CHAPMANVILLE — Longtime Chapmanville Regional High School baseball coach Eric Ellis received a great honor this week.
Ellis, entering his 15th year as the head coach of the Tigers, was named as the National Federation of High School Coaches Mid-East Sectional Coach of the Year.
Ellis was one of eight regional winners from across the United States and was up for National Coach of the Year.
The Mid-East honor spans the states of West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.
Ellis was also the WVSSAC Baseball Coach of the Year for all classes for the 2015 season.
Ellis led the Chapmanville baseball team to a 30-6 record and a Class AA state runner-up finish in 2015. The Tigers, which went 11-1 and won the Cardinal Conference championship, lost 5-0 to Bridgeport on June 6 in the state title game after topping Oak Glen 8-5 in the semifinals.
Ellis said he was humbled with the awards.
“I was one of eight finalists in the US for the National Coach of the Year. I’m very humbled and very shocked,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned the award is a reflection of the program. It’s a program award and not an individual award. I’m gratified for all of the hard work the players have put in.”
The Tigers won 3-2 at Herbert Hoover in the Class AA regional championship game and took the sectional title two games to none over Scott last year. A 2-1 win at Wayne in the regional semifinals also advanced the Tigers.
Ellis replaced his dad, legendary Chapmanville baseball coach Ted Ellis, in 2002. The elder Ellis had coached the Tigers’ baseball team for more than 30 years and also won the same Mid-East Coach of the Year honors in 1991.
“That’s pretty cool to have a father and son win the same award,” Eric Ellis said.
Chapmanville has been known as a baseball factory over the decades, producing good team after good team year in and year out and placing many players into the collegiate and even professional ranks.
The Tigers will have their work cut out this spring, however.
The road back to Charleston will be a tough one as Chapmanville will have some rebuilding to do following the graduation of seven senior starters — Trey Dalton, Tristan Thompson, Josh Browning, Tyler Neil, Austin Ellis, Jordan Cook and Joe Zigmond.
Dalton and Thompson were Chapmanville two pitching aces.
Thompson was one of Chapmanville’s leading hitters and its starting shortstop.
The Tigers, faced with the loss of starters in past years, have always seemed to reload. At Chapmanville, there always seems to be baseball talent ready to step forward.
“We lose quite a few but don’t count us out,” Ellis said. “We’ve got a class act program down at Chapmanville. We’ve got a team and we’ll be back. We lost some good pitching but we feel like we will be competitive. The boys will work hard but we hope to reload. That’s the expectation and we’ll be using the next man philosophy.”
CRHS is scheduled to open the 2016 baseball season on March 22 at home against Tolsia. The Tigers are slated to play the Rebels on the road on April 14 for the first time in many years. Tolsia High School is currently building a brand new baseball field at the school. Tolsia has been without a home field the last five years.
Chapmanville is not scheduled to play county rival Logan this season. The two teams haven’t met in five years.
The Tigers and Wildcats, however, will renew their rivalry on the baseball diamond in 2017 as LHS rejoins the Cardinal Conference next school year.
Also on Chapmanville’s schedule this spring are games against 3A teams Point Pleasant, Hurricane and Lincoln County.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).