It was indeed a solid week on the baseball diamond for Dalton Dempsey and his Fayetteville Pirate teammates.
Last week, the Pirates (7-1) won all five of their outings by a combined score of 74-21, with the lone close contest a 7-5 victory over Richwood early in the week.
And Dempsey, a sophomore shortstop who is also a vital member of the Pirates' football and basketball squads, led the way with a stellar showing at the plate. During the week, he belted out 12 hits in as many at-bats, homering three times, rapping a triple and hitting three two-baggers — all without recording an out. Dempsey also reached base nine other times by either walks or being hit by pitcher. He's currently batting over .700 for the year.
"He had a crazy week; he didn't make an out," said FHS coach Dan Poland.
Poland said Dempsey's current stretch of performances calls to mind the play of a former Oak Hill High standout when Poland was an assistant there. "Honestly, I compare him to what Rob Stephens did at Oak Hill," Poland said.
Dempsey, who bats left-handed and throws right, isn't the only Pirate wielding a hot stick of late. Teammate Jake Cogar, who is batting nearly .500, went 7-for-9 with two walks and four doubles last week, and other players had solid contributions, too. Senior first baseman James Criss is batting .386 and has driven in 13 runs.
Poland admits the Pirates, winners of six straight going into this week, are doing well offensively.
"We've worked very, very hard on hitting," he said. "We've tried some new techniques.
"The kids really put the time in and got a lot of swings. They've been open to constructive criticism. And we've got some talent."
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The Pirates are hoping for another week of good outings this week, as they host the fourth annual Wooden Bat Classic Monday through Thursday at Linda K. Epling Stadium in Beckley, beginning with a matchup pitting Oak Hill and Liberty at 9 a.m. Monday.
"Tim (Epling) has been great with us," said Poland. "He's letting us use the field; he does a great job with baseball in the area."
The full slate for the six-team event is below:
• Monday, April 6 — Liberty vs. Oak Hill, 9 a.m.; Oak Hill vs. Wyoming East, 11:30 a.m.; Wyoming East vs. Liberty, 1:45 p.m.; Nicholas County vs. Fayetteville, 3:45 p.m.
• Tuesday, April 7 — Nicholas County vs. Summers County, 10 a.m.; Summers County vs. Fayetteville, 12 p.m.
• Wednesday, April 8 — Seeded games at 9 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 1:45 p.m.
• Thursday, April 9 — Seeded game, 9 a.m.; third place game, 11:15 a.m.; championship game, 2 p.m.