Charleston Catholic places two on Class A All-State baseball first team

By By Jay W. Bennett
The News and Sentinel
CHRIS DORST | Gazette-Mail Charleston Catholic's Brandon Combs pitches against Wheeling Central Thursday night. CCHS won 2-0.

Charleston Catholic claimed the Class A baseball state championship thanks to an 8-2 triumph against Ravenswood in the title game, but Red Devil junior Chase Swain was honored as the captain of the Class A all-state team, as selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

A Class AA first-team selection as a sophomore, Swain entered the final weekend of the season with a 5-0 record and a 1.24 earned run average to go along with 85 strikeouts in 51 innings.

“He loves the game and he’s a student of the game. A lot of people don’t understand this is a kid doing 200 and 300 sit-ups a night before he goes to bed,” said RHS head coach Wes Swain, who got the Red Devils to the final four for the first time since 1999.

“I think last year he played a total of between 90 and 100 games. Whether he’s my kid or not, he’s a special young man. He’s a good kid and he’s kind of the catalyst of our team.”

Swain is also adept at swinging the bat. He hit .494 and produced an .828 slugging percentage to go along with seven steals, 11 doubles, six home runs and 45 runs-batted-in.

Charleston Catholic junior Brandon Combs pitched the Irish past Wheeling Central in the state semifinals. He won a 2-0 decision and worked 6 2/3 innings while allowing two hits and recording eight punchouts. On the season, he went 8-1 with a 1.35 ERA. He also batted .467 with 10 doubles, six triples, four bombs and 56 RBIs.

Wheeling Central senior Austin Crebs (9-1, 0.93 ERA, 93 Ks, 68 IP) was the other first-team all-state pitcher. Pendleton County senior Luke Cooper (.442 avg.) nabbed the catching position.

Wahama’s Philip Hoffman was the only three-time first-team all-state honoree. The senior White Falcon, who was one of four utility picks, pitched through an injury, but had 88 strikeouts in 47 1-3 innings, going 4-4 with a 3.55 ERA. He also drove in 31 runs, stole 11 bases and hit .384 while walking 11 times and striking out just four times in 99 at-bats.

Junior Mason Adkins of Williamstown earned back-to-back first-team nods and also landed at the utility position. The Yellowjacket had a .348 average, but walked 24 times (against six strikeouts) and thanks to getting plunked a school record 18 times, he finished with a .652 on-base percentage. The lefty also swiped 25 bags, had three doubles, a triple, blasted five home runs and had 19 RBIs to go along with a 5-3 mound mark, which featured a 3.03 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 37 innings.

Wheeling Central senior Tyler Riedel (7-1, 1.20 ERA, 59 Ks, 46.6 IP, .471 avg., 30 RBIs) and Huntington St. Joe freshman Lenny Washington (.373 avg., 1 HR, 25 RBIs, 6 wins, 71 Ks, 52 IP) also made first-team utility.

East Hardy’s Austin Whetzel, who was first-team all-state as a 10th-grader, concluded his senior year with a spot on the top infield unit. The Cougar batted .528 with 11 two-baggers, a triple and a homer to go along with 25 RBIs and a .764 slugging percentage.

Tygarts Valley, which also made the Class A state semifinals, was represented by senior infielder Rece Wamsley (.486 avg., 32 RBIs). Trae Swisher of Charleston Catholic and Hayden Hizer of Paden City, both seniors, joined Whetzel and Wamsley on the first-team infield. Swisher knocked in three runs during his final game against Ravenswood and batted .484 with three homers, 15 doubles, four triples and 49 RBIs. Hizer finished with a .410 average, five doubles, six triples, four round-trippers, 23 steals and 34 runs-batted-in.

The trio of first-team outfielders were Bishop Donahue junior Doug Clark (.430 avg., 21 RBIs), Ravenswood senior Nathan Curtis (.413 avg., 10 2Bs, 2 HRs, 35 RBIs) and Williamstown senior center fielder Bryce Haer. The ‘Jacket, who made just one error, had a .447 average, nine doubles, three triples, two homers, 24 RBIs and a dozen stolen bases.

Wheeling Central senior catcher Isaac Rine was captain of the second team.

The second-team pitchers included Tyler Consolidated’s Luke Daugherty, St. Joseph’s Charlie White and Wil Mullins of Greater Beckley Christian.

Nate Lantz of Tyler Consolidated, Notre Dame’s Noah Yokum, Caleb Riggleman of Tygarts Valley and East Hardy’s Brett Tharp earned the infield nods. The second-team outfield consisted of Buffalo’s Connor Fields, Jimmy Harper of Valley Fayette and Charleston Catholic’s Luke McKown.

Utility spots went to Cameron’s Garrett Scott, Ravenswood’s Blake Bennett, Sherman’s Jacob Hensley and Pendleton County’s Trey Cooper.

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