West Virginia State Tournament: Class AAA Preview

By Greg Williams
West Virginia 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 2016.

Preseason Flashback:

First the bad, we fanned on Region 1 where we thought the loss of Wheeling Park ace Michael Grove to graduation (now at WVU) would be too much for the Patriots to overcome. We were wrong. And for the good, we nailed the other three region winners to finish with a .750 batting average in Class AAA. CLICK HERE to view our complete 2016 preseason region previews.

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

Class AAA

Wheeling Park (14-12)

The Patriots are returning to the state tourney for a third straight season. Junior RHP Austin Crebs has picked filled the role of ace for a staff that had the luxury of turning to right-handed pitcher Michael Grove, a West Virginia freshman, in the semifinal round the past two years. Crebs will also be showcasing his abilities at the Western PA Top Prospect Games on June 14 and 15.

Jefferson (33-3)

The Cougars look to repeat in Class AAA and sport a team ERA of 1.17, nearly identical to the ERA posted by their state championship pitching staff in 2015. Left-handers Bradley Davis (10-0, 0.82 ERA) and Austin Cross (9-1, 0.58) give the Cougars a dominant 1-2 punch on the hill.

Jefferson is nearly as dominant offensively with led by senor shortstop Paul Witt, a VCU signee, hitting .514 with 33 RBI and 54 runs scored. Junior Austin Bulman has been just as impressive hitting .520 average with 46 RBI and 34 runs scored.

Nitro (24-10)

http://www.nitrobaseball.com/images/default_thumb1.jpgThe Wildcats are led by a strong pitching staff that includes senior right-handers Jacob Bradley (9-1, 1.07 ERA) and Andrew Stone (7-1, 0.94 ERA). Bradley (Marshall) and Stone (West Virginia State) will be taking their talents to the next level next year.

Matt Harrison (.388, 24 RBI, 29 runs scored) and Stone (.379, 21 RBI, 44 runs scored) lead the Wildcats offense. Senior catcher Matt Jewell (.337, 40 RBI) is one of the top defensive catchers in the state and has the ability to shut down opposing team's running games. Harrison will join Bradley next year at Marshall while Jewel is a Wright State signee.

Ripley (24-11)

https://team.fieldlevel.com/none/media/TeamLogo.jpg?shortName=nptngwpg&sportEnum=1&width=90&height=90The Vikings return to the state tournament for the first time since winning a title in 2004. Christopher Jordan (9-1, 1.31 ERA) and Luke Layhew (5-3, 2.46) front the Ripley pitching staff.

Jordan, a West Virginia State signee, also leads the Vikings offense (.586, 39 RBI, 52 runs). Junior Anthony Jarvis, and seniors Cody Pittenger (Surry CC) and Jared Bumpus (Glenville State) have also produced for a potent offense that has hit a combined .360 on the season.

State Tourney schedule

Friday, June 3 - Appalachian Power Park

Wheeling Park vs. Jefferson (5:00pm)
Nitro vs. Ripley (8:00pm)

Saturday, June 4 - Appalachian Power Park

Class AAA Championship Game - 4:00pm

Upcoming Events

Showcase State Date Location
2016 Western PA Top Prospect Games (INVITE ONLY) WV Jun 14 Seton Hill University
Individual Player Evaluation (Year Round By Appointment) WV Jun 22 Keystone State Baseball Academy - Manheim, PA
2016 Eastern PA College Prospect Showcase WV Jun 28 Maplezone Sports Village (Aston, PA)
2016 Eastern PA Top Prospect Games (INVITE ONLY) WV Jul 19 La Salle University
2016 PBR Future Games powered by Under Armour (Pennsylvania Invite Only) WV Aug 4 Grand Park (IN)
2016 Western PA College Prospect Showcase WV Aug 18 Iron Horse Sports Complex (Windber, PA)
Team PBR (Invite Only) WV Aug 19 Pennsylvania