West Virginia State Tournament: Class AAA Preview

By Greg Williams
WV Director of Scouting

A total of 48 teams began regional play last week and 12 remain as the West Virginia state tournament prepares to kick off on Thursday at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston. Today we preview the four teams that will compete for an opportunity to be crowned Class AAA state champions for 2014. Prep Baseball Report will be in Charleston for all three days to cover the final weekend of play and the crowning of three new champions.

+ CLICK HERE to view complete regional Tournament brackets leading to the state tournament

Class AAA

Wheeling Park (16-10)

The Patriots come into the state tourney riding a 9 game win streak. Wheeling Park has the luxury of turning to right-handed pitcher Michael Grove, a West Virginia recruit, ranked No. 2 in the WV Class of 2015. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound righty is 5-2 with a 1.11 ERA on the season with 77 strikeouts in 44 innings pitched. Grove will sit in the upper 80s and will likely pop some 90+ MPH readings during his outing in Charleston.

Grove also leads the Patriots offense hitting .528 with 31 runs scored and 19 RBI. Senior Daniel Baciak has also had a strong season at the plate hitting .317 with 19 runs scored.

Nitro (24-10)

The Wildcats are led by a strong pitching staff that includes senior lefty Kipp Brewer (5-3, 1.51 ERA), a West Virginia State recruit; junior righty Jacob Bradley (8-1, 1.94 ERA), a Marshall commit; junior righty Eddie Flores (4-2, 1.18 ERA); and freshman righty Levi Kelly (4-3, 2.53 ERA), an LSU commit.  

Nitro advanced to the state semifinals after topping Hurricane, the defending AAA state champs, 5-1 in their regional final. The Wildcats have been led offensively by junior outfielder Matt Harrison, a Marshall commit. Harrison leads Nitro in nearly every offensive category hitting .422 with 10 home runs, 33 runs scored and 43 RBI.

Jefferson (35-2)

The Cougars have been dominant, losing just once in the state of West Virginia. That loss was to Bridgeport, the defending AA state champs, in a dramatic late-inning comeback by the Indians. Jefferson has outscored opponents 326-58 on the season and sport a team ERA of 1.16. The Cougars offense has been nearly as impressive compiling a team batting average of .342.

Pitchers Andy Disque (8-0, 0.66 ERA), Bradley Davis (7-0, 0.73 ERA), Dylan Carroll (5-0, 0.62 ERA) and Austin Bulman (5-0, 2.16 ERA) have combined to go 25-0 on the season. Offensively, the Cougars are led by Andrew King (.367, 4 HR, 51 RBI, 43 R), Will Oliver (.392, 22 RBI, 44 R) and VCU commit Paul Witt (.465, 35 RBI, 48 R).

Greenbrier East (18-8)

The Spartans knocked off one of the hottest teams in the AAA field when they beat Ripley 10-8 in the region finals to advance to this game. Greenbrier East scored nine times in the bottom of the 1st inning in that game and then held on as Ripley came roaring back with seven runs in the 3rd and 4th innings. Sophomore Joey Powell worked the final 3.1 innings of the game to earn the save without yielding a run and allowing just three hits.

Greebrier East is hitting .324 as a team led by senior Tyler Canterbury (.409, 23 R, 16 RBI) and sophomore Daylon Colley (.397, 17R, 25 RBI).

State Tourney schedule

Thursday, June 4 - Appalachian Power Park

Wheeling Park vs. Nitro (4:30pm)
Jefferson vs. Greenbrier East (7:30pm)

Saturday, June 6 - Appalachian Power Park

Class AAA Championship Game - 10:00am