By Steve Keenan
WVU Tech baseball coach Lawrence Nesselrodt is excited about the skills Arik McGinnis brings to the baseball diamond, but he’s more impressed with other McGinnis attributes.
“He brings all the intangibles you would (want of a player) here at Tech,” Nesselrodt said of McGinnis, a recent Valley High School graduate who signed a letter-of-intent last week to attend Tech and play baseball for the Golden Bears. “First, he’s a great ball player; there’s no hiding his God-given talent,” the coach said. “But his strongest attribute as a player is his desire to win. It’s evident in the way he competes.”
Nesselrodt praised other areas such as the instincts McGinnis displays between the lines.
In 2013, McGinnis posted a 4-4 pitching record for the Greyhounds, striking out 97 batters and carving out a 2.85 ERA in 54.0 innings pitched.
He also batted .459 (45-for-98) with 14 doubles, five homers, 46 RBIs and 43 runs.
His efforts helped lead the Greyhounds to their third straight Class A state tournament appearance and also earned McGinnis first-team all-state status.
McGinnis, who also considered other schools such as West Virginia Wesleyan, says he anticipates the challenge of playing for Tech this coming year.
“I’m real excited to be staying home and playing in front of everybody,” he said. Indicating some other Valley players expected to join him at Tech, he said, “I know more people here and feel comfortable.”
He says he expects Nesselrodt and his staff to use him to pitch some as well as play in the field. Right now, McGinnis is preparing to make the jump to the next level by playing in two summer leagues — with an American Legion team called the Power and for the West Virginia Red Hats, a travel team started by West Virginia Miners manager Tim Epling and area coach Darrell Frazier.
McGinnis said the teams feature “a lot of kids going into college ... trying to get better.”
Valley assistant coach Chip Warden, who was McGinnis’s pitching coach, feels Tech is getting a solid prospect.
Warden said he and McGinnis developed a good relationship over the years. “We had a closeness. We could communicate,” he said. “The great thing about coaching is the relationships you build up with kids. I enjoyed working with him for four years and watching him progress.”
“You always want to see your kids go to the next level,” Warden added. “I think he brings character to them (Tech), doing the right thing even when nobody’s watching.
“He’d be a welcome addition anywhere.”
Nesselrodt said another bonus in having McGinnis is his ties to the Upper Kanawha Valley community.
“Being a local guy is a very big factor,” he said. “We want to keep the best players in the Valley here.
“We’re excited about his decision.”