Player of the Week, July 22

Published 10:36 pm Monday, July 21, 2008

On a team that has had produced a number of legitimate Player of the Week candidates, Matt Etheridge has provided the best all-around performance for the West Alabama 14U All-Stars.

Heading into play Monday, the five-tool standout had managed a robust .580 average at the plate while ripping a triple and a pair of doubles in the process.

“When a runner is on base, you want him at the plate,” West Alabama head coach Chris Stewart said of the team’s three-hole hitter.

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On the mound, Etheridge took advantage of his time and logged three innings and picked up the win in a 15-3 rout of Huntsville-Eastern.

“He’s one of my Top 3 pitchers,” Stewart said of the Marengo Academy student’s hurling prowess.

However, it is Etheridge’s defensive ability that caught the attention of his teammates and coaches. On more than one occasion during the tournament’s pool play round, Etheridge chased down a fly ball with reckless abandon, exhibiting the grit and desire that has the West Alabama team in position to claim the 14U state crown.

“He’s a kid that’ll lay out for one,” Stewart said. “If anything’s in the gap, you don’t worry because he’s going to get it.”