Johnson on first team
BECKLEY – Parkersburg South’s Braxton Johnson created runs with the best of them and for his efforts the outfielder was the lone representative from the Mid-Ohio Valley on the Class AAA all-state first team as voted by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
Johnson batted .455 and scored 43 runs. The senior also stole 19 bases.
Headlining the first-team was pitcher Hunter Greco of Woodrow Wilson, which lost 5-0 to Cabell Midland in the state semifinals.
“It’s a dream come true, really,” said Greco, who will play college baseball at Fairmont State. “This is the first time I have been first-team all-state. I worked my butt off for it. I feel like I deserved it.”
Greco was solid from beginning to end this season. He hit .449 and slugged .663, hit 12 doubles and drove in 24 runs.
But his presence on the mound was big for Woodrow, which won its first region championship since 2007. The right-hander was 6-2 with a 1.47 earned run average. He had 59 strikeouts in 47 2-3 innings pitched.
“He was a four-year starter and that’s a lot of experience,” Woodrow coach Mark Daniel said. “It’s been a while since we have had a four-year starter. He was just consistent for us all year.”
The first-team captain is senior first baseman Daniel Heliene of state champion Hedgesville. Heliene had a monstrous year, setting school records with 16 home runs and 51 RBIs. He also hit .475 and had a .980 slugging percentage.
Joining Heliene as all-state infielders are Musselman’s Darrin Zombro, Huntington’s Joey Mundy and Preston’s Jimmy Galusky. Zombro batted .494 and drove in 20 runs for the Applemen. The Highlanders got a .515 average, 17 doubles, 12 stolen bases and 31 RBIs from Mundy. Galusky hit .519 with 11 doubles, seven homers and 31 RBIs for the Knights.
Spring Valley’s Elijah Wellman and Hampshire’s Matthew Maiers join Greco on the first-team pitching staff. Wellman went 5-1 with a 1.89 ERA for the Timberwolves. He had 61 strikeouts to just 14 walks in 47 innings.
Maiers had a big senior season, going 8-0 with an ERA of just 0.82. He struck out 57 and walked 12 in 51 1-3 innings.
Hampshire junior Shane Ennis was honored in the outfield. He hit .440 with nine doubles and six home runs while driving in 35 runs. Morgantown’s Shane Commodore is the third outfielder and teammate Connor Leone the catcher. Stats were not provided for either player.
The four utility spots went to Cabell Midland’s Seth Kinker, Logan’s Zack Minnick, Wheeling Park’s Andrew Kowalo and Hurricane’s J.T. Rogoszewski.
Kinker batted .468 and was 6-4 with a 2.30 ERA. He did not allow an earned run in his final three starts. Minnick went 7-2 with a 1.38 ERA and had 53 strikeouts and 11 walks in 51 innings. He also batted .535 with six homers and 39 RBIs. Kowalo finished his senior season with a .420 average, 20 RBIs and 10 doubles. Rogozewski was 6-2 with a 0.72 ERA, 65 strikeouts and 11 walks in 48 1-3 innings, while batting .368 with nine doubles
Gary Fauber of The Register-Herald also contributed to this story.