The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

July 14, 2012

Strong just that for the Miners

Western Carolina sophomore has been consistent at third base for West Virginia

BECKLEY — Once the puns on Bradley Strong’s surname are out of your system, you can truly appreciate the talent of the West Virginia Miners’ all-star third baseman.

Strong has been arguably the team’s best player, either the No. 1 or 2 hitter all season. And his — ahem — strong throws across the diamond have amazed the fans.

He just finished his freshman year at Western Carolina, which might make his success surprising to some. But Strong felt all along that he was set to have a big summer.

“I definitely had high expectations for myself and for the team,” Strong said Friday, after the Miners’ game with Richmond was postponed because of rain. “I got off to a good start, although here lately I have kind of cooled down. But I want to continue to do big things for this team.”

Even with a recent mini-slump, Strong has been a major catalyst for West Virginia.

Strong is eighth in the Prospect League with a .348 batting average. He has scored 30 runs and driven in 21 while hitting six doubles and four triples. His 16 stolen bases are tied for fourth in the league, four behind leader and teammate Luke Meeteer.

Strong’s stellar first half was rewarded with a starting spot in Wednesday’s All-Star game. He was 0 for 2 with a walk, and the East Division lost 10-1, giving the West homefield advantage in the best-of-three league championship series.

Strong would have preferred a win, but is thankful for the experience.

“The travel out there (to Springfield, Ill.) was not the best, but it was a blessing to be in that game,” he said. “In an all-star game, everybody is good, and it was good to learn from the other players and implement it to your game.”

A Richlands, Va., native, Strong is actually a second-year Miner. He arrived late in the season last summer and played second base.

He was a middle infielder while playing for his father, Brad, at Richlands High, where he was the 2011 Virginia high school player of the year. When he got to Western Carolina, there was an opening at third base that he had little trouble filling.

He did commit 13 errors at the corner, but his offense didn’t suffer. Strong hit .305 with 27 runs scored and 24 RBIs while playing in all 55 games for the Catamounts, 46 of them starts.

Strong has developed a reputation for his lazer throws from third to first.

“I learned from (the move to third base) every day,” Strong said. “But my background playing shortstop helped develop my arm.”

Playing on the artificial turf at Linda K. Epling Stadium certainly doesn’t hurt Strong’s defense.

“It (the ball) comes at you pretty quick, but you are able to trust the ball,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about bad hops.”

Along with his obvious skills, what also stands out about Strong is a confidence that belies his 19 years. Playing for a Southern Conference team that beat the likes of Clemson and Georgia will help in that department.

“There is definitely some good competition in this league,” Strong said. “But playing in the Southern Conference this year sped up my learning curve.”

The Miners already have their spot in the league playoffs secured, so they could go winless the rest of the second half and be OK. But Strong isn’t worried about the team staying motivated.

“All the guys want to win,” he said. “The Eplings, they do so much for us, winning is the least we can do. They do a great job with the facility and everything else. All of us will give it our all.

“I want to finish strong and help this team win a championship.”

No pun intended.


West Virginia (25-13 overall, 4-3 second half) and Richmond (21-16, 6-1) will play a doubleheader today starting at 4:05 p.m. Both games will be scheduled for seven innings.

It will be Chick-fil-A Night at the stadium.

— E-mail: gfauber@

Text Only
Latest Sports
  • 042014 old white Happy birthday to The Old White

    As Greenbrier owner Jim Justice proudly stood behind the podium on the first tee box addressing a crowd at the 100th anniversary of the historic Old White TPC Course, a surprise guest emerged from the bushes by the tennis center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042014 bubba Watson becoming a West Virginian

    Greenbrier owner Jim Justice was glued to the television a week ago today, watching Bubba Watson try to chase down his second green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042014 spartans LOCAL ROUNDUP: Spartans win Spring Break Wooden Bat Classic

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • St. Joe’s Lewis named 2014 High School Coach of the Year

    Huntington St. Joseph girls basketball coach Shannon Lewis has made a habit of celebrating success in Charleston over the last few years.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 old white Old White to celebrate 100 years

    The home of The Greenbrier Classic will be having a birthday today, and the celebration should be something special.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mullens, Pineville to meet in Anderson Memorial

    After many years away from the sideline, legendary Mullens High School coach Don Nuckols is returning to the game of basketball.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 D'Antoni Lakers mum on D’Antoni

    Mike D’Antoni was still the Los Angeles Lakers’ coach when he left their training complex to spend the Easter weekend out of town with his family.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 gibby WVU trying to find speed on defense

    Tony Gibson took over as West Virginia’s new defensive coordinator over the winter with the goal of trying not to do too much to rock the boat. As the fourth coach to hold that spot in as many years, the Van native — in his second stint as a Mountaineer assistant — knew that his players needed some stability.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041814 Sisler Diamond Classic continues today

    Fayetteville pitcher Kaitlyn Sisler pitched five innings of shutout softball as the Pirates beat Oak Hill 10-0 Wednesday in the Diamond Classic in Fayetteville.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • D’Antoni’s Lakers future still unclear

    With the Los Angeles Lakers season officially over — the Lakers beat the Spurs 113-100 Wednesday but finished 27-55 overall, the most losses in the club’s history and the franchise’s worst winning percentage since the Minneapolis Lakers in 1957-58 — Marshall fans will be keeping a close eye on what’s going on in Tinsel Town over the coming days.

    April 17, 2014