Gunner Justice Commits to Coastal Alabama Community: CECIL Gunner Justice never considered himself the way others did, especially when it came to colleges recruiting him for baseball. Macon East Academy head coach Will Graham, however, always saw Justice as a player with potential for the next level.
Graham’s confidence in Justice dates back to the first time he saw him, a freshman at Macon East when Graham was an assistant coach. Coach Pickett told Graham about a freshman shortstop, and though skeptical initially, Graham quickly realized the talent he had on his hands.
I came in my first year, and Coach Pickett told me weve got a kid thats going to be a ninth-grader and I think hes going to start at shortstop, Graham recalled. Im thinking, a ninth-grader is going to start at shortstop, one of the most important defensive positions on the field. After about two days of practice, I just looked at (Pickett) and said I understand where youre coming from now.
As a freshman, we hit him down in the (batting) order, but it seemed, even as a ninth-grader, he had all the confidence in the world when he came to the plate. He was going to make something happen for you.
And thats continued throughout his career.
In a signing ceremony on Monday, Justice committed to Coastal Alabama Community College (South) in Bay Minette, joining the Coyotes under the leadership of new coach J.D. Pruitt, the former head coach at Spanish Fort.
Hes a great guy, Justice said. He has great things going for the program, a lot of new renovations, and the campus, I fell in love with it when I went down there.
As a three-year starter at shortstop, Justice boasts an impressive track record. He holds a .346 batting average with an on-base percentage of .482 in 308 at-bats, scoring 130 runs with 20 doubles and 71 RBIs. After dedicating more time to the weight room post-sophomore season, he became a stronger player, moving into the leadoff role and hitting .364 with an on-base percentage of .494 during his junior year.
He really became feared at the plate, Graham said. Nobody wanted to throw to him. Hes a really disciplined hitter, he knows the strike zone, he knows how to work counts.
And when you get all those reps at shortstops for three years and youve got a guy with his glove and his arm and the way he moves, its hard to replace that at shortstop. Im glad Ive got him for one more year.
Justice aims to lead the Knights back to the AAA finals in his senior year. Simultaneously, he plans to enhance his skills, focusing on “getting bigger, faster, stronger, more consistent with the bat” to make an immediate impact with the Coyotes in 2025.