Speegle, Landrum advance as Lions’ all-stars

Published 12:09 am Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Three Marengo County players travelled to Clanton Monday to be part of the West squad in the second round of Lion’s Club all-star games. Sweet Water’s Antonio Landrum and Demopolis’ Shelby Speegle and Jacob Kerby were three of 40 players who participated in the Central Alabama region twinbill at Jack Hayes Field.

“It was good experience because I met new people and we explored new things,” Landrum, an SWHS Class of 2009 member, said. “I found out how it’s going to be when I go to college and have to play with new people and learn how to handle new things.”

The trip marked the second straight year Speegle was selected as one of five players from the Demopolis event to take part in the Clanton-based game.

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“I think last year I was a little overwhelmed playing with some of the best people in the lower half of Alabama,” Speegle said. In 2008 Speegle pitched two innings and struck out four of the six batters he faced, but was not selected to advance to Birmingham.

This year, Speegle pitched two innings and came up with two RBIs at the plate, earning his way into the group of 16 players that was selected to make up the Central Alabama team in Birmingham this weekend.

“Chilton County is in our area. I pitched a seven-inning game against them this year and their coach was part of the (all-star) game,” Speegle said of his belief that his selection was aided by CCHS head coach Josey Shannon’s familiarity with him. “I think that helped me a lot.”

Landrum, who played shortstop and second base Monday, will join Speegle in Birmingham as part of the Central Alabama team.

“I did pretty good on defense,” Landrum said of his performance Monday. “I went 0-for-3 on offense, but I made it up on defense.”

Speegle and Landrum both expressed the necessity of taking their best to the next level of competition this weekend.

“I know I’m going to have to go up there and do my best,” Landrum said.

“Everybody up there is going to be good. They’re all going to be able to hit the ball out of the park. That changes everything with pitching,” Speegle said. “Pretty much, everybody on our team is going to play college ball somewhere.”

While Speegle and Landrum will each extend their baseball futures for at least one more weekend, Monday’s affair likely marked then end of Kerby’s storied tenure behind a catcher’s mask.

“He started as a freshman,” Speegle said of the Tigers’ catcher for the last four seasons. “He’s never had anybody threaten his starting job. I have complete trust in him. He doesn’t let a lot of balls get by him no matter how bad I throw them.”

While Kerby who intends to walk-on to the Auburn football team was will miss the game of baseball, he expressed his excitement with getting on more time on a diamond.

“It was definitely good to play again,” Kerby said. “It was a good experience all around.”