Instead, Randolph County put on a performance that not only surprised the school, but Class 2A as well. By the end of their run, the Tigers not only won the Area 9 crown, but also advanced all the way to the semifinals of the playoffs. As a result, Prestridge is The Anniston Star’s All-Area baseball coach of the year.
“We knew we had a good shot to make the playoffs, we just didn’t know how far we’d make it,” Prestridge said. “The last time we made the playoffs was 2005, and we thought we’d make it at least. But we just took it one game at a time.”
Making the story even crazier, because of injuries, Randolph County had to make the journey with three freshman starting pitchers, Levi Scarbary, J.R. Roundtree and Danny Simpson.
“Most of them pitched in junior varsity, but they pitched alone before the season,” Prestridge said. “Looking forward, you say we have three great pitchers coming back, but we still have work to do.”
But help from the Tigers’ six seniors certainly didn’t lack. Lance Daniel, Colton Lovvorn and Brad Benefield each were among the team leaders in batting, and Sklyer Williamson, in his first year playing for the Tigers, also contributed in several ways.
Through all of Randolph County’s 29 wins, two stuck out the most to Prestridge came against Sheffield in the third round. The Tigers won both 8-6 and 6-5.
“It’s hard to say because we played so well and beat a lot of teams, but probably the biggest win was Sheffield,” he said. “They were a really great team with a lot of talent, probably more talent than we had. Their pitching was a little older, and Alabama was looking at their ace.”
And although Prestridge’s team exceeded his expectations by nine wins, Randolph County was hoping for a state title.
“Our magic number was 31 and we knew if we could get to 31 then we’d win it all, but we were a little short,” he said. “But we ended up having a great season and made the playoffs.”
Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star.