The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

June 23, 2013

A day to remember for Cavs Nation

Tincher honored as wrestling coach of year at North-South football game

By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor

— By Gary Fauber

Assistant Sports Editor

When Jeremy Tincher attended the North-South All-Star Football Classic eight days ago, he knew he would be honored with his second coach of the year award in four months.

But he was more interested in the Greenbrier West influence on that night’s annual event.

Tincher was recognized as the Wrestling Coach of the Year by the West Virginia Coaches Association during a halftime ceremony at the game, which included two of his former wrestlers in Zach Johnson and Tyler Parker.

“It was a great day for Greenbrier West,” Tincher said. “Two of our kids, who are also wrestlers, played great and won the game, and I got recognized at halftime.

“Very happy for Cavs Nation.”

One of the South team assistant coaches was Greenbrier West head football coach Lewis McClung. Tincher is an assistant to McClung.

When Greenbrier West left Huntington on a late February night as the state’s Class AA-A wrestling champion, crowning three individual title winners in the process, Tincher walked away with some hardware of his own. The 1988 Greenbrier West graduate was named the Dix Manning Class AA/A Coach of the Year.

Last Saturday, he added another award to help honor his most memorable season in Cavalier wrestling history.

Tincher coached West to its first state wrestling championship, edging rival Independence by 12 points. Dustin Yoakum (132 pounds), Malik Boatwright (152) and Parker (170) won individual championships.

The Cavaliers won championships in their final eight tournaments, including the AA title at the WSAZ Invitational. They finished as the overall runner-up to Huntington, which went on to win the Class AAA state title.

Johnson and Parker were the only seniors on Tincher’s team. Ten of the 14 starters last season were sophomores.

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Anyone who thought Sam Lewis had pitched his final game in West Virginia was wrong.

The former West Virginia Miner will be in the bullpen for the Burlington Royals when they visit the Princeton Rays for a three-game series starting today. First pitch is slated for 6:05 p.m. at Hunnicutt Field.

The plan is for Lewis to relieve today's starter, Jake Newberry, and for the two to reverse roles at a later date. Figuring a five-man rotation, that could be Friday in the last of a three-game set at the Bluefield Blue Jays.

Lewis will have a personal cheering section during his six-day visit to the Mountain State — his host family from last summer plans to attend and watch him make his fifth-ever appearance as a professional pitcher.

“It will be nice being back in the area again,” Lewis said in a text message.

Lewis established himself last season as arguably the best pitcher in the Miners’ first three years of existence. He opened the season with a no-hitter against Slippery Rock, then did it again at Lorain County. They are the only two no-hitters in team history.

Lewis finished the season 8-1 with a 2.70 earned run average and had 71 strikeouts in 70 innings pitched.

He went out with a flourish, setting a Miners record with 18 strikeouts in a complete-game 4-1 win over Dubois County in the first game of the Prospect League championship series.

Shortly after that performance, Lewis signed as a free agent with the Kansas City Royals and was assigned to the Idaho Falls Chukars of the short season Pioneer League. In four appearances, he was 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA.

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The presence of Lewis won’t be the lone Miner connection at Hunnicutt Field.

Steve Crosier, who served as the Miners’ hitting coach last summer, is back with the P-Rays as their strength and conditioning coach. He served in that same capacity in 2011.

Crosier is a former All-American at West Virginia State before starting a successful career as a high school coach. He took South Charleston to three state tournament berths during his 11-year tenure there.

He then concentrated on his strength and conditioning career, with stops in the New York Mets organization — including a stint with Kingsport of the Appalachian League — and New Mexico State.

Crosier said recently that he relished his time with the Miners and appreciates everything the Epling family did for him during his summer in Beckley.

— E-mail: gfauber@