www.charlestondailymail.com Prep Sports http://www.charlestondailymail.com Daily Mail feed en-us Copyright 2015, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Nitro still on top in AAA baseball poll http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150420/DM03/150429963 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150420/DM03/150429963 Mon, 20 Apr 2015 12:04:34 -0400 By Tom Bragg CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Charleston Daily Mail Prep Baseball Poll for the week of April 20, 2015.

Class AAA (first place votes in parenthesis)

Team Record Points Last Week

1. Nitro (4) 10-2 68 1

2. Jefferson (1) 15-1 58 3

3. Ripley 13-3 51 4

4. Hurricane (1) 11-4 50 2

5. George Washington 10-1 40 6

6. Logan 13-3 31 7

7. South Charleston 10-4 30 5

8. Huntington 9-6 11 9

9. Wheeling Park 5-7 10 8

10. St. Albans 10-7 9 t10

Also receiving votes: Washington, University, Morgantown, Woodrow Wilson, Hampshire, Parkersburg South, Brooke.

Class AA (first place votes in parenthesis)

Team Record Points Last Week

1. Chapmanville (5) 14-2 68 1

2. Bridgeport (2) 9-0 65 2

3. PikeView 11-2 55 3

4. East Fairmont 13-5 45 4

5. Fairmont Senior 5-2 39 6

6. Wayne 13-4 34 8

7. Independence 8-5 30 7

8. Sissonville 11-7 20 6

9. Roane County 6-6 11 9

10. Liberty (Raleigh) 9-6 6 10

Also receiving votes: Ritchie County, Braxton County, Lincoln, Ravenswood.

Class A (first place votes in parenthesis)

Team Record Points Last Week

1. Notre Dame (4) 8-3 67 2

2. Man (3) 7-5 61 1

3. Charleston Catholic 8-6 41 4

4. St. Marys 8-4 38 4

5. Buffalo 9-5 30 3

6. Paden City 7-1 28 9

7. Bishop Donahue 4-5 25 6

t8. Parkersburg Catholic 7-3 22 8

t8. Pendleton County 13-4 22 NR

10. Moorefield 8-3 21 10

Also receiving votes: Gilmer County, Wahama, Fayetteville, Wheeling Central, Clay-Battelle.

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Burdette steps into leadership role for Bison softball team http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150419/DM03/150419200 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150419/DM03/150419200 Sun, 19 Apr 2015 22:01:58 -0400 By Derek Taylor BUFFALO, W.Va. - Ali Burdette remained a steady if relatively silent force for Buffalo's softball team in the course of winning Class A state championships in each of her first three years on the roster.

Also a three-time All-State selection by the West Virgnia Sports Writers Association, Burdette led the Bison to another Best of the Best Tournament championship in the Class AA-A Division on Saturday to improve the team's record to 14-2. Buffalo beat Chapmanville 1-0 in the semifinals before topping Wayne 3-0 to win the title.

In the process of these wins, however, Burdette showed that she has moved into the undisputed role of team leader, and not one that leads purely by example.

"Before, of course we had Chelsey as more of a leader for Ali," Buffalo coach Darrell Moore said of former Bison All-State pitcher/infielder and current West Virginia State University freshman Chelsey Parkins, who formed the front half of an imposing 1-2 pitching punch for the Bison in the past three seasons.

"This year, Ali has just stepped up tremendously with the young kids and our second pitcher, she's working with her too," Moore said. "She's just a different mold of a girl who's come out of her shell her senior year."

Burdette, who has committed to continue her softball career at Marshall in 2016, brought Olivia Dunn home to score the game's only run against Chapmanville with a sixth-inning single. She got the win in the game as well, throwing seven innings and allowing three hits without walking a batter.

Burdette struck out eight. She said that the change in her role as the junior half of an All-State pitching duo to one of command has been aided by the program's recent postseason successes.

Buffalo is aiming for its fifth consecutive Class A state title overall. Only Wheeling Central, which won seven Class A crowns in a row from 1995-2001, has had a longer streak of softball championships.

"The state championship puts a lot of pressure on people," Burdette said. "I think this season, it's going to be pressure the whole entire time because we want to fill those spots (left by graduation) or try to move people around so we can make it to the championship game again this year. So, I think that's what's really prepared me."

Burdette, who along with Parkins was named the Class A All-State captain in 2014, got the win in the deciding game of the 2013 state tournament, beating Moorefield. She entered the 2015 season with a career record of 38-7 with 384 strikeouts and an ERA under 1.00, and her batting statistics have been no less impressive. In her first three seasons Burdette had 99 RBI, 12 home runs, 35 doubles, seven triples, stole 51 bases and hit just over .500.

The trends established by those numbers have continued into her senior season. Burdette is 11-0 with a 0.03 ERA and 121 strikeouts in 2015 while hitting .641 with two homers and 21 RBI.

In fact, Chapmanville freshman leadoff hitter Mackenzie McCann was Burdette's 500th career strikeout victim.

"She's having a magnificant year," Moore said. "I kind of worried about how things would be with us being this young, but Ali's really been impressive."

But leadership is a different animal than raw production. Burdette said that while she certainly aims to maintain the statistical leadership she's provided since 2012, her focus has been primarily on bringing along Buffalo's younger and less-experienced players.

"I think what helped in winning all those state championships was chemistry," Burdette said. "We played with each other in little league and we were so close. With a lot of these younger kids coming up we just have to build up that chemistry again to have that bond that we've had in the past couple years."

Shutting out Wayne is no easy task. In fact, it was senior pitcher Courtney Allen who beat the 2014 Region 4 runner-up Pioneers, holding them to one hit in the title game Saturday evening.

Parkins is not the only former Buffalo standout who grabbed a diploma last spring. All-State outfielder Katie Higginbotham is now a freshman playing at West Liberty. There are nine freshmen on Buffalo's roster of 19 players.

It is a significanlty different look for the Bison in comparison to recent seasons, but Burdette appears to have matters under control.

"It's a lot different, but I want to try to be a role model for the younger kids," she said. "I want to try to be a leader out there and do the best I can."

Buffalo returns to action at 5:30 p.m. on Monday at home against Ravenswood.

Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at derek.taylor@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter at @ItsreallyDT.

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Hurricane baseball team finding championship form http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150419/DM03/150419207 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150419/DM03/150419207 Sun, 19 Apr 2015 21:39:17 -0400 By Rich Stevens CHARLESTON, W.Va. - There is a perception - misguided as it might be - that the state's defending Class AAA state high school baseball champion isn't playing up to par.

Hurricane owned a 107-23 record from 2011-14, an average of 26.8 wins and 5.8 losses per season and winning percentage of .823.

The Redskins have four losses in 15 games so far in 2015, completing a 2-1 weekend at the Ed Carter Memorial - quite possibly the first one contested without a weather interruption in its seven years.

"I'm not saying we're there yet," Hurricane coach Brian Sutphin said, "but we had to face some adversity, some guys had to step up. We look like we're starting to generate some team offense. There was some good stuff there."

The games were all but played without senior J.T. Rogoszewski, the starting pitcher against George Washington and a first-team All-State utility player in 2014. He had one at-bat and pitched one inning in games against George Washington, Wheeling Park and Logan.

The Patriots' third batter - senior Connor Moffatt - drilled a pitch that hit Rogoszewski in the right hand. He completed the out and used just three pitches to finish the inning, but didn't return, leaving the facility to receive X-rays on his hand. The images didn't show a fracture, although more tests on his hand are expected Monday.

