The scary thing about Drew Walker is that he feels he could have had an even better season.

With some of the gaudy numbers the Shady Spring junior has posted, that’s tough to imagine. All Walker has done is hit .504, smacked 19 doubles and driven in 41 runs.

Coach Dave Shaw certainly couldn’t ask for more.

“We put him out there and he has done the job,” Shaw said. “He works on all aspects of the game. He has improved his whole game this year. He has a good attitude and loves the game of baseball.”

“I’m seeing the ball, picking it up better than I normally do,” said Walker, who also has five home runs on the year. “I usually play a lot better in summer baseball, and I have been playing like I do during the summer.”

Walker’s offensive production has increased significantly from last year. The Tigers’ cleanup hitter this season, he batted ninth a year ago — if he hit at all.

“He struggled last year,” Shaw said. “We let him hit every now and then but we had to DH for him a lot.”

“I didn’t get as many at-bats as I would have liked,” said Walker, who hit around .250 as a sophomore. “This year I have had the opportunity to prove myself.

“Last year, if given the opportunity, I probably would have had a better season, and I could have been better this year, too.”

Brandon Redden has benefited from Walker’s emergence. Batting third in the order, Redden is hitting .500 with a team-leading six homers and 39 RBIs.

“Obviously teams do not want to walk Brandon because Drew is (behind him), and Drew has come up big in several situations,” Shaw said.

“If they don’t pitch to him, then they pitch to me. It kind of works either way,” said Walker, who is also 4-1 with a save on the mound. “Sometimes they don’t expect me to hit and don’t pitch to him. That gives me some good pitches to hit, obviously.”

Walker and the Tigers (17-15) will play in the state tournament this week for the third consecutive season. Shady and Class AA No. 7 Liberty Harrison will play Friday, 30 minutes after completion of the 11 a.m. game between Logan and Magnolia.

The Mountaineers (25-8) swept a doubleheader from Shady, 5-4 and 9-4 April 21.

“I really did expect us to go back to states,” Walker said. “I figured we would have to work really hard. We lost a lot of seniors last year. I figured it would be hard but we would go back.”

Whatever happens this week, Shaw knows the future is bright for his left fielder.

“We knew Drew would be a good ballplayer,” Shaw said. “He’s only a junior and I think he will be even better next year.

“We look for him to do good things next year, but obviously we are not done this year.”

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