CLENDENIN, W.Va. — Herbert Hoover needed plenty of dramatics to win the 2013 Class AA baseball championship as the Huskies used a walk-off win over Independence in the state semifinals and then rallied late to beat Fairmont Senior in the title game.
“It was just exciting, with good kids who had a great work ethic – that’s something that’s rare in today,” said head coach Brian Young. “These kids never quit and that’s a good quality that they have. We’re hoping to continue with that this year, so it was definitely a good thing for our program.
“The state tournament games were fun-filled with a lot of excitement and ups and downs,” Young continued. “But they just continued to play and it was very exciting.”
The Huskies lost four starters (in all, six seniors) from last year’s state championship team, most notably Marshall signee Corey Bird who hit .495 for the Huskies last year.
“With Corey, you lost a lot, and then overall we lost three hitters who hit right at .450,” Young said. “That’s going to be hard to replace – Austin Thomas led the team in hits and Ryan Shamblin had a lot of RBIs. There was a lot to replace, but we had a good group of seniors stepping in this year who have played since they were sophomores.”
One of those players with even more on his shoulders this year is first-team all-state senior Tristan Fields. He hit .409 last year, while picking up seven wins, to go along with a 2.21 ERA on the mound.
“He has great ability and has the potential to go on and play at the next level,” Young said. “He’s a good pitcher, but also just a good baseball player all-around – he could be a good outfielder at the next level. He has the ability, the drive and the work ethic, so he has a good shot of going on to play (at the next level).”
Senior Cody Bowen returned as well this season for the Huskies – another player who hit above .400 last year, as he also produced 34 RBIs. On the mound, Bowen went 7-1 with a 1.58 ERA in 2013.
“He and Tristan both were our workhorses on the mound last year,” Young said. “Bowen has picked up right where he left off and he’s a big bat for us as well.”
Hunter White, Scooter Farmer and Shaun Dotson all return as well for the Huskies, giving Young’s club a solid core to build off of this season.
Early on, the Huskies have certainly looked like an early favorite again in Class AA as the bats have been rolling for Hoover. Through their first seven wins, the Huskies averaged 10 runs per contest.
“That’s one thing our kids pride themselves on, they work on a lot of that on their own,” Young said. “We have a good group of parents who continue to work with these kids. It seems like early they always come in seeing the ball well. We started out that way last year and it’s so much like we just picked up right where we left off.”
Hoover, out of Region 4 in Class AA, is matched up with Nicholas County and Clay County in its section. Sissonville, Poca, Scott, Chapmanville, Tolsia, Wayne and Mingo Central all reside in the region as well.
“It’ll be tough again as always,” Young said. “Chapmanville has a lot of pitching back and they’re going to be good quality. Poca will be good this year, they were good last year and didn’t lose much. Our region is tough and it seems like whomever goes on, they have a shot to go to the state tournament and give it a good run at the title.”
2014 Baseball Schedule
|3||03/22/14 01:00PM||H||CLAY COUNTY||8||–||2||W|
|6||03/27/14 05:00PM||H||NICHOLAS COUNTY||13||–||3||W|
|7||03/28/14 06:30PM||H||MINGO CENTRAL||14||–||0||W|
|11||04/04/14 04:00PM||H||NORTH MARION||–|
|12||04/04/14 07:00PM||H||NORTH MARION||–|
|17||04/11/14 07:00PM||A||POINT PLEASANT||–|
|19||04/15/14 07:00PM||A||MINGO CENTRAL||–|
|21||04/17/14 06:00PM||H||CHARLESTON CATHOLIC||–|
|22||04/22/14 05:00PM||A||NICHOLAS COUNTY||–|
|24||04/26/14 01:00PM||H||LIBERTY (RALEIGH)||–|
|25||04/26/14 03:00PM||H||LIBERTY (RALEIGH)||–|
|26||04/29/14 05:00PM||A||CLAY COUNTY||–|
|27||04/30/14 05:00PM||A||BRAXTON COUNTY||–|
|28||05/01/14 07:00PM||H||POINT PLEASANT||–|
|30||05/06/14 07:00PM||H||BRAXTON COUNTY||–|
|31||05/07/14 06:00PM||A||CHARLESTON CATHOLIC||–|
|wins: 7 lost: 1 ties: 0|