From Staff and Wire Reports
The season had an all-too-familiar end for Valley — a loss in the Class A state semifinals.
While the sting of never getting a win in three trips to Charleston will take a while to wear off, the season was one to remember for several Greyhound seniors.
One of them is Arik McGinnis, who was selected to the Class A all-state first team, released Monday by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
McGinnis was named to one of the utility spots after leading Valley both on the mound and at the plate. He hit .459 with five home runs, 14 doubles, three triples and 46 runs batted in. He also scored a team-high 43 runs in 30 games.
As a pitcher, McGinnis was 4-4 after drawing the ’Hounds toughest opponents. But he had a 2.85 earned run average and 97 strikeouts in 54 innings while walking just 34.
On April 24, McGinnis had 19 strikeouts in an 11-0 no-hitter against Buffalo.
McGinnis was the only area player selected to the first team.
Freshman Druw Bowen, McGinnis’ Valley teammate, and Greenbrier West catcher Jared Jennings were named to the second team.
Bowen was chosen as a pitcher after going 6-0 with a 2.15 ERA. He struck out 65 and walked only 14 in 39 innings.
Jennings, a junior, hit .423 with five homers and 40 RBIs for the Cavaliers. He smacked 12 doubles and had a pair of triples.
Valley’s Cody Winter and Drew Jones were named to the special honorable mention team, as were Fayetteville’s Trey Phares and Meadow Bridge’s Ryan Church.
Local honorable mention choices included Valley’s Raeshawn Breckenridge, Todd Coleman and John Riddle and Fayetteville’s Aaron Krise.
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Plenty was expected out of Magnolia and senior Kyle Elliott when the season started.
Playing in their first season in Class A, with Elliott — an all-state player in the AA ranks a season ago — the Blue Eagles were one of the preseason favorites to win it all.
While they came up two runs short — falling 9-8 to first-time champion Charleston Catholic in the state title game — Elliott was able to help the Blue Eagles pull off a rare all-state feat.
Elliott, who was 8-1 with five saves and an earned run average of 0.89 on the hill and hit .437 with five home runs and 42 RBIs, was named first-team captain.
In doing so, he became the third Magnolia player to be so honored in a major sport, as classmates Steven Rogalski (football) and Mark Winters (boys basketball) were also selected as Class A captains.
Elliott started a Class AA state semifinal game his sophomore year and got knocked around a bit against Logan, but he learned a bunch from that experience.
“I think after that loss, I definitely took it hard because I thought that I should have pitched a little better,” Elliott said. “I think I grew up a lot over that offseason. I finally learned how to actually pitch. Earlier in my high school years, I was just more of a thrower.”
This time around, Elliott worked 4 2/3 innings of scoreless — and hitless — relief in the state semifinal against Notre Dame, helping his team get over that hump.
Joining him are teammates Ryan Walton (.432 average, eight doubles, 58 runs scored), also a member of last year’s Class AA first team, and Chandler Sapp (.532, 66 hits, two home runs, 40 RBI).
Two members of the Class A champion Fighting Irish were also selected in Kiefer Hovorka and Rocco Wilcox, both repeat first-teamers, while pitcher Andy Hoyer was named the captain of the second team.
Much like his team, Hovorka was able to erase some tough state tournament history. He twice started games at Appalachian Power Park during his career, only to see the Irish lose both. He gained a measure of redemption by beating the Blue Eagles in the 2013 final.
“We knew he was going to be super focused as a senior,” Charleston Catholic coach Bill Mehle said. “He did a great job of letting them put the ball in play and trusting the defense.”
Hovorka was 8-4 on the mound with a 1.99 ERA in 70 1/3 innings, and hit .358 with 40 runs scored. Wilcox hit .411 with 63 runs scored, and drew 48 walks. On the hill, he went 4-1 with a 3.02 ERA.
Both players were selected at utility spots.
The pitchers are Gilmer County’s Karl Bennington, who makes the list for the second straight year, Notre Dame’s T.J. McKinsey (4-1, 1.26 ERA), and Bishop Donahue junior Hunter Kaschke (5-2, 1.60 ERA), one of only four players in school history to beat neighboring Class AAA John Marshall on the hill.
The catcher is Clay-Battelle’s Kurt Latocha (.555, 9 doubles, 21 RBIs), while the infield is made up of Notre Dame’s Chris Petrucci (.413, 20 RBIs), a repeat first-teamer, East Hardy’s Korey Foltz (.446, 37 RBIs), who moves up from second team, and Sherman junior John Hunter (.538, 5 HR, 9 triples, 35 RBIs, 41 stolen bases).
Joining Sapp in the outfield is St. Marys junior Jarrod Lough (.521, 7 HR, 55 runs, 53 RBIs) and Parkersburg Catholic’s Mitch Davis (.505, 58 runs, 32 RBIs, 14 doubles, 6 HR, 23 walks).