County Baseball Day 2

Saks' Jaylen Childs pitches to an Ohatchee batter during the second day of the 2019 Calhoun County Baseball Tournament at Choccolocco Park in Oxford. Photo by Stephen Gross / The Anniston Star

Before Jaylen Childs blossomed into a Division I football lineman, baseball was his game. He’ll leave it to play football at Troy, but he’ll leave with major recognition.

The Saks senior is the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s hitter of the year for Class 3A. The first baseman/pitcher also made first-team all-state as an infielder.

Childs batted .507 with a .558 on-base percentage and .920 slugging percentage this season. He hit seven home runs.

Childs starting playing football as a sophomore, first as a tight end then lineman, and rapidly grew into a college recruit, but never lost his love for baseball. Gaining recognition in baseball “means a lot,” he said.

“If I wasn’t so busy in football, I’d still be busy with baseball,” he said. “I’d love to be playing baseball, but football is easier and has been more beneficial to me.

“I had 23 offers in football, so I didn’t go to many baseball camps.”

Childs, who has settled in at Troy for preseason football workouts, hasn’t ruled out playing two sports at Troy. He said getting settled into the football grind tops his priorities.

“I’ll probably just stick with football, as busy as we are right now,” he said. “I might get too busy with both sports and work in the classroom.”

The ASWA all-state team included several coverage-area players:

—In 6A, Oxford catcher Jake Spivey made first team as a designated hitter. Shortstop Trey Higgins and outfielder Reese Howard made second team, and pitcher/infielder Jarin Turner was honorable mention at utility.

—In 5A, Alexandria shortstop Noah Primm and designated hitter Ryan Taylor made second team. Pitcher Jalen Borders made honorable mention at utility.

—Piedmont’s run to the 3A finals netted the Bulldogs five selections. The first team included pitcher Logan Pruitt, shortstop Mason Mohon and first baseman Sean Smith, who made it as a designated hitter. Pitcher/third baseman Bryce Walter made second team at utility. Second baseman Brant Deerman was an honorable-mention selection.

—Shortstop/pitcher Hall Billings, a key figure in Donoho’s historic, third-round run in the 1A playoffs, made first team at infield. Spring Garden’s semifinal run netted the Panthers four selections, with Colby Slayton (pitcher), Luke Ivey (outfielder) and Luke Welsh (designated hitter) on first team. Weston Kirk (infield) made second team.

Slayton died from injuries sustained in a two-car crash the week following Spring Garden’s semifinal series loss to Mars Hill Bible.

Sports Writer Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.