Rogoszewski, who is headed to North Carolina to play baseball, is batting .487, with one strikeout and has a 1.32 ERA in 16 innings.

Hurricane went on to defeat George Washington, 5-1, scoring all earned runs in five innings against pitcher Joe Wong (1.00 ERA in 18 innings entering the game). The Redskins followed that with a 4-1 loss to Wheeling Park and senior ace Michael Grove - a WVU commit and first-team All-State outfielder in 2014 - and a 4-2 victory over Logan and against ace Zach Minnick, an All-State catcher who is also the No. 1 pitcher for the 12-3 Wildcats.

While Hurricane is still fitting some pieces, one constant has been senior catcher Tate Brock.

The WVU signee is batting. 459 with team-highs in walks (16), doubles (9), RBI (15) and runs (14).

"I'm just going out and having fun," said Brock, whose career-high batting average was .376 in 2013. "I'm already signed to play, there's no pressure, I'm out here with these guys, I'm relaxed. I'm simplifying things and it's working out pretty well. Pitches are like a beach ball coming."

Another significant element to Hurricane's success is the defense of shortstop Trey Dawson. On Saturday, the senior and LSU signee went to his right in the hole on the grass at St. Albans' Loftis Field to throw out a runner. On another play he charged a slow grounder and got the out.

In 54 chances, Dawson has one error in 15 games. Last season, Dawson had 12 errors in 36 games, or one every three contests.

"I bet at least half of those were throwing errors," Dawson said. "I've gotten a lot stronger than last year. You have to have the arm strength when firing to first base. I take tons of ground balls every day."

Offensively, Dawson has struggled with a .233 batting average and only six hits.

While he's trying to stay back in the batter's box and not put too much pressure on himself, his offense hasn't adversely affected his glove.

"I don't take my bat to the field," Dawson said.

n n n

SUTPHIN FACED deja vu on Friday when Rogoszewski took a batted ball off his pitching hand.

"When he was a sophomore, we thought he had a chance to be our best guy (eventually)," Sutphin said. "We went to the beach and he's going to pitch the last game before we leave because we're out of pitching. The third hitter of the game hits a line drive off his right hand."

On Friday?

"I was like, 'Not again.' We weren't as worried (in 2013), maybe because he wasn't as important as he is now."

Sutphin said he expects Rogoszewski to be fine.

n n n

JEFFERSON coach John Lowery, a member of the West Virginia Baseball Coaches' Association Hall of Fame, recorded his 1,200th coaching victory with his team's doubleheader sweep of Moorefield on Saturday.

The wins improve the Cougars to 15-1 as the program continues the quest for its 11th state championship.

The Cougars have won two state titles since Jefferson County's population boom forced the 2007 addition of Washington High School, which became the primary school for many of Jefferson High's incoming athletes.

According to the National Federation of High Schools, Lowery's victory total ranks him third all-time among national high school baseball coaches and first among active coaches.

Lowery is in his 45th season as head coach at Jefferson.

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstevens@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4837. Follow him on Twitter @richdailymail.

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Hurricane's Gordon becomes one of Class AAA's top runners http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150419/DM03/150419209 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150419/DM03/150419209 Sun, 19 Apr 2015 21:37:10 -0400

By NICK BROCKMAN

FOR THE DAILY MAIL

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Not all cross country runners translate to successful track athletes or vice versa, though Hurricane's Anna Gordon holds that one trait that breeds success in either sport.

Gordon earned All-State honors during her freshman cross country season and now, a sophomore, she ranks first in Class AAA, according to www.runwv.com, in both the 400-meter run and 800. It's all thanks to one important characteristic.

"Flat out speed," Redskins coach Jason Henley said. "Anna's just an extraordinary talent. She's just got some really, really good wheels."

While Gordon excels at the 5K cross country distance, it's the middle distance track events where she makes her mark for reigning Class AAA state champion Hurricane.

"She does better in situations like that where it's all go and all go pretty quickly," Henley said.

Gordon won the 400 at Friday's Semper Fi Invitational held at the University of Charleston's Laidley Field. She entered as the only girls runner in the state to post a sub-60-second time in the event this season. Winfield junior M.E. Zulauf narrowly broke the 60-second barrier at 59.92 to finish runner-up, but Gordon improved upon her season-best time by a second with a winning time of 58.73 seconds.

"I know there are a lot of other girls capable of doing that," Gordon said of her competitors shooting to break 60 seconds. "I've got a lot of room for improvement."

Gordon did not run in the 800 at Friday's Semper Fi Invitational, but she began the week with the state's top time in the event.

"The 800 has always been my best event through middle school and last year and this year," Gordon said. "I'm working on the 400, too, so I am hoping I'll be just as strong in that as I will be the 8."

Beyond her signature events, Gordon has also run individually in the 200 and as part of several relay teams, including Hurricane's state-leading 4x200 and 4x800 relays. At the state meet, athletes are limited to four events, though.

"She could be anywhere from 200 to 800 and on three different relays," Henley said, "so she's a big-time player for us right now."

Gordon takes her cues from Henley as well as one of Henley's former athletes in Andy Bailey, who assists the Hurricane program. As a senior at St. Albans under Henley's direction, Bailey won the Class AAA 800 and set a new state record - later broken by Cabell Midland's Jacob Burcham - with his performance in 2010. Like Gordon, Bailey excelled at cross country and track, with success in events of varying distances.

"Andy was a very similar kind of person," Henley said. "Back when I coached at St. Albans, we would put him in sprint relays. He was on our 4x2, we would put him in the 200 sometimes. He ran the 4, the 8. He was always on our 4x8. We're taking a very similar approach with (Gordon) right now."

In addition to the natural gift of speed, Henley said an inherent aerobic ability provides Gordon the base for her success, regardless of the specific event's distance.

"Kids that are naturally fast, the thing that limits them in their races isn't their speed a lot of times, but it's their ability to carry their speed over the distance that you need them to carry it, and she doesn't struggle with that."

At 5-foot-9, Gordon uses a long stride and that plays a significant role as she races toward the finish.

"I think my kick is my biggest strength, because no matter how tired I am I feel like I'll always have a strong kick at the end," she said. "I'm not saying I have a bad start or middle, but the end is my biggest strength."

Henley said he agreed Gordon finds no difficulty in finishing her runs.

"We haven't come across a race yet where she hasn't been able to find that extra gear in the last 180, 190 meters when it matters, when you want to lay it down and come home," he said.

With Gordon and her teammates seeking new heights and faster times, the Redskins plan to finish in the same position as last season - on top.

"We're hoping we'll be able to accomplish what we did last year," Gordon said.

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Wirt rebounds against Wahama at Best of the Best http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150416/DM03/150419361 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150416/DM03/150419361 Thu, 16 Apr 2015 22:54:05 -0400 By Derek Taylor BUFFALO, W.Va. - The top regular season tournament in West Virginia prep softball is Buffalo High School's Best of the Best, but it took some capitalizing on a string of defensive miscues for Wirt County to win the Class AA-A Division opener Thursday as the Tigers topped Wahama 9-5.

Wirt (8-2) entered the fifth inning trailing the White Falcons 5-1, but six Wahama (4-6) errors in the inning allowed eight unearned runs to cross the plate and provide the game with its final score.

"We've been in some games where we've had a lead and when we could have put the team away we kind of let up and let them get back in it a little bit," Wirt coach Aaron Hill said. "So we've preached and preached and preached that the ballgame, unless the umpire says it's over, is seven innings long.

