Five PLAS athletes make all-star team

Published 9:34 pm Friday, May 17, 2013

Coach Butch Austin knows it’s an honor for players to be chosen to the AISA All-Star team. It’s even more special for five players to be chosen from one school.

“For us to have five? Well, nobody else has as many as us,” he said Friday.

Students selected to play in the All-Star games June 3 in Montgomery include seniors Tatom Barnes and Robert Benton and juniors Chandler Avant, John Stephen Grice and Brian Adams.

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Austin, who coaches baseball at Pike Liberal Arts School in Troy, credits the team’s on-field success – they advanced to the semi-final rounds of the AISA state championship this year – as well as the individual performance of the players.

“Our two seniors had real good years at the plate,” he said. “And both of them are good, strong defensive players.” Barnes pitches and plays outfield and third base while Benton plays infield, outfield and pitches for the Patriots.

As for the juniors, Austin said Avant continues to be a strong player both offensively and defensively. “He pitches and plays shortstop and is just a strong player,” Austin said. “He’s already committed to the University of Alabama.”

Grice is a newcomer to the Patriots this year, playing second base. “He’s done a real good job for us,” Austin said. “He’s hit the ball well and as a defensive player he has good hands.”

Adams catches for the Patriots and a key factor in the Patriots’ lineup. “Brian is our No. 5 hitter and he batted over .400 this season,” Austin said. “He’s come a long way, defensively and offensively.”

Austin said while he was “lucky enough to coach” the All-Star game last year, he looks forward to watching his players join with the other juniors and seniors from AISA schools across the state for the All-Star games, which take place at Patterson Field.

They’ll be playing with everybody, all seniors or all juniors, no matter how big or how small the school.”