The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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April 22, 2014

Panthers look for post-beach success

PikeView coming off a title at Mingo Bay Classic last week

A trip to the beach usually means relaxation and the need for extra sunscreen.

For PikeView, it means winning baseball.

The Panthers made their annual trip to Myrtle Beach last week for the Mingo Bay Classic, and this time came away with a trophy. A 14-2 win over Oak Glen on Friday wrapped up a 3-2 trip and the title in the Carolina Forest division.

It was the first Mingo Bay title for PikeView, which moved up to No. 7 in Class AA in the latest West Virginia Sports Writers Poll. But it’s always been more about the way the Panthers play once they return to Mercer County.

In head coach Josh Wyatt’s first three seasons, the Panthers were a combined 29-7 after spring break.

“The beach has always been a successful trip for us, even if we don’t win,” Wyatt said. “We get in situations we don’t always get to see here, and we see everybody’s best (pitcher) every day. Hopefully we can carry on that (post-beach) winning tradition this year.”

PikeView (11-6) has been more of a complete team than perhaps ever, getting quality pitching, sufficient hitting and capable defense. Wyatt knows not all three phases are going to click simultaneously every game, so he likes knowing that one aspect can make up for another having a bad night.

Case in point, the Panthers’ win over Beekmantown, N.Y., the night before the title game. PikeView’s hitting was nowhere to be found.

No problem. Beekmantown’s hitting was completely nonexistent. Sophomore PikeView hurler Levi Nash threw a no-hitter in the 1-0 victory.

There have been a number of individual performances to stand out for the Panthers.

Carter Shrewsbury, a sophomore center fielder, is hitting .472 and has a .606 on-base percentage as the leadoff hitter. He has been successful on 13 of 19 stolen base attempts.

Shrewsbury does his part to get PikeView into the middle of its lineup, where the likes of Austin Cordell (.532, 22 runs batted in) and catcher Hunter Moses (.436, 100 career hits) await.

Jon Clark (.367) has also been big for the Panthers.

On the mound, senior Zach Meadows is 4-0 with a 3.50 earned run average in five appearances. Freshman Jacob Harmon has been a pleasant surprise, posting a 4-1 record and 1.19 ERA.

He had a rough outing against Wyoming East, but Wyatt said Harmon’s maturity has blossomed because of it.

“The great thing is seeing that he learned from that game,” Wyatt said. “He won two of three games down south.”

PikeView will host Liberty at 5:30 p.m. today. The Raiders have handed PikeView two of its six losses.

— E-mail: gfauber@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @GaryFauber.

 

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