"That's what I told the girls in the fifth inning. I said, 'How long's the ballgame,' they said, 'Seven innings.' so I said, 'That's right, so we're still in this.' I thought they really stepped it up and started making solid contact and got more focused on defense at that point."

Play in the Class AA-A Division continued through the evening Thursday, and the Class AAA Division will participate in pool play on Friday. The top four teams in each division will enter into a single-elimination tournament on Saturday.

Wirt hung a loss on Wahama starting pitcher Cynthia Hendrick without earning a run in the opener. Tigers third baseman Maddy Hardbarger opened the fifth inning by reaching on an error before Stone Cheuvront flied out to left field, and then Wirt's next two hitters - Katie Tichnell and Skylar Bogan - reached on errors before first baseman Kayla Randolph hit the first of a pair of two-run doubles the Tigers got from their lineup in the inning. Nikki Richards followed with the second such hit after Cami Winnell drew a walk.

"When the wheels fall off, as they say, a lot of people try to put them back on. We have a tendency to kick them on down the hill," Wahama first-year coach Matt VanMeter said. "It just snowballs. Girls who normally don't make errors were making errors, and you can't beat a good team like that making errors."

Wahama made nine of them in the loss, but early in the game appeared to be playing a better all-around game as the Falcons staked themselves to a 5-1 lead. A single by designated player Olivia Hill in the first inning helped give Wahama a 2-0 lead before Wirt came to bat, and a three-run fourth inning was highlighted by a two-run double by Falcons No. 9 hitter Amara Helton.

But when Wirt shortstop Jessi Lockhart was moved into the pitcher's circle to start the fifth inning, Wahama's run-scoring turns at bat ended. Lockhart picked up the win by pitching three innings of shutout ball, and gave up just a pair of singles.

"We're fortunate in that we've got two or three girls that are able to pitch on the varsity level," Aaron Hill said. "They're all a little different, and I think just that change in delivery and change in speed with Jessi kind of helped us out defensively, definitely."

Courtney Casto started for Wirt, and gave up three earned runs in four innings before yielding to Lockhart.

Hill said his team looked forward to the rest of the weekend, which also serves as a bit of a Class A Region 4 mixer. Buffalo, Wirt and Wahama all are Region 4 teams, as is Williamstown, which played Class AA Chapmanville later on Thursday.

"I told the girls from the beginning of the season when we knew we were coming down here that this tournament is called the Best of the Best, you know. You're going to get good competition down here," Hill said. "We haven't played a really legitimate softball game in two weeks because of the weather and it's tough to get into a groove when you do that, but this will help."

Richards finished with three RBI for the Tigers, while Olivia Hill was 2 for 4 at the plate for Wahama.

Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at derek.taylor@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter at @ItsreallyDT.

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Roundup: Dotson, Herbert Hoover thump Lincoln County http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150416/DM03/150419363 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150416/DM03/150419363 Thu, 16 Apr 2015 22:47:49 -0400 Staff Reports CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Senior Shaun Dotson helped guide Herbert Hoover to a 10-1 victory over Lincoln County at home in baseball Thursday with a solid performance both hitting and pitching.

Dotson got the win, going five innings, allowing one run on four hits with six strikeouts and one walk while also collecting a double, triple, and two RBI at the plate for Hoover (4-8).

Also for the Huskies, Zach Callen drove in three runs, Matt Justice and Joel Ridenour each had two RBI, and Chase Stover had three hits. Jake Reynolds had two hits to lead Lincoln County (4-6).

In softball action:

Buffalo 16, St. Marys 0 — Bison pitcher Ali Burdette threw three perfect innings from the mound, striking out eight without allowing a hit or walking a batter, as Buffalo downed the Blue Devils at home.

From the plate, Burdette also went 3 for 3 with a double and three RBI, while Bison (11-2) catcher Chase Christy added 4 RBI and Brooke Persinger drove in three.

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Boggess pitches Sissonville baseball past Buffalo http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150416/DM03/150419369 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150416/DM03/150419369 Thu, 16 Apr 2015 22:01:41 -0400

By NICK BROCKMAN

FOR THE DAILY MAIL

BUFFALO, W.Va. - Sissonville starting pitcher Zac Boggess rolled through the Buffalo lineup without much pause leading the Indians to an 8-1 win at Buffalo on Thursday evening.

Boggess, a sophomore, tossed a complete game, as he allowed just three hits and struck out a career-high 11 batters in leading fifth-ranked Class AA Sissonville (11-6) past Class A No. 3 Buffalo (8-4).

"I tell you what, that's the best he's thrown all year bar none," Sissonville coach Steve Pickerell said of Boggess. "Of course, it's hard to throw a little bit better than that."

Boggess faced little trouble in working through the Bison batting order. Boggess did not allow a base runner until the fourth inning; Buffalo did not collect a hit until two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning.

"I felt really in control today," Boggess said. "I felt really, I would say, as best as I've ever felt before pitching. I felt really well."

Boggess quickly worked to get ahead of the Buffalo batters by keeping the ball in the strike zone early in the at-bat, relying on his fastball and change-up.

"What he did do is he got ahead of hitters," Bison coach Jimmy Tribble said. "That's the secret to pitching.

"As Jim Lett would say, the best pitch in baseball is the first-pitch strike, because once you get a first-pitch strike, then you start working them, so he was ahead of the hitters all night long, and that's caused most of the problem. We're hitting 0-2, 1-2 and then you get defensive and you tighten up."

When Boggess did face pressure, he buckled down. After allowing Buffalo's first hit, Boggess quickly rebounded to retire the next Bison batter and leave the bases loaded. In the fourth inning, Boggess recovered to retire three consecutive batters after the first two hitters reached via error and a sacrifice bunt, which resulted in a fielder's choice.

"I just try to not let it affect me," Boggess said of pitching with runners on base. "(I) just go out there and pitch every single time like there's nobody on and stay focused on the batter."

Sissonville provided Boggess with plenty of support, but did so across the game utilizing "small ball" strategy, with contact, stolen bases and moving runners with productive outs.

"We'll bunt some, we'll hit and run, just whatever it takes to get a couple runs in and put the pressure on the other team," Pickerell said.

The Indians scored twice in the third, before adding three runs in the fifth inning to take a 5-0 lead. Sissonville later scored two runs in the sixth and another in the seventh.

Despite the loss, Tribble said he found positives in the young Buffalo team's play.

"I told them after the game I wasn't disappointed," Tribble said. "We're very young, but I've told them we're not going to use that as an excuse. It's still a game of baseball regardless of your age and you have the ability to learn every game, every game, mentally to learn the game, so that's our goal. Our goal is to come out - we got beat tonight, but did we do some things better than we did the other night? Yes, we did."

Buffalo next plays at Capital 6 p.m. today, while Sissonville visits Herbert Hoover 6 p.m. today.

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Laton making noise for St. Albans baseball team http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150415/DM03/150419480 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150415/DM03/150419480 Wed, 15 Apr 2015 22:42:00 -0400 By Chris Wade CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Some people celebrate an accomplishment with a special treat such as dinner at their favorite restaurant.

For St. Albans senior baseball standout Mitchell Laton, he celebrates by feasting on opposing pitchers.

Last week, Laton signed with the University of Charleston to continue his baseball career, and in the Red Dragons' next two games, the St. Albans catcher hit three home runs, including two in one game.

