COLUMN: Grant Hussey’s summer to remember

Baseball gifting big, shiny packages to Parkersburg South’s Grant Hussey shouldn’t be surprising by now.

The Patriot dedicates sizable quantities of time, sweat and energy to the sport he has loved since childhood. This fall giving up basketball to focus on baseball fulltime. Effort not ignored by the baseball gods.

Already a recipient of prodigious diamond talents, Hussey unwrapped the summer of a lifetime shortly after Hurricane eliminated the Patriots from the Class AAA high school regional tournament, 4-3, on May 24.

Three months spent playing ball in front of college scouts, a big decision out of the way, along with a huge honor were the presents waiting for an unwrapping by the sophomore.

Signs of wear and tear along with a few holes in the packaging weren’t disappointments for Hussey on the first gift freed from tissue paper. Having already accepted an invitation to play on the elite Kentucky Baseball Club a year earlier, the 14-year old was prepared for this blessing.

“The last day of school I was gone and in Kentucky playing ball,” said Hussey with a smile on his face. “We played every weekend from June into July. It is the most fun I have ever had playing travel baseball.”

No grinding required as the talent on the team was stellar across the board. Each young man feeding off each other from game to game. The pressure to perform was high but Hussey didn’t give any of it a second thought. “I just went out and performed,” he said.

Colleges noticed his cool demeanor.

Duke, South Carolina, Kentucky, Louisville, Eastern Kentucky and Marshall all took an interest in the young man from Washington, W.Va.

Interest falling on deaf ears July 21 following a short phone call in the car returning home from the Perfect Game WWBA 15U National Championship in Atlanta, Ga.

WVU baseball recruiting coordinator Steve Sabins waited on the other end of the line with some great news for Hussey. The Mountaineer program was offering him an official spot on the Class of 2021.

WVU head coach Randy Mazey and staff were impressed with Hussey’s tools after several viewings at Mountaineer camps. Hussey’s was a skillset the Mountaineers hoped to have on the roster in the future.

The offer to play as a Mountaineer was a dream come true for the Patriot. He waited a week before responding with a hard verbal commitment.

Whether Hussey becomes a Mountaineer is a different story. A declaration for the Major League Baseball draft can be made after his senior year. “It is an interesting decision,” said Hussey. “But I still have some time before I have to make that call.”

One quandary requiring zero discussion time?

An opportunity to play in the nationally televised 2018 Perfect Game 14u Select Festival, the nation’s premier 14U event, Sept. 2 at the Red Sox spring training facility in Fort Myers, Fla.

Just 44 players were selected to display their talents to the nation on ESPN. Though he was firmly entrenched in his college decision, the chance to play among other MLB draft hopefuls proved too sweet to pass up.

“I participated in their showcase on Aug. 3,” said Hussey. “And the director of the event told my dad and I to head to the press box. They had cameras set up recording everything and they offered and I said yes.”

Not only were his skills in the field on display, but his interview chops got a workout as well. A five-minute interview session allowed him to share his work ethic with viewers. While in the batting cages during a weather delay, Hussey talked about the importance of always getting better when you have the time.

“There is always room to improve,” he told the ESPN reporter as his opening remark.

Those extra practice swings helped him net a run-batted-in and score himself. Two at-bats and two balls in play against the top competition in the country? I call that a pretty great outing.

When asked if he was overwhelmed at any point in the summer, Hussey responded in the negative.

“I was a little worried about missing out on being a kid and hanging with my friends,” said Hussey. “But I knew if I did everything I did now it was only going to help in the long run. I could see my friends when I was home. I have no complaints about how the summer went at all and wouldn’t do anything differently.”

Contact Joe Albright at jalbright@newsandsentinel.com.

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