The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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June 12, 2013

AA All-State team filled with local talent

Five land on first-team roster

BECKLEY — When Drew D’Angelo and Wyatt Adkins transfered to Independence from Oak Hill, the Patriots didn’t just get more firepower for their offense. There was also the defensive benefit — D’Angelo, the second baseman, and Adkins, the shortstop, combined for 20 double plays.

For all the impact they had on the Patriots’ run to the state tournament, D’Angelo and Adkins were two of five area players selected to the Class AA All-State first team, released Wednesday by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

D’Angelo, a senior, and Adkins, a junior, hit leadoff and at the No. 2 spot, respectively, in Indy’s lineup and provided consistent table-setting for the power hitters.

D’Angelo hit .505 (57-for-113) on the year. More than half of his hits went for extra bases — 21 doubles, four triples and four home runs. He scored 57 runs and drove in 20, and struck out just once in 110 at-bats before a 7-3 loss to eventual state champion Herbert Hoover in the state semifinals.

Adkins also had a huge year for Independence, batting .444 with a pair of homers and 34 RBIs. He had nine doubles and five triples and a 1.230 OPS.

Liberty, which had a strong regular season before fizzling out just before sectional tournaments began, is represented on the first team by outfielder Joey Lacek. The senior blistered the ball to the tune of a .515 average. He hit 12 doubles and four triples and tied for the team lead with 42 RBIs.

Wyoming East senior Zach Whitten is the first-team catcher. Whitten batted a whopping .547 for the Warriors, who won the 2012 state championship. He also led the team with five homers and 11 doubles and was second with 31 RBIs. Whitten showed good speed for a catcher, successful on 26 of 34 stolen base attempts.

PikeView senior Kevin Cottle was one of the area’s best-kept secrets and was rewarded with his selection as one of three first-team pitchers. The right-hander was 9-3 with a 2.50 earned run average and had 92 strikeouts. He only allowed three extra-base hits in 86 2-3 innings.

Derek Thornton of Wyoming East and Jeremy McGinnis of Independence landed on the second team as pitchers. Thornton went 7-3 with a 2.12 ERA with 64 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 59 1-3 innings. McGinnis, who hit .392 and had eight doubles as the Patriots’ catcher, was 5-0 with one save and a 1.03 ERA.

Liberty sophomore Dylan Keel is a second-team infielder. The first baseman batted .430 and was tied with Lacek with 42 RBIs. He also smacked 12 doubles.


Herbert Hoover High School’s Corey Bird left his mark on the state high school baseball tournament the last two seasons, playing in four games and ending his varsity career with a Class AA state title.

The centerfielder and pitcher, who is headed to Marshall University, said individual awards are secondary to team awards.

Nevertheless, he caps his decorated Hoover legacy by repeating as captain of the Class AA All-State first team.

He said it didn't get any better than winning a state championship, but being the captain of the all-state team for the second consecutive season isn't bad either.

“That's pretty big, but winning championships … that's we strive for and we did it,” said Bird, who batted .467 with a double, six stolen bases, five runs and four RBI in the four state tourney games. “It's still pretty cool.”

In four seasons, Bird played in 120 games — four in the state tournament as a junior and senior — with a .457 career average, 184 runs, 25 doubles, 10 triples, 79 walks, 119 stolen bases, 100 RBI and only 16 strikeouts. Bird had 55 stolen bases in 35 games this season. The state record for steals is owned by Wahama's Mike Lewis, who stole 80 bases in 56 games in 1974 during the era of unlimited scheduling. Lewis averaged 1.43 stolen bases per game. In 35 games in 2013, Bird averaged 1.57 steals a contest.

Helping Bird's cause this season was his work as a pitcher, where he had a 5-1 record and a 1.17 earned run average in only 30 innings with 49 strikeouts and nine walks. He picked up the win in Hoover's state championship victory over Fairmont Senior.

Joining Bird in the outfield is senior Zach Null, who was a left-handed center fielder, shortstop and pitcher for the Indians and batted .489 with 28 RBI and 10 doubles. Null was a second-team selection as a junior.

The pitching staff includes Hoover junior Tristan Fields, who has the distinction of starting both State Tournament games for the state champion yet not receiving a decision. In his third season for the Huskies, he finished 7-1 with a 2.21 earned run average with 74 strikeouts in 57 innings.

Fairmont Senior senior Andrew Strand, the Polar Bears' starter in the Class AA title game against Hoover, was named to the first team staff. He didn't receive a decision in his team's 7-5 title-game defeat, preserving his 6-0 record with 56 strikeouts in 43 innings and a 1.79 earned run average in the Polar Bears' first season as a Class AA program.

Strand has a pair of teammates on the first team in senior infielder Fletcher Devaul and senior utility player Matt Robbins. Devaul was the starting shortstop for the Polar Bears, batting .511 with 26 RBI, eight doubles and only four strikeouts. Robbins played every position in his four seasons, according to Coach Steve Naternicola. In 2013, he batted .391 with 39 runs, 21 RBI and 17 stolen bases. As a pitcher, he was 5-2 with 65 strikeouts, 12 walks and a 1.79 ERA in 43 innings. Robbins was a first-team pick as a Class AAA utility player in 2012.

Robert C. Byrd's Colton Bonnett, a second-team utility player as a sophomore in 2012 when his team was Class AAA, earned first-team Class AA honors on the infield this season. Bonnett batted .467 with 22 RBI and 32 stolen bases as a shortstop. Bonnett also committed only 11 errors in 29 games.

Fairmont Senior's Robbins was one of four utility players on the 15-member first team. Other players chosen for utility spots were Oak Glen junior Vincent Haddox, Ritchie County senior D.J. Burgess and Bridgeport senior Troy Anderson.

Haddox had a 5-4 record with a 2.02 earned run average and 84 strikeouts in 652/3 innings. He also batted .526 with 31 RBI and four home runs.

Burgess batted .471 with three home runs and 41 RBI. He also had a 5-3 record and two saves with a 1.83 ERA. He pitched 46 innings and struck out 40 batters.

Anderson batted .355 with 47 RBI and 10 doubles for the Class AA semifinalist Indians. He started at pitcher in the State Tournament semifinal against Fairmont Senior.

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