"He has been seeing the ball really well and hitting the ball hard," St. Albans coach Rick Whitman said. "He is doing what he hoped he would do. He is leading the team in home runs and RBI."

Laton officially signed with UC on April 7, and just two days later, the 17-year old hit two home runs against Cabell Midland, including one that had the town abuzz. Then two days later, Laton hit another home run against Point Pleasant.

"The people that were here, they said the first home run was one of the hardest balls hit out of St. Albans," Laton said. "There was some gossip going around a little bit. I had some people come up to me at school. It was an honor."

Whitman has been very impressed with Laton.

"It's happened a few times but it doesn't happen very often, that's for sure," said Whitman, of the two home run game. "The Cabell Midland game, he went 3-4 with two home runs and a double. His out was a deep fly out. It was a good effort from him."

With his recent power-hitting spree, Laton now has four on the season - as many as he had all of last season - tying him with Nitro's Matt Harrison for the Kanawha Valley lead.

Laton has a team-high 22 RBI and is one of the Valley's top hitters with a .458 batting average (22-for-48). He has hit six doubles and has walked nine times opposed to just four strikeouts in 58 plate appearances for St. Albans, which has won nine of his first 14 games.

Laton has failed to get a hit in only two games this season.

"We weren't expected to be this good or have such a good record at this point but honestly we aren't surprised," Laton said. "It is nice being an underdog, and catching people off guard."

Laton has increased his productivity dramatically over his four seasons at St. Albans, especially as a jack of all trades.

He didn't play at all as a freshman and played in only four games as a sophomore in the outfield. Laton switched positions to middle infield, where he played all of last year as a junior, and as a senior, once again, moved around the diamond to catcher.

Whitman has been impressed with Laton's versatility.

"He is the type of kid what will do whatever you ask him to do and whatever to help the team win," Whitman said. "It is good to have those types of kids. It is good to see him have so much success."

The switching of positions has been difficult for Laton, but worthwhile as well.

"I like it a lot because I can adapt and play pretty much anywhere," Laton said. "Each year I have to adapt more and more but it helps me focus because I have a lot more on my shoulders.

"Last year when I played middle infield, I hadn't played it since I was 11. That was something new for me but I think I adapted well. I hadn't caught since Little League. It has been a while and has been a little different to grasp but I've always been able to hit pretty well."

Laton isn't sure where he'll play in college, but believes his versatility gives him a better opportunity to produce, and is looking forward to playing at UC.

"I'm going to be an Eagle and I am excited and looking forward to seeing what this game holds for me and what the future is like playing baseball," he said. "Coach (Lee Bradley) isn't sure if I am going to catch or not. He thinks he can play me anywhere. It's just wherever I fit in."

Whitman believes Laton is ready.

"He is definitely ready to hit in college," Whitman said. "Where he will end up playing, I don't know, but he is going to help them swinging the bat. Any time the more versatile you are at that level, the more opportunities he will have to get on the field."

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Roundup: GW baseball tops Huntington http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150415/DM03/150419481 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150415/DM03/150419481 Wed, 15 Apr 2015 22:41:23 -0400 CHARLESTON, W.Va.— Junior Druw Bowen threw six scoreless innings and every George Washington starter had a hit as the Patriots remained unbeaten with a 4-2 victory over Huntington (8-6) at Cook-Holbrook Field.

The game, moved from GW’s Floyd B. Wilcox Field to Huntington’s turf surface, saw the Patriots improve to 7-0 with two hits each from Ben Arthur and Bowen, who transferred from Valley (Fayette). Jeff Wong, Michael Susman and Clayton Anderson had RBI for the Patriots.

Hurricane 14, Parkersburg 7 — Hurricane senior catcher Tate Brock continued his torrid start, getting three hits with a triple and two RBI to help the visiting Redskins outslug the Big Reds (2-5).

Brock, who has struck out just once this season in 39 plate appearances, is batting .440 with a team-leading 11 RBI. J.T. Rogoszewski had two hits and an RBI and Keith Wilson, Justin Crouch and Nate Dunham knocked in two runs apiece for the Redskins (9-3).

Aiden Wilkinson, Colby Bennett and Max Chefren each had two hits for Parkersburg. Bennett had two RBI for the Big Reds.

Charleston Catholic 1, Wahama 0 — Dominic Marsico and Sam McKown teamed up to fire a no-hitter as the Irish (7-5) won a tough pitcher’s duel on the road. Marsico (1-1) worked four innings to earn the win.

Catholic scratched across the game’s only run in the top of the seventh inning on a one-out RBI single by Trae Swisher that plated catcher David Hamilton.

Wahama sophomore starter Philip Hoffman went the distance, striking eight batters and walking three in the loss.

Catholic will host Man at Triana Field Thursday at 6 p.m. in a makeup game previously delayed by inclement weather.

In softball Wednesday:

Roane County 11 — 21, Calhoun County 0 — 1 — The Raiders (12-2) pounded out 19 hits and plated 32 runs in sweeping a home double-header against the Red Devils.

In the first game, Hailey Sloan led the way with a pair of double and six RBI, while Olivia Mace and Kristen Blosser knocked in single runs. Blosser also picked up the win, scattering three hits and striking out seven batters in three innings.

In the nightcap, Haley Gibson collected three RBI, while Blosser and Ashton Rexroad had two RBI apiece.

Calhoun dropped to 1-8.

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Buffalo baseball team tops Cross Lanes Christian http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150414/DM03/150419593 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150414/DM03/150419593 Tue, 14 Apr 2015 22:34:45 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Nick Whittington had 10 strikeouts and four walks as the Buffalo High School baseball team avenged one of its three losses with a 4-3 victory over visiting Cross Lanes Christian on Tuesday.

Brandon Buntura was 2-for-3 with an RBI and Dillon Williams added two hits with a double.

Whittington went the distance as Buffalo improved to 9-3.

In softball action:

Buffalo 11-10, Charleston Catholic 0-0 - Buffalo earned a doubleheader sweep of the visiting Irish with a pair of superb pitching performances.

In the first game, which lasted three innings, senior Allie Burdette fired a no-hitter in striking out six of the nine batters she faced.

Burdette also had two RBI for Buffalo, as did Brooke Persinger, Taylor Briscoe and Catlyn Rasnake.

Bison pitcher Courtney Allen was equally impressive in the nightcap, also firing a three-inning, no-hitter.

Allen finished with two hits, including a double, while Christy added a pair of RBI. Kaela Cobb, Baileigh Tucker and Persinger each contributed doubles and an RBI.

Buffalo improved to 10-2 with the wins.

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Hurricane softball team blanks Cabell Midland http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150414/DM03/150419596 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150414/DM03/150419596 Tue, 14 Apr 2015 22:14:35 -0400 By Chris Wade HURRICANE, W.Va. - A win is a win, no matter if it's by one run or a mercy-rule victory.

For Hurricane, while the wins have been plentiful this season, mercy rules have been the norm, and the Redskins earned another one, defeating Cabell Midland 10-0 victory in high school softball action Tuesday evening.

In the four-inning win, Hurricane (13-2) pounded out 11 hits and scored four runs in the first and second innings to set the tone. All of the nine Redskin batters reached base and four players had multiple hits.

On the season, Hurricane has outscored its opponents 133-18 and have earned 10 mercy-rule victories. The Redskins have scored at least 10 runs in nine different games, including a six-game stretch earlier in the season that saw them outscore the opposition 73-1.

"We are a little bit used to it," Hurricane catcher Katie Adams said. "These games are lots of fun. I like the close games too, but it is nice to not have to worry about the result."

