reedy, Piedmont, Jr.

IF: Jett Smith, Walter Wellborn, Sr.

OF: Ian Ezell, Clements, Jr.

OF: Devin Howell, Ohatchee, So.

OF: Dylan Parker, Danville, Sr.

UT: Jackson Glover, Wicksburg, Jr.

UT: Braydon Harvin, Houston Academy, Sr.

DH: Gabe Bryant, Reeltown, Jr.

DH: Brayden Dempsey, Walter Wellborn, Jr.

 

Honorable Mention

P: Konnor Baswell, Ohatchee, Sr.

P: Brady James, Opp, Sr.

C: Ethan Cox, Opp, Jr.

IF: Tucker Jackson, Houston Academy, Jr.

OF: Logan Lee, Reeltown, Sr.

OF: Nick Turner, Flomaton, Jr.

UT: Miles Edwards, Lauderdale Co., Fr.

DH: Josh Gandy, Excel, Jr.

DH: Mykell Murrah, Elkmont, So.


Class 2A

Player of the Year

Samuel Dutton, Westbrook Christian

 

Pitcher of the Year

Samuel Dutton, Westbrook Christian

 

Hitter of the Year

Luke Welsh, Spring Garden

 

Coach of the Year

Matt Kennedy, Westbrook Christian

 

First Team

P: Samuel Dutton, Westbrook Christian, Sr.

P: Nash Evans, Ariton, Sr.

P: Landon Gowens, Spring Garden, Jr.

P: Will Noles, Westbrook Christian, Sr.

C: Luke Welsh, Spring Garden, Sr.

IF: Eli Davenport, Ranburne, Jr.

IF: Peyton Higgins, Mars Hill, Sr.

IF: Trevor Morris, G.W. Long, Jr.

IF: Wyatt Tomlin, Falkville, Sr.

OF: Caden Burnett, Falkville, So.

OF: Nash Rippen, Decatur Heritage, Jr.

OF: Landon Thrash, Ariton, Sr.

UT: Bryce Eddington, St. Luke’s, Sr.

UT: Jaxon Langley, Ranburne, Jr.

DH: Joshua Bowerman, Mars Hill, Jr.

DH: Ben Jackson, Ranburne, Jr.

 

Second Team

P: Tyler Founds, Decatur Heritage, Jr.

P: Colton Hooper, Falkville, Jr.

P: Jackson Chancey, G.W. Long, Jr.

P: Avery Malone, Leroy, Sr.

C: Peyton Sallee, Falkville, Sr.

IF: Baker Porter, Colbert Co., Sr.

IF: Logan Wood, Sand Rock, Sr.

IF: Josh Neutze, St. Luke’s, Sr.

IF: Fisher Glasgow, Westbrook Christian, Sr.

OF: Landon Tyler, Ariton, So.

OF: Blayne McDaniel, G.W. Long, Jr.

OF: Parker Huff, Hatton, Fr.

UT: Brodie Self, Westbrook Christian, Jr.

UT: Carson Dunlap, G.W. Long, Sr.

DH: Wilson Terry, Hatton, Sr.

DH: Eli Pearce, West End-Walnut Grove, Sr.

 

Honorable Mention

P: Ethan Benford, Colbert Co., Sr.

P: Joshua Bowerman, Mars Hill, Jr.

C: Maddux Terry, Decatur Heritage, Sr.

C: Cade Mitchell, Ranburne, Jr.

IF: Eyan Davis, Vincent, Jr.

IF: Eli Edgil, Winston Co., So.

OF: Aaron Stearns, Leroy, Sr.

UT: Cole Patterson, Westbrook Christian, Sr.


Class 1A

Player of the Year

John Malone, Bayshore Christian

 

Pitcher of the Year

Trace Luker, Sweet Water

 

Hitter of the Year

Tucker Kilcrease, Brantley

 

Coach of the Year

Steve Gendron, Donoho

 

First Team

P: John Malone, Bayshore Christian, So.

P: Mark Nichols, Brantley, Sr.

P: Brandon Hill, Lynn, Sr.

P: Trace Luker, Sweet Water, Jr.

C: Sam Hogue, Lindsay Lane, Jr.

IF: Luke Werneth, Bayshore Christian, Sr.

IF: Tucker Kilcrease, Brantley, Jr.

IF: Judson Billings, Donoho, Jr.

IF: Seth Knight, Marion Co., So.

OF: Slade Haney, Donoho, Jr.

OF: CJ White, Sweet Water, Sr.

OF: Troy McKinney, Winterboro, Sr.

UT: Streed Crooms, Bayshore Christian, So.

UT: Lucas Elliott, Donoho, So.

DH: Jack Kennedy, Brantley, Sr.

DH: Tyler Ingle, Sumiton Christian, Jr.

 

Second Team

P: Mikael Bryant, Bayshore Christian, So.

P: Blake Willingham, Donoho, Jr.

P: Chance Majors, Lynn, Sr.

P: William Etheridge, Sweet Water, Fr.

C: Dalton Daniels, Brantley, Sr.

IF: Carson Jones, Brantley, Sr.

IF: Nic Thompson, Donoho, Fr.

IF: Colton Pahman, Faith Christian, Jr.

IF: Michael Alan Cole, Sweet Water, Jr.

OF: Max Morrison, Lindsay Lane, So.

OF: Jaland Lewis-Horton, Sweet Water, Jr.

OF: Tucker Livings, Red Level, Sr.

UT: Cale Sumblin, Kinston, So.

UT: Brodie Dodson, Faith Christian, Jr.

DH: Brady Whitworth, Faith Christian, Fr.

DH: Gavin Scott, Waterloo, Sr.

 

Honorable Mention

C: Connor Abernathy, Athens Bible, Jr.

IF: Kacen Pierce, Athens Bible, Sr.

IF: Cole Dean, Bayshore Christian, 8th

OF: Yancey Young, Sumiton Christian, Fr.

UT: Corey Teague, Cedar Bluff, Sr.

DH: Brody Hamm, Winterboro, Sr.

DH: Baylor Williams, Millry, Jr.

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