Listen: Hedgesville baseball coach Dirk Webb
HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. — Hedgesville’s 2013 Class AAA baseball state championship came out of nowhere, to an extent, as it was the Eagles’ first title.
Hedgesville, which had never been to a championship game, entered the state tournament last year for the first time since the 1970s.
“We felt like we had a little bit of talent on the team,” head coach Dirk Webb said. “We felt like we had the offense to make it to the state tournament, but didn’t necessarily know if we had the pitching. Defense at the high school level is always something difficult to predict, so going into the year we felt we could be a player in our section and then have a chance against whomever came out of the other section.
“Coming into the whole thing, we felt like we had a chance, but we definitely were not thinking about the state tournament or anything like that,” Webb continued. “We were really just more focused on the sectional.”
After surviving sectional play, the Eagles moved on to beat Jefferson 7-1 in the regional semifinal, before taking down Hampshire 4-3 in the regional final.
In the state tournament, Hedgesville knocked off Parkersburg South 6-3 and then claimed its state title with a 4-2 win over Cabell Midland. Overall, Hedgesville ended the year with a 29-7 record, winning its final 11 games in a row.
“It was a special feeling, anytime you see a group of kids do the right things, come together as a group and play as well as we did there at the end of the year is very special,” said Webb, who is in his fourth year at the helm.
Added to that championship run, first baseman Daniel Heleine was named the state’s Player of the Year, finishing his senior season batting .478, to go along with single-season school records for home runs (16) and RBIs (57).
Along with Heleine, the Eagles lost their No. 1 starting pitcher in Cody Butts and third baseman Stevie Hite, along with Cameron Jordan and Chris Hafner who split time in the outfield.
Despite those losses, Hedgesville returned a bulk of senior talent for this season.
“We’re probably one of the older teams in the state this season,” Webb said. “We have 13 seniors on our varsity squad. We returned our starting second baseman, left fielder and center fielder, our catcher and two of our three starting pitchers from last year.”
Those two returning pitchers are seniors Derrick Snider, who threw a complete game in last year’s championship win, and Matt Frye. Snider went five innings and gave up two earned runs in an early season 7-6 win over Jefferson.
“We have a lot of pitchers, but we’re not really sure where they shake out right now after the first two or three,” Webb said.
The Eagles also had a glimpse of a potential regional matchup against Hampshire as Hedgesville fell last week to the Trojans 6-2.
“It’s a tough region to come out of, and you’re going to play a lot of good teams,” Webb said. “For us, just playing well is what our goal is, we want to be playing our style of baseball at the top of our game when we get to the end.”
Something they did so well in 2013. But as for the potential of making another late-season run in 2014?
“If any of our kids have in their heads that the goal is to make it back to the state tournament, that’s something they need to get out of their heads,” Webb said. “Our goal from a coaching standpoint is to compete in the section and then play well from then on.”
2014 Baseball Schedule
|1||03/24/14 7 p.m.||A||JEFFERSON||7||–||6||W|
|2||03/27/14 4 p.m.||H||BERKELEY SPRINGS||13||–||0||W|
|3||03/27/14 7 p.m.||H||BERKELEY SPRINGS||6||–||1||W|
|4||canceled||H||BLUE RIDGE, PA||–|
|5||03/29/14 11 a.m.||H||HAMPSHIRE||6||–||2
|7||03/31/14 4 p.m.||A||JAMES BUCHANNAN, PA H.S.||11||–||2||W|
|8||04/02/14 7 p.m.||H||SPRING MILLS||–|
|9||04/04/14 7 p.m.||H||ATLANTIC SHORES, PA||–|
|10||04/05/14 9 a.m.||A||BERKELEY SPRINGS||–|
|11||04/05/14 11:30 a.m.||A||WASHINGTON||–|
|12||04/08/14 7 p.m.||A||MUSSELMAN||–|
|13||04/09/14 6 p.m.||A||LOUDOUN CO,VA H.S.||–|
|14|| 04/11/14 7 p.m.
|15|| 04/14/14 3 p.m.
|16||04/15/14 6 p.m.||A||MYRTLE BEACH||–|
|17|| 04/16/14 3 p.m.
|18|| 04/17/14 6 p.m.
|19|| 04/18/14 3 p.m.
|20||04/22/14 7 p.m.||H||MUSSELMAN||–|
|21||04/24/14 7 p.m.||H||MARTINSBURG||–|
|22|| 04/25/14 11 a.m.
|23|| 04/25/14 3 p.m.
|24||04/29/14 7 p.m.||H||WASHINGTON||–|
|25||05/01/14 7 p.m.||H||JEFFERSON||–|
|26||05/03/14 noon||H||FORT HILL (Md.)
|27|| 05/03/14 7 p.m.
||H||FORT HILL (Md.)
|28|| 05/06/14 4 p.m.
|29|| 05/09/14 4 p.m.
|wins: 4 lost: 1 ties: 0|