"All throughout our lineup, we have had production," Hurricane coach Josh Caldwell said. "Even the seven, eight, and nine, we have had it all and when we put it together like that, we are going to be tough to beat."

While everyone reached base at least once for Hurricane, the bottom of the lineup was the most productive with the bottom five combining for seven of the eight RBI.

Amber Null and Emily Davis had a RBI, while the No. 7 hitter in the Redskin lineup, Maddie Hebb, drove in two runs. Adams, the No. 8 batter, led the way with three RBI while Paige Scruggs also drove in a run.

"It is kind of the roll of the dice with our lineup," Caldwell said. "Our bottom half, I have just as much faith as our top half. You could put our 7, 8, 9 in some people's 1, 2, 3. That is good for us."

Caldwell has been especially impressed with Adams, a sophomore, who has started the past two seasons at catcher.

"When she swings the bat, and she has been lately, she is tough," Caldwell said. "She hit the ball hard tonight. She is strong and has done a great job. She's a great catcher and has had a great sophomore year. She is playing really well."

Adams doesn't mind hitting in the eight hole, and indicated that Hurricane's success has been a total team effort.

"I don't think there is a big difference throughout our lineup," Adams said. "I am No. 8 and it is good to have all nine producing runs and RBI."

In the first inning, after the first two Hurricane batters were retired, the next seven reached base, scoring four runs in the frame to take a 4-0 lead.

Cassi Sargeant singled, Courtney Rogers walked, Null singled, and Davis walked to score the first run of the game. The big blow of the inning came when Hebb hit a two-run single and Adams followed with a RBI single.

In the second inning, the Redskins scored their first of four runs on an error, and then Davis hit a RBI double, and Adams once again delivered with a single, driving in two more runs to give Hurricane a commanding 8-0 lead.

The Redskins walked off with the win by plating their final two runs in the fourth inning. Scruggs hit an RBI double and with the bases loaded, Jayme Bailey cleared the bases with a hit to the wall, but only the first run to score was awarded, signaling the mercy rule.

While the Hurricane offense has been on a tear of late, Davis did a solid job on the mound as well. Last week, she threw a no-hitter in a 10-0 three inning win over St. Albans, and against Cabell Midland Tuesday, only allowed three hits, two to Olivia Canterbury.

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St. Albans' Laton to play baseball at UC http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150414/DM03/150419630 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150414/DM03/150419630 Tue, 14 Apr 2015 17:21:18 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

St. Albans senior Mitchell Laton will become another catcher in a long line of West Virginia high school backstops to play at the University of Charleston, signing a letter of intent to continue his college career with coach Lee Bradley and the Golden Eagles.

Laton had just seven at-bats as a sophomore and hit .291 last season. However, through 13 games this year Laton is batting a team-best .457 among St. Albans regulars, with team highs in home runs (4) and RBI (22). Last season, Laton struck out 25 times and walked only 14, but has struck out just four times to eight walks this season as the Red Dragons are off to a 9-4 start.

The Golden Eagles (10-20, 7-19 Mountain East Conference) have four catchers on their roster, including junior starter and former Winfield star Zach Gunter, freshman and former Logan standout Benji Adkins, and freshman and former St. Marys player John Riggs.

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Wheeling's Bernie Dolan to head SSAC http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150414/DM03/150419683 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150414/DM03/150419683 Tue, 14 Apr 2015 11:06:37 -0400 By Rich Stevens CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Ohio County Board of Education assistant superintendent Bernie Dolan has rapidly moved up the administrative ladder of his home county.

Now, the former high school principal will be moving to Parkersburg.

Dolan was named on Tuesday as the executive director of the Parkersburg-based West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission, replacing Gary Ray, who plans to retire in January after serving as executive director since August 2007. The announcement was made during Tuesday's SSAC Board of Directors meeting at Stonewall Resort in Roanoke.

"I'm really excited to get started," Dolan said. "I still have a lot of work to do in the job I have until June 30. It's one of those things where you think you know a lot about the job until you get into it. There's going to be a lot to learn, but the experience I bring and having Gary there will allow us to work through it."

Dolan played football and was a discus state champion as a senior at the track and field championships before graduating from Wheeling Park High School in 1979. He earned his bachelor's degree from West Virginia University in 1984 and returned to Wheeling Park, where he served as a math teacher, driver education instructor and technology coordinator. He earned his master's degree in safety and environmental engineering from WVU in 1995 and an administrative certificate from Salem International University in 2001.

He served as assistant principal and athletic director at Wheeling Park from 2002-08 and was named principal in 2008. Four years later, he was hired assistant superintendent in the county.

Dolan also was an integral member of the Wheeling Super Six committee and has been the director of the state high school golf tournament since it moved to Wheeling's Oglebay Resort in 2002.

Wheeling Island Stadium has served as the site of the state high school football championship games since 1994. Its contract with the Super Six expires after the 2015 championships in December, but Wheeling is expected to put in another bid for a three-year contract that would include one option year. Just one other city, Princeton, put in a 2012 bid to host the Super Six.

Beginning June 30, Dolan will assume the responsibilities of assistant executive director Butch Powell, whose retirement will take effect on that date. Dolan will begin as executive director upon Ray's retirement in January.

"Gary has done an excellent job, is a good communicator and makes himself available," Dolan said. "We're in a pretty good position right now and ready to move into a different direction in some areas. We have to continue to improve the website and work on getting up to speed with Twitter and social media to get information out on a quicker basis."

Dolan will be the ninth person to serve as the commission's head since the position was created in 1946. Formerly referred to as executive secretary, William Fugitt, Gordon Eisman, Sam Williams, Bill Hanlin, Jim Hamrick, Warren Carter, Mike Hayden and Ray have served in that capacity.

According to sources, Parkersburg South athletic director and assistant principal Rick Leach, Tyler Consolidated principal Kent Yoho and Jackson County director of secondary schools Jim Mahan were among the candidates interviewed for the position.

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Winfield's Gray to run cross country, track at UC http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150413/DM03/150419712 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150413/DM03/150419712 Mon, 13 Apr 2015 23:15:28 -0400

from staff reports

Winfield senior Brian Gray will sign a national letter of intent to run cross country and track at the University of Charleston.

The ceremony is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday in the school's auxiliary gymnasium.

Gray ran an 8:28.10 at the 2014 state cross country championships at Cabell Midland in November.

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St. Albans baseball team routs Capital http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150413/DM03/150419718 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150413/DM03/150419718 Mon, 13 Apr 2015 22:47:49 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - St. Albans broke open a close game, scoring six runs in the fourth inning to pull away from Capital for a 12-2 mercy-rule victory at Loftis Field in high school baseball action Monday evening.

The big hit in the decisive inning for the Red Dragons (9-4) came from No. 8 hitter Brandon Johnson, who hit a towering three-run homer with two outs over the left field fence after St. Albans had already plated three runs in the frame.

"Any time you hit a three run homer, it's always a big blow," St. Albans coach Rick Whitman said. "That was a kind of the point of the game where we could breathe a little easier than we had been able to."

St. Albans scored in every inning, plating solo runs in the first, second, and third innings before exploding for six runs in the fourth, adding another in the fifth and finally two more in the sixth inning.

Eight of the nine batters reached base for the Red Dragons. Peter Theodos and Michael Tucker each had two RBI for St. Albans, while Bobby Grishaber reached base all five times at plate.

