HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A 5-2 sectional win over Spring Valley on Monday night helped Huntington avenge two regular-season losses to the Timberwolves.
More significant, though, has been the status of first-team all-state senior shortstop Joey Mundy, who tweaked his knee last week playing basketball. Mundy, who signed to play baseball at Vanderbilt, was in the lineup Monday in the designated hitter role.
“It was a little sore, so he’s not 100 percent right now,” said coach Danny Harbert. “He’s still anticipating playing through the sectional tournament. Hopefully, if we can win the sectional tournament, we can get him some rest. I think he’ll be fine with some rest. A lot of people have said he has blown out his knee, but that’s not the truth. He just tweaked it playing some basketball and he’ll be fine.”
Mundy has been at the core of Huntington’s success on the year, posting a .486 average with 33 RBI.
“He’s been a huge asset to the team—his leadership abilities and skills on the field just make us a different team,” Harbert said. “He spends just about two to three hours every day in the batting cage. What I like about him this year is that his defense has improved as well. He’s been a great shortstop for us and has led by example as well.”
The Highlanders (18-10) have put together a late-season push after losing to both sectional opponents Spring Valley and Cabell Midland early in the regular season. The Highlanders bounced back with a 5-1 win over Cabell Midland in the MSAC semifinals.
“During the later part of the season, we got the bats going and we have really been attacking the baseball offensively,” Harbert said. “Our pitching has come around and our defense is playing pretty well. I’m happy with where we’re at right now from a mentality stand point.”
With Midland on the schedule again Wednesday in sectional play, Huntington will send ace Stephen Holland to the mound.
“He’s only given up one earned run all season,” Harbert said. “It’ll be a battle, though, Midland is a very tough team and is historically tough.”
Regardless of which team emerges from Huntington’s section, the path to the state tournament won’t get any easier as a regional semifinal matchup would likely loom against perennial power Hurricane. The Highlanders already have two losses to the Redskins on the year, 4-2 and 21-1.
“Everybody is really tough in this region and if you can come out of it alive, you’ve done something special,” Harbert said. “There are a lot of good coaches, good teams and potential future college players on each team as well.”
Huntington has picked up several impressive wins on the season so far, proving they will be a tough out through the postseason. The Highlanders own a 4-3 win over Jefferson and beat Nitro on the Wildcat’s home field for the first time in school history.
“Our record might not reflect how good we are, but we have faced some of the toughest teams in this region and have been able to see all the good players,” Harbert said. “Heading into the postseason, we’re prepared at least having seen what our opponents have and don’t have.”
Harbert, meanwhile, is in his second season at the Helm with the Highlanders.
“We have a lot of young kids working hard year round, lifting weights and doing what they need to be successful,” he said. “But high school baseball is all about pitching and defense, along with timely hitting. So, we definitely have to develop our pitching staff over the next couple of years – but we have a good group of young guys who are baseball oriented and have some talent. It’ll just be a matter of how hard they work to see where we go in the future.”
CLASS AAA, REGION 4
SECTION 1: Winfield, Point Pleasant
SECTION 2: Nitro, St. Albans, Logan
SECTION 3: Lincoln County, Hurricane
SECTION 4: Huntington, Spring Valley, Cabell Midland