Alabama High School Team Preview: Gulf Shores Dolphins (2024)

February 10, 2022
PBR Alabama Staff

The 2022 high school baseball season is quickly approaching and as usual, excitement abounds throughout the state. Players and coaches have been working in preparation for the upcoming season and, as is the case each year, there are some very talented players and teams across Alabama.

Teams across the state have goals and aspirations to finish their seasons in Montgomery at the AISA or AHSAA state championships, but there is plenty of work to be done before that becomes reality. We hope to familiarize our readers with many of the teams across the state as we preview individual teams across Alabama. We will take you right up to first pitch this season with these team previews and by continuing our scheduled podcasts and releasing our preseason Top 10 in each AHSAA classification.

Please keep checking back throughout the season as we will be your one-stop shop for everything related to high school baseball across the state. Each week we will be releasing our players of the week, updating the Top 10 in each AHSAA classification as well as a Power 25. One thing that you especially don’t want to miss are our scheduled podcasts with guests from across the state as well as recaps and previews of big games across the state.

*Please note that all information is based on team preview questionnaires that were sent out and returned by the participating high school coaches.

High School Name: Gulf Shores Dolphins

Coach’s Name: Chris Jacks

Classification: AHSAA 6A

Area Number: Area 2

No. of Returning Positional Starters: 8

No. of Returning Pitchers: 8

Team Strengths: Experience, Pitching, Defense

Top Returning Players:

  • RHP/1B Thrasher Steed (Chipola CC, 2022)
  • SS Marc Stephens (Mississippi Gulf Coast CC, 2022)
  • RHP/UTL Jud Keel (2022)
  • LHP/1B Mattox Johnson (2022)
  • OF/LHP Jackson Achimon (2022)
  • OF/RHP Austin Nix (2022)
  • INF/RHP Colby Franklin (2022)
  • C Dom Maldet (2023)

Top 2022 Prospects:

  • UTL Kaiden Pierce (2022)
  • LHP Case Hager (2022)

Top 2024 & 2025 Prospects:

  • INF/RHP Joseph Stephens (2024)
  • C/RHP Landon Jones (2025)

Team Outlook

The Gulf Shores Dolphins come into the spring of 2022 looking to build off of a stellar year last spring that saw them win their area and advance to the 2nd round of the Class 6A State Playoffs. The Dolphins return as much as anyone this year in Class 6A, so they should be one of the better teams in their classification.

Gulf Shores has eight positional players and eight pitchers who saw time last spring returning for 2022. RHP Thrasher Steed (Chipola CC) has been the unquestioned ace for this staff since his freshman year of high school, and the senior looks poised for his best year yet. Steed is a durable 6-3, 205-pounder with a fastball that has gotten into the low-90's, and has a really good arsenal of secondary pitches as well. The senior carries an 18-2 record on the mound into his final year of high school, and will also be asked for some offensive production after hitting .271 last spring. SS Marc Stephens (Mississippi Gulf Coast CC) is another important piece coming back for the Dolphins. Stephens has started every game at shortstop and hit in the three-hole since his eighth-grade year, so he's played a big part of Gulf Shores' success over the years. The senior shortstop has a career batting average over .360 after hitting .320 in his junior season with six stolen bases. RHP/UTL Jud Keel is another senior who has been a staple of this program over the past few seasons. Keel has started at third base and has been the No. 2 in the rotation since his senior year and has a career record of 12-10. He's pitched some big games and will be called upon to do so again in 2022. LHP/1B Mattox Johnson is another returning senior who has been a starter since his freshman year. Johnson is a quality left-handed reliever who has pitched 78.1 innings over his high school career with a 7-4 record and three saves. He will also play first base for the Dolphins after hitting .270 last year. OF/LHP Jackson Achimon comes back for his senior season with tons of experience after starting in the outfield since his freshman year. The left-hander has hit in the middle of the order over the past few years and is an excellent defender in the outfield.

A few other returners to know for the Dolphins this spring are OF/RHP Austin Nix, INF/RHP Colby Franklin & C Dom Maldet. All are upperclassmen who played big roles this spring, and are sure to be leaders again this spring. The Dolphins also have a couple newcomers who have proved to be talented players at their previous schools. UTL Kaden Pierce can play numerous positions defensively, and can also handle the bat well. LHP Case Hager is another southpaw added to this staff who works in the low-to-mid 80's with good command of all pitches. Although there are so many returners for Gulf Shores, there are some younger players who could push for some playing time this spring. Some of those underclassmen are INF/RHP Joseph Stephens & C/RHP Landon Jones. The Dolphins seemed to be poised for another successful season in 2022.

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Alabama High School Team Preview: Gulf Shores Dolphins (2024)
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