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Chase Delauter, Jake Carr split player of the year

CHARELSTON — Jake Carr and Chase Delauter provided solid cornerstones to build upon for their teams during superb 2018-19 seasons.

Carr (St. Albans) and Delauter (Hedgesville), a pair of senior left-handed pitchers and outfielders, flashed some amazing numbers as they got their teams back to the Class AAA state tournament.

For those efforts, they share the John Lowery Award as the most outstanding baseball player in West Virginia.

They finished in tie for the honor in voting by a panel representing the West Virginia Sports Writers Association. Delauter, who won the Lowery Award last year joins fellow Eagles’ winners Daniel Heleine (2013) and Jamie Conner (1991). Carr is the first SA player to receive the award.

Carr, who has signed with West Virginia University, led the Red Dragons (34-4) to their second AAA championship in three years while Delauter, a James Madison recruit, also got the Eagles (25-9) back to Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, where he pitched one of the best state tournament games in recent years that didn’t end in a victory.

He threw a six-inning two-hitter with eight strikeouts and lost to Hurricane 1-0 in the semifinals.

St. Albans coach Rick Whitman marvels at what Carr has done for the Red Dragons, who are 95-23 over the past three seasons and captured their only two state titles.

“There’s no doubt about what he’s done for our program,” Whitman said, “and the types of numbers he’s put up not just this year, but throughout his career. He’s definitely worthy of that award. Jake has meant the world to our baseball program and has been a great representative of it.”

Carr lost only one game in the past two seasons, that coming in last year’s state tournament when he fired a one-hitter with 13 K’s but lost to Wheeling Park 1-0 in the semifinals. He also put up an astounding 53 straight innings without allowing an earned run this year, going more than two months (11 games) between a March 30 game with Parkersburg and a June 1 state tournament game versus Park.

As a senior, Carr went 7-0 on the mound, chipped in three saves and carved out a 0.33 earned run average. In 63 innings, he struck out 105 and only allowed 26 hits and 14 walks.

He batted second and played center field when he wasn’t pitching, and stacked up some great numbers there, too. Carr hit .376 and drew 41 walks, giving him a team-best on-base percentage of .592. He struck out just 11 times and was second in runs scored with 38.

Delauter’s numbers were just as numbing. As a pitcher, he went 9-2 with a 0.84 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings. He permitted only 37 hits and 18 walks.

He hit second in the order but still racked up 52 RBIs, batting an amazing .606 (63 of 104) with eight home runs, 21 doubles and scored 52 times. His OBP was nearly .700.

“He’s an all-around player,” said Hedgesville coach Eric Grove. “It’s very rare for you to find someone with the skill set that he has. He hits the ball all over the park, and hits for power to all fields and he can steal a base when he needs to. His closing speed is tremendous when he’s tracking balls in the outfield.

“I was really impressed with his approach at the plate. He hit second because we wanted someone to drive in runs or be a catalyst for the hitters behind him. He really seems to get our offense kick-started.”

Both players proved their mettle during the state tournament.

In the semifinals, Carr worked 62/3 innings of four-hit ball and fanned 11 as SA beat Wheeling Park 4-1. In the finals, a 5-0 win against defending champion Hurricane, Carr went 2 for 2 with a walk. His third-inning RBI triple gave SA a 1-0 lead and he scored moments later on a groundout to make it 2-0.

Delauter hooked up with Hurricane’s Jonathan Blackwell in a classic pitchers’ duel in the other AAA semifinal, needing just 78 pitches to go the distance on his two-hitter with eight K’s and one walk. Delauter retired Hurricane in order in five of his six innings, allowing both hits, all three baserunners and the game’s lone run in the bottom of the fifth. He also went 1 for 2 at the plate with a double and drew a base on balls.

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