Swain gets Little Kanawha Conference co-POY
Roane’s Thompson makes first unit for third straight time
PARKERSBURG — Champion Braxton County landed both the Little Kanawha Conference’s baseball coach of the year in head man Jacob Wolfe and the co-player of the year in Braden Poling, who shared the top honor with Ravenswood junior Chase Swain.
The Eagles won the LKC crown with a 9-5 victory against the Class A state runner-up Red Devils.
Poling made his initial appearance on the all-LKC first team as one of the four outfielders. Along with posting a 7-0 mound mark, a 1.87 ERA and 62 strikeouts, the senior hit .432, had a .588 on-base percentage and slugged .705.
Swain, one of four honorees to make the first unit a second time, was selected as one of the five infielders. Heading into the state tournament, Swain was hitting .494 with 11 doubles and Mid-Ohio Valley highs of six round-trippers and 45 runs-batted-in. He slugged .828, stole seven bases and had a 5-0 pitching record with a 1.24 ERA and 85 punchouts in 51 frames.
Roane County senior Hunter Thompson made the first team for a third straight campaign. The Raider and fellow Braxton County senior Troy McMillion were the two backstops. Thompson, who had a .976 fielding percentage and threw out six of 14 runners trying to steal, hit .299 with six doubles, 13 RBIs and 17 steals. On the mound, he went 5-2 with a 2.46 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 42 2-3 innings. McMillion gunned down 15 of 24 would-be base-stealers and had 10 pickoffs. He batted .414 and slugged .671.
Drew Kinder of Roane County also made the first team for the second time in his career, landing an infield spot. During his final year with the Raiders, Kinder swiped 23 bags, posted a .400 average, had nine doubles, two triples, a homer and 15 runs-batted-in.
Williamstown’s Mason Adkins and Braxton County senior Seth Backus were the only other picks to make first team for a second time. Backus, who went 6-1 with a 1.79 ERA and hit .410, was honored as one of the three pitchers. The left-handed junior Adkins managed a .384 average, but thanks to getting plunked 18 times and drawing 24 base on balls (against just six strikeouts), he had a .652 OBP. Along with stealing 25 bases, he had three doubles, one three-bagger, five bombs and drove in 19.
The other two pitchers on the first team were Ravenswood senior Nathan Curtis and Williamstown junior Bradan Mullenix. Curtis (7-1, 1 save, 1.88 ERA, 74 Ks, 44.2 IP) not only excelled on the bump, but he also had 35 runs-batted-in, 10 doubles, two home runs and batted .413. Mullenix went 4-0 with a save and posted a 2.33 ERA in 36 innings of work. He had 30 strikeouts and also batted .379 with three doubles, a triple and a homer to go along with 18 RBIs.
Joining Swain, Adkins and Kinder on the first-team infield were Braxton County junior Tayton Stout (.413 AVG, 13 SBs) and Tyler Consolidated senior Nate Lantz, who batted .448 with six doubles, two triples, 17 RBIs and 18 steals.
Along with Poling, the entire all-LKC first-team outfield were all seniors. Williamstown’s Bryce Haer, who made just one error on the year, hit .447, stole 12 bags, knocked in 24 and contributed nine doubles, a trio of triples and two taters. Nic Taylor of Ravenswood had 15 steals, batted .354 and finished with seven doubles, a triple and 22 RBIs. He also drew 19 free passes and fanned just four times. Braden Barnhart of St. Marys finished with seven doubles, one bomb, 17 RBIs, 18 stolen bases and hit .386.
Calhoun County’s Caden Hicks was honored as the lone utility selection on the first unit. The junior Red Devil batted .439 with four doubles, a triple, 10 steals and 13 runs-batted-in. He also went down on strikes just five times.
The LKC second team featured 15 players, including catchers Caleb Taylor of St. Marys and Parkersburg Catholic’s Ty Sturm. Tyler Consolidated’s Dylan Roberts was the utility pick.
Tyler Consolidated’s Luke Daugherty, Roane County’s Stan Kinder and Clay County’s Blake Belcher made the second unit as hurlers. The infielders consisted of Clay County’s Caleb Wynn, Ravenswood’s Blake Bennett, Doddridge County’s Tanner Lett, Williamstown’s Bradan Mullenix and Ritchie County’s Connor Frye.
Cullen Cutright of Williamstown, Braxton County’s Ben Fincham, Parkersburg Catholic’s Ryan Roedersheimer and Clay County’s Colton Moore were all-LKC second-team outfielders.