The Huntsville Baseball Club (HBC) Elite finished the season ranked 16th by TBS last year. For this coming year, they'll switch back to the Viper Baseball Academy (VBA) and be affectionately referred to as the North Alabama Vipers.
Last year, the HBC Elite had a good early win over the TN RBI Rangers (TBS #20) at the North Atlanta "Triple Crown" tournament in early May. Beat the Georgia Yarddogs handily in that same tournament, a team that had a great showing at the Elite 32. Followed that in later May/June with key wins over 3 of TBS's TOP 10 finishers: the LA Tigers in the "Southaven SNIT", the TN Tornadoes at the "Alabama SNIT" and the Michigan Mudhens at the "Battle in the South". Injuries to their top 2 catchers plagued them at the end; otherwise, they would have finished much stronger.
A core 10 of HBC's 12 are returning to play for the Vipers this year, including Alabama's "Player of the Year", Matt Sanders (SS, RHP, CF). Alabama's "Coach of the Year", Jimmy Collins, a former college pitcher and high school coach, will again lead the charge. Adding to the core will be 2 key players: Cody Reed, Alabama's FIRST TEAM 1B and LHP plus Maison Goodwin (CF, LHP). Other AL FIRST TEAM members returning are Cole Collins (2B), Bryce Denton (SS, 3B, RHP), Brett Blailock (C, RHP), and Carson Lester (C, RHP, 3B). Although not on the TBS Radar yet, Chase Slone, one of the region's top SS/RHP's will join the group to add middle infield and pitching depth. Other key AL FIRST or SECOND TEAM returning members are Taylor Clemons (LHP, 1B), Blake Coward (3B, RHP), Mason Gilliland (RHP, LF, 2B), and Tyler Lynd (RF, RHP).
This group hopes to improve upon last year and be competitive against some of the best out there this year.