HURRICANE, W.Va. — Hurricane, over the years, has established itself as one of the upper echelon Class AAA baseball programs in the state. But the Redskins, who won the 2002 state championship, have had trouble of late getting back into the state tournament field.
“In our case, we’re constantly proving ourselves and we’re looking forward to the challenge (of getting to the state tournament this year), it’ll be fun,” said head coach Brian Sutphin.
Hurricane saw its 2013 season come to an end with a 1-0, eight-inning loss to eventual state runner-up Cabell Midland in the regional semifinals.
“When you don’t score, it’s hard to win. Their kid pitched a heck of a game and ours’ did as well,” Sutphin said. “We just couldn’t get any hits with runners in scoring position.”
The Redskins lost just three seniors from that group a year ago, returning a veteran group of eight seniors this year and several core juniors as well, including first-team all-state standout J.T. Rogoszewski.
“When you have a lot of guys returning, those kids have really worked hard, gotten better every year and pushed each other hard in the weight room and practice,” Sutphin said. “We’re just kind of figuring where we’re at right now and hopefully we’ll continue to improve. We feel like the best is yet to come.”
Hurricane early last week picked up a couple of solid out-of-state wins, beating Hough, North Carolina 2-1 and edging Hopewell, North Carolina 2-0. The Redskins returned home to then suffer close losses to Bridgeport (6-4) and Morgantown (4-1).
“We played two excellent teams in Charlotte,” Sutphin said. “They were 4-A schools with 2,200 students and we found a way to win both of those games. I was pleased to see that – we definitely had to step up because those guys can play down there, no question about that.”
Hurricane (10-3) earlier in the month also beat regional rival Cabell Midland 9-5 and then handed Nitro its first loss, 6-5.
“From our end of it, we did not play well (against Nitro) – I was thrilled to see us battle and find a way to win,” he said. “We were sloppy with four errors and did not play well early. They scored three runs in the first on one hit. But we did find a way – and playing against quality opponents early gives you a good indicator of where you’re at and what you need to work on.”
Entering the past week, all of the state’s top three ranked Class AAA teams came out of Hurricane’s Region 4 (Hurricane, Cabell Midland, Nitro), with Logan overall at No. 8 and Huntington No. 9 as well.
“There are a lot of good teams in this area, but there are a lot of good teams in other regions as well,” Sutphin said. “No question our region has some strong teams, but it makes it fun. There’s a lot of competition and it’s tough every year.”
2014 Baseball Schedule
|4||04/02/14 07:00PM||H||SOUTH CHARLESTON||7||–||9||L|
|6||04/04/14 07:00PM||H||GEORGE WASHINGTON||4||–||3||W|
|7||04/05/14 01:00PM||H||CABELL MIDLAND||9||–||5||W|
|9||04/08/14 05:00PM||A||LINCOLN COUNTY||18||–||2||W|
|11||04/11/14 06:00PM||H||LINCOLN COUNTY||16||–||0||W|
|12||04/14/14 05:00PM||A||HOUGH, N.C.||2||–||1||W|
|14||04/16/14 04:00PM||A||HOPEWELL, N.C.||2||–||0||W|
|17||04/23/14 07:00PM||A||SPRING VALLEY||–|
|18||04/25/14 06:00PM||A||ED CARTER INVITATIONAL||–|
|19||04/26/14 01:00PM||A||ED CARTER INVITATIONAL||–|
|21||04/30/14 07:00PM||A||CABELL MIDLAND||–|
|22||05/02/14 07:00PM||A||DERBY CLASSIC (BOYD CO.)||–|
|23||05/03/14 02:00PM||A||DERBY CLASSIC||–|
|24||05/05/14 07:00PM||H||MSAC CHAMPIONSHIP||–|
|25||05/06/14 07:00PM||H||MSAC CHAMPIONSHIP||–|
|26||05/07/14 06:00PM||H||SPRING VALLEY||–|
|30||05/14/14 06:30PM||A||GEORGE WASHINGTON||–|
|31||05/15/14 06:00PM||A||SOUTH CHARLESTON||–|
|wins: 10 lost: 3 ties: 0|