Pike County athletes having big season on collegiate level

Published 3:00 am Saturday, April 4, 2015

By Dan Smith

Every year local high schools in Troy and Pike County turn out some of the best baseball talent in the state, and today many former players from Charles Henderson High and Pike Liberal Arts are having big seasons on the collegiate level.

Among the 14 athletes includes the hot hitting of Chandler Avant at Alabama, the insane hitting display of Joey Denison at Southern Union and the strong pitching of Mitch McLeod at Texas Wesleyan.

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Denison, a 2013 graduate of CHHS, is in his second season at Southern Union, and leads the team in almost every hitting category including a .396 batting average, base hits with 38, runs scored at 17, doubles with nine, triples with three, RBI with 25, stolen bases with 10, On Base Percentage at .438, Slugging Percentage at a powerful .583, extra base hits with 13 and hit by pitches with four.

McLeod, a 2010 graduate of CHHS, is 4-3 at Texas Wesleyan with a sparkling 1.65 ERA, and has struck out 49 batters in 43 innings. The righty also has one save on the season.

Charles Henderson High head coach Derek Irons is pleased with the progress of his former players, and their contributions in baseball beyond high school.

“I’m extremely proud that so many of our guys have not only moved on to the next level, but that so many of them are performing well in the collegiate ranks,” Irons said. “It brings me great joy to check in on those guys and see them representing our program in such a positive manner.”

Here are many other former CHHS and PLAS baseball players listed alphabetically, and how they are doing to date:

Brian Adams

Southern Union

A 2014 graduate of Pike Liberal Arts, Adams was an outstanding athlete for the Patriots, and today is on the squad at Southern Union. Adams had surgery on his ankle but has recovered well and is being red-shirted by Southern Union this year and is expected to compete for playing time next season.

Hunter Baggett


Baggett, a CHHS graduate and infielder of the 2013 state championship team, is a freshman at LBW, and is hitting .250 on the season.

Tripp Blackmon

Southern Union

Blackmon was the go-to pitcher for Charles Henderson on the 2013 Class 4A state championship baseball team, but an injury at Southern Union required surgery, and he is in the final stages of his rehab and working out with the team.

Xavius Burden

Miles College

The former 2014 state champion CHHS player is in his first season at Miles College, where he plays third base and is a right-handed pitcher. So far this season, Xaivius has a 2-2 record with 14 strikeouts as a pitcher, and is batting .250 at the plate with seven RBI.

Blake Floyd

Troy University

Former Pike Liberal Arts standout Blake Floyd, a graduate of 2012, is on the roster of Troy University for the 2015 season and recovering well from elbow surgery. Floyd was a three-time all-state selection at PLAS, where he broke a school record with a .530 batting average during his sophomore season.

Michael Fox

University Alabama-Huntsville

Fox, a 2013 CHHS graduate, is a junior infielder at UAH, where he is batting .265 with two home runs on the year.

Luke Hastings

Lawson State

Hastings, a CHHS graduate of 2013, is a sophomore at Lawson State, where he plays third base and also pitches. On the mound Hastings leads the team with six saves on the year and scored the only run recently in a 1-0 victory over Wallace-Hanceville.

Quay Lawson

Texas Wesleyan

Lawson, a 2010 graduate of CHHS, is batting a hot .313 on the season with three doubles, a triple and 12 RBI.

Houston Mabray


Mabray, a 2013 CHHS graduate, is a sophomore with a 2-0 record as a right-hand pitcher, 21 strikeouts and two saves on the year.

John Michael Stephens

Central Alabama Community College

The tall left-handed pitcher and 2014 CHHS graduate is in his first year at CACC, with a 3-3 record, a 4.57 ERA and has struck out 21 batters.

Lawson Stewart

Georgia Southwestern State

Stewart, a former PLAS Patriot, was having an outstanding year on the mound until shoulder soreness, which doctors have told him he will fully recover with rest and no surgery.

The hard throwing right-handed pitcher was 1-0 on the young season with a 1.20 ERA, and striking out 15 batters while recording one save.