The prep baseball season might have been canceled in West Virginia due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it wasn’t a complete wash for Hurricane’s Austin Dearing.
Dearing, a senior outfielder and pitcher, was selected as the Gatorade Player of the Year in West Virginia on Thursday, becoming the first Redskins baseball player to earn the award. He has also signed with the baseball program at Marshall.
“I knew Coach [Brian Sutphin] had nominated me,’’ Dearing said of the award, “but it was a surprise when I read it this morning. I was shocked.’’
As a junior, Dearing hit .427 with three home runs, 33 runs batted in and scored 37 times as Hurricane went 33-6 and reached the Class AAA title game. In the outfield, he played errorless ball, handling 46 chances on the season.
He said the honor didn’t ease the sting of missing out on his senior season, but said the award instead was “a reflection of our team, and a reflection of how well we went into this past offseason.’’
Captain of the Hurricane basketball team in 2019-20 and a first-team All-Kanawha Valley selection with a 22-point scoring average, Dearing has also served as a Spanish tutor for elementary school students and has volunteered locally on behalf of the Special Olympics, clothing drives for the needy and youth sports programs.
“Austin has been a four-year starter and every year he was better than the year before,” Sutphin said. “His drive and determination have been a joy to watch, and he’s been such a great leader and teammate. I think he’ll continue to make big strides at the next level.”
Dearing, who maintained a 4.04 grade-point average in the classroom, is a now a finalist for the Gatorade national Player of the Year award to be announced later in May.
He is expected to play outfield at Marshall. This summer, he plans to play with the Northeast Baseball travel team in Massachusetts.