Nov. 19, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Over the next four days all nine players from the 2014 Alabama baseball recruiting class will be featured on RollTide.com. Today’s featured players are infielder Chandler Avant from Troy, Ala. and right-handed pitcher Andrew DiPiazza from Bayville, N.J.
Troy, Ala. (Pike Liberal Arts)
A native of Troy, Ala., Chandler Avant is ranked 201st overall and the top middle infielder nationally by Perfect Game USA. Avant, who currently attends Pike Liberal Arts High School, posted a .480 batting average with 12 home runs (third-best in the state), 38 RBI, 56 runs scored, an AISA-high 29 walks and 18 stolen bases as a junior. Ranked as the fifth best high school player in Alabama, Avant was named a 2013 Second Team Preseason HS Underclassmen All-American prior to the 2013 season. He would go on to finish the 2013 season as the Alabama Independent Schools Association (AISA) Hitter of the Year and earned Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA) all-state honors as a shortstop. A two-time Dothan Eagle Super 12 selection, Avant was selected to participate in the USA National Development Team Program and was a Perfect Game USA Junior Nationals invitee. During his career at Pike Liberal Arts HS, he helped the team post Class 3A state runner up finishes in 2010 and 2011, before the school captured the AISA 3A state champions in 2012. Following his sophomore season in 2012, he earned ASWA all-state honors, was selected as the Troy Messenger Player of the Year, and was a Perfect Game USA Underclass Honorable Mention All-American. In addition to his outstanding performance on the baseball diamond, Avant is a six-time varsity letterwinner in basketball at PLAHS.
Alabama assistant coach Dax Norris about Chandler Avant
“Chandler is a guy that has hit since the first time we saw him. He’s similar to guys like Mikey White and Kyle Overstreet, once you’ve seen him play every day you realize just how good he is. He’s not flashy, but he’s one of the top players in the country. He will be able to play multiple positions for us and will come in and make an immediate impact. He’s very mature for his age, is an outstanding kid and comes from a great family. He’s a typical three-hole hitter with gap power than can hit the ball out of the yard. He knows the strike zone, has good plate discipline and can repeat his swing. The better pitching he faces the better he is at the plate and his bat will play well at this level. I think his defense is underrated, but he can play all three infield positions and can play them well.”
Bayville, N.J. (Central Regional)
Andrew DiPiazza comes to Alabama by way of New Jersey, where he is the Garden State’s 13th overall ranked player and the eighth-ranked right-handed pitcher by Perfect Game USA. Ranked as the 371st overall player in the country, he was named a 2013 High Honorable Mention Preseason HS Underclassmen All-American by Perfect Game. A four-year varsity letterwinner at Central Regional High School, DiPiazza was selected to the 2013 Area Code Games, where he displayed a mid-to-high 80s fastball with a good breaking ball. As a junior, DiPiazza was named to the 2013 American Family Insurance ALL-USA New Jersey Baseball Team, as well as an Honorable Mention on MSG Varsity’s 2013 All-New Jersey Team. The righty went a perfect 9-0 in 2013 with a 0.85 ERA and 108 strikeouts, en route to first team all-state selections by the Star Ledger and the Asbury PK Press. An all-county selection, DiPiazza was named the Shore Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2013, as the 6-7, 225-pound righty helped CRHS to a South Jersey Group III semi-final finish in 2013. In addition to playing baseball, he also plays basketball, football and is a member of the winter track team.
Alabama assistant coach Dax Norris about Andrew DiPiazza
“He is a big kid that projects really well. He currently throws 87-88, but by the time he leaves Alabama, we expect that he will throw in the mid-90s. He fits everything we’re about and he was all about Alabama from the beginning of the recruiting process. He will have an opportunity to pitch early in his career. We can bring him along slowly, but he should work his way into a weekend guy for us. Being 6-7 he’s got great tilt on the fastball, he throws a lot of strikes, and knows how to pitch. For his age he’s very mature and isn’t caught up trying to throw 92-93. He throws three pitches for a strike and he fits what we’re looking for to a tee.”