Huntington 14, Winfield 8 - Winfield and Huntington combined for five home runs in windy conditions on the hill in Huntington, but it was the host Highlanders who piled up 15 hits against the Generals (4-6).

Myles Robertson had three hits and four RBI for the Highlanders (8-5), while Chase Ashworth had two hits, a homer, and three RBI. Jack Brunetti and Andrew Zban also homered for Huntington.

Bryan Bosley and Casey Frye homered for the Generals.

South Harrison 14, Webster County 4 - The Hawks (4-3) rallied from a 3-0 Webster County lead in the bottom of the third to run away with a 14-4 decision over the next four innings at home Monday night. Dakota Jarrett hit two doubles and drove in four, Nate Fernandez also hit a double and drove in two, as South Harrison earned their third win in the last four games.

For the Highlanders (1-4), Evan Wayne drove in two runs, while Tyler Miller and Franklin McCourt each added an RBI.

In softball action:

Hurricane 10, Spring Valley 0 - Hurricane's (12-2) Courtney Rogers gave up four hits and no runs in five innings of work to earn the win at home. Hurricane offense capitalized in the fourth inning scoring six runs. Amber Null went 2-for-2 with a double and 2RBI. Emily Davis went 2-for-3 with a double and 3RBI. Maddie Hebb also added 3RBI for Hurricane in the win. Spring Valley's Hailey Christopher went 2-for-2.

Winfield 10, Nitro 0 - Winfield (7-7) took just four innings to dispatch Nitro at home. Winfield's Abbie Short did not give up any runs in four innings of work. Short faced the minimum number of batters striking out one. Sydney Houck provided the offense for Winfield going 3-for-3 with three doubles and 4RBI. Emily Moore also went 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Sissonville 12, Poca 1 - The Indians (12-1) scored eight runs in the fourth inning to roll past Poca on the road Monday night. Reagan Johnson tallied a double and three RBI with Abbey Johnson chipping in with two doubles and two RBI to help Sissonville win their 10th-straight win since their season's only to Chapmanville back on March 30.

Casey Skeens lifted a third inning home run for the only run and one of just three hits in the loss for the Dots (5-10).

Parkersburg 7-10, George Washington 4-0 - The Big Reds (9-2) swept their doubleheader against host George Washington, winning a tight 7-4 contest in the first game before running away with run-shortened 10-0 blanking in the second game on Monday night. Kelsey Goots totaled four RBI over the course of the two Parkersburg wins, and added nine strikeouts and five walks in her complete game victory in the first game against the Patriots.

Brittany Allison and Rylee Boggess picked an RBI a piece in the first game, while Baylee Hilling drove in three runs with Kacee Roberts and Katie Hudkins both picking up an RBI in the second game for the Big Reds. For George Washington, Rylee Whiting and Jordan Bell each a double in both losses of the doubleheader.

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Knuckles sparks SC softball comeback http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150413/DM03/150419725 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150413/DM03/150419725 Mon, 13 Apr 2015 22:01:11 -0400 By Michael Dailey As the starting catcher on for the South Charleston High School softball team, junior Kelly Knuckles is a team leader on the diamond.

On Monday evening, Knuckles showed that she's not a bad psychologist either.

After watching Black Eagles starting pitcher Amanda McDonald allow a pair of first-inning runs against Riverside batters, Knuckles turned inspirational speaker before the second inning.

"With all the pitchers and all the players as well, when you see somebody that's down, you always want to tell them 'hey relax, you've got this, you're a great player, you can do it,'" Knuckles said. "This game is 80 percent confidence and 20 percent talent. If you build everybody's confidence then everybody will be great. That's just one thing of going over the mountain, is building Amanda's confidence."

That bolster of confidence was all McDonald needed, who rebounded to finish the game with six straight scoreless innings in leading the South Charleston to a 6-2 road win.

SC and McDonald won their third straight in improving to 8-4, while Riverside saw a four-game win streak snapped in dropping to 12-5.

McDonald allowed a pair of doubles in the first inning, and a single in the second inning, before retiring 15 of the next 16 Riverside hitters from the second to seventh innings.

A fourth-inning error and a two-out single by Lauren Pauley in the seventh were the only Warriors' base runners after the second inning.

"I feel like Amanda relaxed a lot more and I feel like she focused in a lot more as well," said Knuckles of McDonald. "In the first couple of innings, everybody is excited and everybody wants to get the jump on the other team."

McDonald also credited Knuckles for the pep talk.

"I definitely had the team backing me up as far as hitting, our defense was great and my catcher really supported me," said McDonald, who struck out nine batters and had one walk, which was issued to the game's first batter, Chelsea Diegert.

"I went and talked to my catcher and she really helped me. She settles me down anytime I'm in one of those moods or whatever it is, she's there. She helps a lot."

McDonald needed that help after the first inning, in which Diegert reached and advanced to third on a double by shortstop Kendal Marshall. Two batters later, freshman pitcher Gracie Donato smacked a two-out double that made it 2-0 Riverside after one inning.

"I didn't think we came prepared and we can't afford that," said SC coach Annette Olenchick of the sluggish start. "We're not that good yet. We're going to get better, but we're not that good.

"Riverside has a good team and they've got some good hitters. They're solid and they've got some players, but you're not going to come and just throw the glove down and win."

The Black Eagles dented the plate for two runs in the second inning when Jazmine Martin walked and came around to score when a single by Emily Bostic was misplayed in left field. Knuckles followed with an RBI single to tie the score at 2.

The Black Eagles turned a pair of Riverside errors, a passed ball, and an RBI groundout by Lindsay Burdette into a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning, before adding three insurance runs in the fifth.

"I was kind of disappointed," Riverside coach Mike Taylor said. "Right now they're just better than us. They're more experienced, but that's no excuse. We've played 16 ballgames and I really felt like we'd play well, I really did.

"We haven't found a way to come back. We've kind of been front runners. If we're up two or three (runs), before you know it we're up four or five. But when we get down a couple, we haven't found that spark."

SC scored its three runs in the fifth when Kelley Bare led off the inning with a double, followed by a single by Olivia Orcutt-Lazo. Martin doubled home Bare and Orcutt-Lazo, and came around to score on Knuckles' second RBI single of the evening, to close out the scoring.

Orcutt-Lazo led SC with three hits, while Knuckles finished with two hits.

"We've just to get consistent, I think that's the bottom line," Olenchick said. "One day you see us and we're not hitting and making errors, and then the next ... but softball is a funny sport."

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Nitro's Levi Kelly dealing with fame, notoriety http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150413/DM03/150419758 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150413/DM03/150419758 Mon, 13 Apr 2015 19:08:13 -0400 By Rich Stevens Despite the ballyhoo that is enveloping Nitro freshman Levi Kelly, the 6-foot-3 right hander seems to handle the notoriety with uncommon maturity.

Interviews from scouts, college coaches and media have not changed his perspective from a high school ninth grader to that of an self-absorbed superstar.

Make no mistake, Kelly is reaping benefits from his daily conversations outside of the chalk lines.

"I enjoy it, honestly," Kelly said Saturday morning prior to pitching against Hamilton Southeastern (Ill.) in the Super Prep Tournament at Louisville (Ky.) Ballard High School. "(Talking to the media) prepares me better when I talk to coaches and scouts. I'm not stuttering like a 5-year-old."

This could prove - if it is hasn't already - to be a coup for coach Steve Pritchard and the Wildcats.

