Gilmer’s Bennington receives POY honor

PARKERSBURG – For the second consecutive season, Gilmer County’s Karl Bennington was voted by league coaches as the Player of the Year in the Little Kanawha Conference.

The Titan senior, who is a three-time first-team all-LKC baseball honoree, was one of four Gilmer County players to land on the top unit for head coach Joe Frashure – the conference’s Coach of the Year.

Bennington not only led the LKC champion Titans with a .393 batting average, but he was second on his team in runs-batted-in with 27. On the mound, he went 9-2 with a 2.07 earned-run average and recorded 113 strikeouts in 81 innings.

Clay County’s Jimmy Brogan (infield) joined Bennington and Pakersburg Catholic’s Mitch Davis (outfield) as three-time All-LKC first-team selections. Davis not only batted .495, but he registered 15 doubles, a pair of triples, six home runs, scored 61 times and drove in 32. On top of that, he was successful on 22 of 24 stolen-base attempts, went down on strikes just six times and drew 23 bases on balls to finish with a .587 on-base percentage.

Ritchie County infielder Andrew Davis was the lone repeat first-team pick. Davis finished with a .378 batting average, 10 doubles, five triples, four homers and 34 RBIs.

Aside from Bennington, the other first-team All-LKC hurlers were Roane County’s Quentin Corbitt and Michael Stout of St. Marys. Corbitt won four of the Raiders’ seven games and fanned 49 batters in 57 1/3 frames. Stout recorded one save to go with a 7-1 mound mark that included a 2.33 ERA. He held opposing hitters to a meager .178 batting average and had 58 strikeouts in 45 innings.

Joining Davis in the first-team outfield were Jarrod Lough of St. Marys, Calhoun County’s Luke Moore and Wirt County’s Austin Cottrell (.431 avg., 10 RBIs, 26 steals through 21 games). Lough, who opened the season with four home runs against Roane County, smacked seven round-trippers, 11 doubles, six triples and posted a .527 batting average. He swiped five bases, also the same number of times he fanned, while scoring 54 runs to go along with a .576 OBP, thanks to drawing 14 walks. Moore not only had five outfield assists for the Red Devils, but he batted .524 with a dozen doubles, two triples and 21 RBIs. He stole 13 bases and opposing pitchers only retired him via the strikeout on three occasions.

Gilmer County’s Austin Cunningham, Matthew Houser of St. Marys and Jake Ullman of Parkersburg Catholic comprised the first-team infield along with Brogan and the Rebels’ Davis. Ullman collected a hit in half of his 100 at-bats this season. He drove in 37, had nine doubles, two triples and was good on 21 of 22 stolen-base attempts. The Crusader junior also had a .606 OBP, thanks in part to getting issued 23 free passes and he went down swinging only five times. Cunningham hit .333 with six doubles, 40 runs, 11 steals and 19 RBIs. Houser produced to the tune of a .476 batting average and a .570 on-base percentage. He also had 11 two-baggers, a trio of triples, six long balls and nine steals.

D.J. Burgess of Ritchie County and Adam Beall of Gilmer County were the catchers on the first unit. Burgess earned 22 free passes to finish with a .628 OBP. He batted .463 with three doubles, as many home runs, two triples and 41 runs-batted-in. Beall – who in 114 plate appearances, fanned just three times – swiped five bases, had four doubles, drove in 25 runs and hit .337.

Colton Rose of Gilmer County and Wirt County’s Trent Hardbarger were the first-team utility selections. Rose was a .277 hitter with seven doubles, two home runs, nine steals, 24 RBIs, and also had one mound triumph. In his first 21 games, Hardbarger had four pitching victories and 61 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings. He also batted .362 with eight doubles and 18 RBIs.