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Class 5A-7A All-Area baseball: Williamson makes mark on Hartselle baseball history

Jun. 1—HARTSELLE — In the history of Hartselle baseball, a lot of great classes have come through. The Class of 2024 will certainly be remembered as one of the best.

At least, that's what senior JoJo Williamson believes.

"I can't remember all the years previous but I would say what we accomplished in these last four years has to be up there with the best," Williamson said.

It's hard to argue with him. In the last four seasons Hartselle advanced to the Class 6A state finals three times, winning the championship in 2022. The Tigers also won three area championships and won a total of 128 games.

"There've been so many great players and so many great classes come through here so just to be mentioned with those guys says a lot about what the Class of '24 was able to accomplish and how they handled their business," Hartselle Athletic Director and baseball coach Jake Miles said. "They did everything the right way."

This past season was one of the Tigers' best as they went 33-11 and finished just a run short of winning the school's 10th state championship.

Among the many talented players for Hartselle this year, Williamson was the best. The senior Alabama signee had a standout final season, batting .430 with 48 RBIs and five home runs. He also had a 1.240 OPS and was a perfect 15 for 15 in stolen bases.

Williamson was chosen as The Daily's Class 5A-7A Player of the Year for a tremendous season.

"It gets lost sometimes because there've been so many great players the last few years, but JoJo had a great four-year career," Miles said." This year he stepped it up even more, especially in the leadership role, which I was most proud of."

Williamson said looking back it was a little surprising to see how well he did.

"I never really paid attention because in my family we kind of have a rule of never looking at the stats. I'll tell you what, it was the year I wanted to win the most, whether or not I did good, so maybe that helped push me."

Williamson and the Tigers were extra motivated coming into the season, wanting to win a championship for their longtime coach William Booth who died a day before the state finals. Despite coming up short, Williamson said the memories of playing for Booth will stick with him forever and he's honored to have been on his last official team.

"It's awesome, I'm so glad I had the experience to play for him because he made me and my friends, not just better players, but better men," Williamson said. "I'm sad to see him leave, but I know he's in a better place."

For the first time in a long while, Hartselle baseball will undergo significant changes going into the next season. The Tigers will have a new coach for the first time since 1987 and, with 10 seniors leaving, there will be a lot of new faces playing on Reuben Sims Field.

Williamson believes the departing seniors left their mark and set an example of what Hartselle baseball should continue to be.

"I feel like we've done a good job of trying to leave that legacy and set an example for the younger guys," Williamson said. "It's been a great feeling playing with these guys the last four years. If I could go back and do it again, I definitely would."

caleb.suggs@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2395. Twitter @CalebSuggs2