Nitro dominated what is generally considered the state's strongest Class AAA area, Region 4, from 2007-12 with six straight regional titles, two state tourney championships and two tourney runner-up finishes. However, Cabell Midland (2013) and Hurricane (2014) won the last two regional crowns.

The Redskins - who host Nitro at 7 p.m. on Tuesday - boast three Division I recruits in shortstop Trey Dawson (LSU), pitcher J.T. Rogoszewski (North Carolina) and catcher Tate Brock (WVU) in their quest for a second consecutive title. St. Albans, which happens to be Kelly's town of residence, is off to an 8-4 start. Logan, led by Campbell University signee Zach Minnick, also stands in the way in Region 4.

Then there's Nitro and Kelly, another star on a team that has only two seniors.

Two years ago, Matt Harrison was the Daily Mail's Kanawha Valley Freshman of the Year. Another Nitro junior is Jacob Bradley, the younger brother of Arizona Diamondbacks' 2010 second-round draft pick and 56th overall selection J.R. Bradley.

The team's top college candidate and Major League prospect, however, is the kid who already is considered by some as the nation's best player in the 2018 graduating class.

"The draft is my dream, but you have to take it one step at a time," Kelly said. "The scouts can come but I can't get drafted for three more years. I'm in the college process now. I have to get that out of the way before I start dealing with the draft. The draft will have to be right, because there are some great colleges out there."

Kelly has the benefit of advice from both areas. He talks with J.R. Bradley, who signed with the Diamondbacks for $643,500 five years ago, and North Carolina catcher Korey Dunbar, who was drafted in the 39th round of the 2012 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers, but chose college. Dunbar leads the Tar Heels in batting average (.316).

"It doesn't matter where you are now, he (Bradley) made it," Kelly said. "My goal is to be like him. J.R. is 95-97 (mph on his fastball). I'm 90. I have a way to go. You look at guys like that and you understand that you can make it. He pitched on the same mound and at the same school as I am. He's not from outer space."

He also must deal with similar criticism. Bradley is a native of South Charleston, but chose to attend Nitro as a freshman. Kelly is a St. Albans resident who is attending Nitro as a ninth grader. Secondary School Activities Commission policy permits a student to attend any school at the beginning of the freshman academic year without penalty to his/her athletic eligibility.

Kelly was embraced at Nitro and, for the most part, has received support from former classmates at Hayes Middle School.

"The guys couldn't care less if I'm from Canada," Kelly said of his Nitro teammates. "Some of the guys (at St. Albans) blow me off, but the guys I work with (like Matt Downey) are with me just like they were before. There are some guys who are upset about it, but I understand."

The numbers don't indicate that has affected his preparation. Kelly is 2-0 with a 1.40 earned run average with 24 strikeouts and only four walks in 15 innings.

He has good command of his 90-mph fastball and is working on his changeup in the bullpen, since it sees little game action.

Like the rest of the team - except for Harrison (.552) and Matt Jewell (.357) - he's struggling at the plate. But, it's his dominating right arm that provides Nitro with the potential to win a state title.

That's also what could eventually make him the highest draft pick ever for a high school player in the Kanawha Valley, a title that J.R. Bradley owns.

"I just think of my goal after I have a good game," Kelly said. "I think of my goal and realize that I'm not close to it. You can be the No. 1 pitcher in the nation, but you have to help your team compete. You have to get guys out."

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstevens@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4837. Follow him on Twitter @richdailymail

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Nitro, Chapmanville, Man take top spots in Prep Baseball Poll http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150413/DM03/150419796 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150413/DM03/150419796 Mon, 13 Apr 2015 11:58:53 -0400 By Tom Bragg CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Charleston Daily Mail Prep Baseball Poll for the week of April 13, 2015.

Class AAA (first place votes in parenthesis)

Team Record Points Last Week

1. Nitro (6) 7-2 69 1

2. Hurricane 6-3 53 3

3. Jefferson (1) 10-1 52 2

4. Ripley 9-1 49 4

5. South Charleston 10-3 39 7

6. George Washington 6-0 38 6

7. Logan 9-2 31 5

8. Wheeling Park 2-5 16 8

9. Huntington 8-5 7 NR

t10. Cabell Midland 6-5 5 9

t10. St. Albans 8-4 5 10

t10. Woodrow Wilson 6-6 5 NR

Also receiving votes: Washington, Hampshire, Spring Valley, Parkersburg South, John Marshall.

Class AA (first place votes in parenthesis)

Team Record Points Last Week

1. Chapmanville (7) 11-1 70 1

2. Bridgeport ???? 61 2

3. PikeView 9-2 55 3

4. East Fairmont 8-3 42 5

5. Sissonville 8-5 34 6

6. Fairmont Senior 2-2 31 4

7. Independence 6-4 24 7

8. Wayne 10-3 15 t8

9. Roane County ???? 14 t8

10. Liberty (Raleigh) 8-6 12 NR

Also receiving votes: Ravenswood, Braxton County, Wyoming East, North Marion, Bluefield, Lincoln, Petersburg, Ritchie County.

Class A (first place votes in parenthesis)

Team Record Points Last Week

1. Man (3) 7-3 66 2

2. Notre Dame (4) 5-3 58 1

3. Buffalo 7-3 51 3

4. Charleston Catholic 6-5 35 4

5. St. Marys ???? 31 5

6. Bishop Donahue ???? 29 7

7. Gilmer County ???? 22 6

8. Parkersburg Catholic 5-1 19 8

9. Paden City 7-1 17 NR

10. Moorefield 6-1 13 NR

Also receiving votes: Pendleton County, Fayetteville, Wahama, Magnolia, Wheeling Central, Williamstown.

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South Charleston baseball team putting it together http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150412/DM03/150419819 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150412/DM03/150419819 Sun, 12 Apr 2015 21:18:56 -0400 By Rich Stevens CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Pitching, not hitting, is what will carry at high school baseball team through the postseason.

Fortunately for coach Kenny Samms, his South Charleston Black Eagles have both.

South Charleston became the first Kanawha Valley team to reach 10 victories when it handled Elkins 13-3 on Saturday at Bryan-McElwain Field.

The Black Eagles (10-3) haven’t had to lean on their capable stable of arms because they are hitting .333 as a team with six regulars batting at least .340.

“I thought we could develop some pitching, but it was scoring runs that I was worried about,” said Samms, whose team won the Class AAA state title in 2006, his first season as coach. “When you can’t score runs, it puts pressure on your defense and pitching.”

South Charleston has scored first in eight of its 13 games. In three of the games in which they didn’t score first — vs. Winfield, Pendleton (S.C.), and McBee (S.C.) — the Black Eagles took the lead in the next half-inning.

Senior Antonio Brown hit a solid .356 average last season. Through 13 games this season, he’s batting .476 with five doubles, a home run and 10 RBI. He has walked eight times and struck out only six in 53 plate appearances.

“Baseball is a very humbling game,” Samms said. “You have to be on top of your game mentally or you’re going to fail. I expect this out of that guy. “He started since he was a freshman. He is workout crazy. He’s about 6-foot, 215 pounds and solid as concrete. He loves the game. He works at the game all the time.”

The pitching staff has an earned run average of 2.48 and 104 strikeouts in 84.2 innings.

Among the pleasant surprises has been Jared Hill.

His 1.50 earned run average leads the South Charleston starting staff and he has 18 strikeouts and only six walks in 18.2 innings (.33 per inning).

Last season, he led the team in innings (55) with 54 strikeouts and 32 walks (.58 per inning).

