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Red Bay's Allen, Bragwell named All-State

Attempting to single out Chandler Allen’s best performance on the mound from 2017, Red Bay baseball coach Richard Maggerise must have felt like a hungry man lining up for an all-you-can-eat buffet.

The choices were overwhelming, and it all looked good.

Maggerise passed over Allen’s 14-strikeout gem at Covenant Christian on March 16 and his 18-strikeout, one-hit shutout of Sulligent on April 6, ultimately settling on a pair of outings that might not have been as statistically appetizing but had a little more meat on the bone. The first game that jumped to mind for Maggerise was the opener of a doubleheader against area rival Phil Campbell on March 23, when Allen survived a shaky first inning to finish with 13 strikeouts and a complete game four-hitter in a 10-3 win. The second was an early-season start at Hackleburg on March 3, when Allen breezed through seven shutout innings on just 77 pitches, striking out eight and allowing just one hit in a 5-0 win.

“The Phil Campbell game, that was a huge area win for us,” Maggerise said. “After giving up a two-run homer to Peyton Thomas in the first inning, Chandler shut ‘em down the rest of the way. They only got one or two hits off him after that. And then there was the Hackleburg game at Hackleburg, where he was just unhittable. I think he had a no-no through six.

“Stat-wise, he had better games, but those two stand out to me, just for what he was able to do against a couple of quality opponents. Hackleburg ended up being a second-round playoff team, and so did Phil Campbell.”

Red Bay (which finished 14-17) narrowly missed out on a postseason berth, but Allen certainly did his part. The senior left-hander posted a 6-4 record with one save and a 1.37 ERA across 15 appearances. He completed six of his eight starts and struck out a whopping 100 batters in just 55.2 innings, allowing only 23 hits.

For his efforts, the 5’10, 160-pound Allen—who has signed with Blue Mountain College in Mississippi—received All-State honorable mention in Class 2A from the Alabama Sports Writers Association.

“I know Chandler’s overall record wasn’t what he wanted it to be,” Maggerise said, “but his ERA and the strikeouts he had were impressive in themselves. We struggled to score runs and weren’t able to back him up in a few of those close games, but he did a great job for us this year. That’s probably the best he’s pitched.

“Going into the summer, he had pitched a lot of innings, but his velocity and his stuff wasn’t where he wanted it or where we needed it. He worked his tail off in the offseason. He threw all during football season. With the hard work he put in, he’s very deserving, and I’m expecting big things out of him when he goes to Blue Mountain here in about a month.”

Allen wasn’t the only Tiger to earn All-State honors from the ASWA. Kolby Bragwell, a 6’2, 185-pound sophomore who played third base and pitched for Red Bay, was a second-team selection at designated hitter.

Bragwell led the Tigers with 33 hits, a .375 batting average and 26 RBIs—despite not really hitting his stride at the plate until late March.

“I thought, overall, the year was probably not as good as he had hoped it would be,” Maggerise said. “He started out the year slow and then picked it up toward the end. When we got back from the beach and got into area play, that’s when he started getting hot.

“He pressed a little early on. With a lot of the guys we had previously, like Troy Borden and Nick Thorn, the pressure was never really on Kolby to be the guy. This year, he was the guy in the lineup that everybody knew. So, early in the year, he was pressing a little and swinging at bad pitches.”

Bragwell righted the ship and wound up leading Red Bay with eight multi-hit games. He struck out just 12 times all season in 100 plate appearances, finishing with one home run, five doubles, 20 runs scored and 13 stolen bases.

Maggerise believes that Bragwell—who also had his moments on the mound in 2017, including 12 strikeouts in six no-hit innings at Colbert County on March 2—has the potential to join Allen and a handful of other recent Tigers in one day signing a college scholarship.

“The sky’s the limit as far as ability with him,” Maggerise said. “He’s gonna be one of those guys, in my opinion, who gets a lot of offers coming out of high school. We’ve talked about it with him, just basically telling him that the level he wants to play at depends on how hard he works.

“He hovered around .400 the whole season, which sounds great and all, but he thinks he should have been able to do better. Still, this was well deserved for him. As a sophomore, it’s impressive. The only other guy I’ve had that young to get that recognition was Troy Borden. So to be All-State your sophomore year is impressive.”

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