FAIRMONT — For a minute, Austin Norman thought about giving up.
The Fairmont Senior quarterback had just suffered a gruesome football injury, a broken fibula and dislocated ankle that was severe enough to turn his foot almost entirely backwards.
The Polar Bears football season was essentially over without their signal caller, and Norman thought that maybe his entire athletic career might also be finished.
“After that injury I talked about just going to college and going to school and being done with everything,” he said. “But I had a goal. That was to play baseball and play collegiately.”
A metal plate, a handful of screws and countless hours of rehab later and he was back on the baseball field where he belted 12 home runs, drove in 48 runs and hit .418 to go along with a 1.35 earned run average and 89 strikeouts.
For his success on the diamond, the Marshall commit was named captain of the Class AA All-State team as voted on by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
“I put in a lot of hard work in the offseason,” Norman said. “A lot of time in the weight room. A lot of time in the cage. A lot of time throwing. And it paid off.”
The hard work also paid off for 14 others who were named to the first team.
The first-team pitchers are Herbert Hoover’s Tristan Fields (8-0, 1.21 ERA, 76 Ks), Fairmont Senior’s Bailey Mohr (7-1, 1.25 ERA) and Wyoming East’s Josh Zeboskey (8-1, 73 Ks).
Robert C. Byrd’s Colton Bonnet batted .499 with nine doubles and 25 steals to earn the spot behind the dish. Ravenswood’s Devon Crews hit .510 with nine home runs to lead all infielders. He is joined in the infield by Independence’s Wyatt Adkins (.486, 7 home runs, 10 steals), Sissonville’s Jacob Fisher (.471, 46 steals) and PikeView’s Austin Cordell.
Outfielders are Norman, Ritchie County’s Dylan Frye and Wayne’s Cody Stiltner (.453, 27 steals).
Filling the utility slots are Oak Glen’s Vincent Haddox (.475, three home runs), Poca’s Noah Frampton (.404, five home runs), Wyoming East’s Christian Hedinger (.564, 22 doubles) and Bridgeport’s Tyler Skidmore (.426, 36 RBIs).
Infielder William Copley of Chapmanville was chosen as the captain of the second team. He’s joined in the infield by second-teamers Johnny Kesling (Fairmont Senior), Joe LaRocca (Bridgeport) and Heath Burgess (Ravenswood). Sam Aloi (Bridgeport), Trey Dalton (Chapmanville) and Brian Sexton (Independence) were selected as second-team pitchers. Sissonville’s Dominic Walker was picked as the second-team catcher. Shaun Dotson (Herbert Hoover), Anthony Bonamico (Bridgeport) and Jake Payne (Poca) are the outfielders.
Rounding out the team are utility players Cody Bowen (Herbert Hoover), Tristan Thompson (Chapmanville), Andrew Hughart, (Independence) and Hunter White (Herbert Hoover).