“He never pitched in middle school,” Samms said of Hill, who pitched 12.1 innings as a freshman in 2013 with 15 strikeouts and 14 walks. “He still needs to work on mound presence, but he’s become a pretty good pitcher. Good breaking stuff and comes from a couple different arm slots.”

The Black Eagles will be tested beginning on Tuesday when Woodrow Wilson visits. After a Thursday game against Capital, South Charleston visits Cabell Midland on Friday and hosts rival George Washington on Monday, April 20.

***

The 8th annual Ed Carter Memorial is set for Friday and Saturday at George Washington’s Floyd B. Wilcox Field and St. Albans’ Loftis Field.

The field includes defending Class AAA champion Hurricane, 2014 Class AAA semifinalist Wheeling Park, George Washington, Logan, St. Albans and Parkersburg South.

At 1 p.m. at GW, the Patriots face Hurricane, followed by Hurricane and Wheeling Park, which is scheduled for 4 p.m. The late game is Wheeling Park and George Washington at 7 p.m.

At 1 p.m. at St. Albans, Parkersburg South faces the Red Dragons, followed by Logan-Parkersburg South at 4 and Logan-St. Albans at 7 p.m.

The teams will return on Saturday at Loftis Field with the fifth-place game scheduled for noon, the third-place game at 3 p.m. and the championship at 6 p.m.

The event is played in honor of former St. Albans High School teacher and coach Ed Carter, who died in 2007 at the age of 58 from a myeloid metaplasia, a disorder of the bone marrow. It also benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Pittsburgh with the proceeds going to the cause to help find a cure for the disease.

Cost is $7 for adults and $5 for students.

***

Speaking of St. Albans, the Red Dragons have lost back-to-back games after jumping out to an 8-2 start.

St. Albans has a .326 team batting average and 2.75 team earned run average, but left a combined 27 runners on base in losses to Cabell Midland (8-7) on Thursday and Point Pleasant (8-4) on Saturday.

That was a signature win for the Class AA Big Blacks, who boasted just victories over Class A Wahama and Charleston Catholic and Class AA Ravenswood before knocking off the Red Dragons. They were 0-4 against big school teams entering Saturday’s meeting at Loftis Field.

St. Albans left 12 runners on base against Point Pleasant. However, Mitchell Laton hit his fourth home run of the season and sits in a tie with Nitro’s Matt Harrison for the lead in the Kanawha Valley.

***

Logan County is enjoying another banner season with Chapmanville (12-1), Logan (9-2) and Man (7-3) owning a combined record of 28-6.

The Hillbillies lost three of their first four games with one each to Logan and Chapmanville. Since then, coach Larry Vance’s team is on a six-game winning streak.

Chapmanville, a 2014 Class AA semifinalist, lost only to Class AAA Lincoln County. The Wildcats lost to Ripley and, most recently, to Austintown Fitch (Ohio) in the Mingo Bay Classic.

Man, the 2014 Class A state champion, will visit Charleston Catholic, the 2013 single-A champ, at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Triana Field.

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Buffalo missed out on a scheduled home doubleheader with Williamstown on Saturday when the Yellowjackets didn’t show.

Buffalo coach Jim Tribble said he called Williamstown coach Terry Smith at 11:45 a.m. to ask if his team was on the way, but was told they weren’t coming.

The Bison (7-3) held a two-and-a-half hour practice instead. Tribble said he’s going to try to get the games with Williamstown rescheduled for later this month.

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstevens@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4837. Follow him on Twitter @richdailymail

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Charleston Catholic girls track team on pace for success http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150412/DM03/150419822 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150412/DM03/150419822 Sun, 12 Apr 2015 20:52:46 -0400

By Nick Brockman

For The Daily Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The results remain limited this season thus far, but the Charleston Catholic girls track team, last year’s Class A runner-up, look to another strong finish.

With just two meets under their belts and 16 athletes on the roster, the Irish don’t overwhelm with results or numbers, but impress with potential.

“We’re very, very optimistic,” Catholic coach Scott Welch said. “I think, if we stay healthy and everything works right, we’re a top three team. I only have 16 girls, but I’ve got some pretty good quality.”

This season, as in many during the past two decades, the team’s depth at middle distance and long distance running events leads the Irish, currently ranked ninth in Class A by www.runwv.com.

“I’ve been coaching since 1993 here and that has been the most consistent thing,” said Welch, who also coaches the Catholic cross country program. “Maybe, it’s me. Maybe, it’s what I look for and hone in on. We’ve always had 4 by 8s and 4 by 4s that are competitive. We’ve always had milers and 800 runners. Early in my career, here, we didn’t have speed and now we’ve got a little bit more speed.”

Junior Payton Mullen led the Irish at the 2014 state meet as she finished third in the individual high point standings. She won the 1600-meter run and 3200 and raced as part of Catholic’s third-place 4x400 relay and fifth-place 4x100 relay.

In past fall seasons, Mullen shined running cross country and playing soccer, but this year, she decided to focus on soccer, followed by basketball. Mullen returned to the track as the preseason No. 1 in the mile.

“I don’t want her to push too hard too fast, but she’s training like she sort of has a little bit of a chip on her shoulder,” Welch said. “She’s wanting to prove — whether to herself or whether it’s to me or whether it’s to the girls or whatever — but she’s on a mission.”

Like Mullen, sophomore Hannah Gacek excels in the 1600 and 3200. Gacek also replaced Quincy McKown, who graduated, on Catholic’s state champion 4x800 relay.

“Hannah’s running the best I’ve ever seen her right now,” Welch said.

Gacek finished fifth in the two-mile and seventh in the mile at the state meet as a freshman.

“I prefer the two-mile the best,” Gacek said. “I like the two-mile better, because it’s longer and I like longer distances rather than short.”

By training together, Gacek finds motivation in having a talented running partner like Mullen, Gacek said.

“She acts as like a push for me to do better and to improve my times,” she said. “I think it’s good to have someone that maybe is a little bit better than you so you can push yourself to do better.”

In addition to Mullen and Gacek, junior Peyton Keener and freshmen Lia Preston and Mary Katherine Kay also provide the Irish points in middle distance and distance events. Preston and Keener finished two-three in the 800 last year, while Kay qualified in the 400.

“Lia looks really, really good,” Welch said. “She’s flying all over the place.”

Caroline Dundervill returns after an injury-plagued season last year and will be expected to contribute points, as will freshmen Jordan Keener and Sara Carr.

Besides talent, youth unites most of the Irish track team. Catholic lists just three seniors on its roster and success appears implanted for seasons to come.

“Basically, they’re all here for the future,” Welch said. “There’s some talent coming up next year, too, and combined with these girls, they’ll be even better next year.”

 

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Senior Anacia Hines led the host Red Dragons with three individual event wins at the St. Albans Invitational held at the University of Charleston’s Laidley Field on Friday. Hines captured victories in the 100, 200 and 100 hurdles.

Capital senior Peyton Panger, a West Virginia University commit, won the 1600 and 3200, while Hurricane’s Anna Gordon posted victories in the 400 and 800 to help lead the Redskins to the team win.

On the boys side, Woodrow Wilson won with 66 points, narrowly defeating Class A Buffalo (60 points) and Capital (59).

Bison senior Jordan Tucker, the defending Class A state champ in the 100 and 200, won the 200 against his AA and AAA competition. Woodrow Wilson’s Kelshaun Grant edged Tucker by .04 seconds, though, in the 100. Buffalo’s Hayden Harrison won the 3200.

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