The White Falcons are perched on top of Class A Baseball with their second consecutive state championship and twice as nice with two-time all-state first team pitcher Philip Hoffman leading the charge.
All-state first team junior captain Philip Hoffman garnered 18 strikeouts on 87 pitches in the semifinals and 159 Ks for the season to put Wahama intitle contention once again.
“I was in a zone. I pitched as hard as I could to win it and stayed low so they couldn’t hit it,” Wahama pitcher Philip Hoffman stated. “I knew we had it, there was no doubt. It went down like this last year to win the state championship, but things usually go our way. I threw two breaking pitches, one change-up and everything else was a fastball. I was accurate as I had been all year. I got better as the game went on. It feels just as good as last year, if not better. We had a little more hitting last year, but our defense is definitely good this year and we are ready to go. Even if I didn’t have the strikeouts, my defense would have had me. It’s hard to stay in the game when I pitch, they usually don’t hit on the first pitch. I get dialed in for the whole game.”
Wahama skipper Jack Cullen recognizes Hoffman as the heart of the team and having him on the mound was vital to the success, but his hitting was equally as impressive.
Hoffman connected for a .530 batting average entering the state tournament with 34 RBIs and owned a 0.49 ERA on the mound with a 9-4 record and 162 strikeouts through 79 innings as the White Falcons repeated as champions with a 22-10 record.
“He is the heart and soul of this team,” Coach Cullen said. “He’s our best hitter and our best pitcher, just amazing. He throws upper 80’s and just a junior. He doesn’t lead by vocal, but by what he does and how hard he plays. Having him and one of the two pitchers back from last year makes it a lot better. The core of test team that was here is back. Philip is hitting over .500 and has won eight games. The stat I think is cool about him is he is hitting over .500 and in 72 innings struck out 141 batters. To me that is fantastic. He’ll probably won’t strikeout a kid today, but we’ll see (18 more). It’s real exciting to have a chance to win it again. That’s been the kids’ goal all year. We have a shirt. That’s been their focus. I was concerned in the middle of the season with some losses we shouldn’t have had, but they bounced back. Seeing good pitching through the season helped us here.”
Joining Hoffman as pitchers on the first team squad are Buffalo senior Nick Whittington and Williamstown senior Reece Westfall.
Westfall’s overall record was 10-1 for the Yellowjackets with a 1.43 ERA with 90 Ks in 73 total frames.
The first team infield has two from the eastern panhandle as East Hardy senior Bryce Strawderman and state tournament representative Pendleton County senior Logan Cooper join fellow Region II senior Josh Baker of Notre Dame and Greater Beckley Christian junior Wil Mullins.
Strawderman had a .453 batting average with 39 runs and 22 stolen bases to help the Cougars reach the Region II semifinals.
Baker and Strawderman were given first team honors last season and their talent created another nod.
Strawderman will be playing baseball at Ohio Valley University next season.
Cooper garnered a .485 batting average with 32 runs scored in guiding the Wildcats to the state tournament with an overall record of 25-9. Mullins hit an impressive .558 with seven doubles and recorded 25 stolen bases to enable Greater Beckley Christian to reach the Region III Championship game before losing to Man by a lone run, 1-nil.
There were three Region II outfielders selected to the first team in South Harrison senior Ian Riggleman, Moorefield senior Wil Schoonover, and East Hardy junior Corey McDonald.
For Riggleman and Schoonover, this is a second first team selection in a row.
Schoonover was ominated as the second team captain and catcher last season, but this year was primarily a center fielder for the Yellow Jackets with some pitching and catching duties throughout the season.
Schoonover led Moorefield with a .402 batting average, 13 doubles, 28 RBIs, and 29 runs, plus a mound statistic of 2.72 ERA with 49 strikeouts. McDonald pounced on the ball for a .510 batting average with 15 doubles and 40 RBIs, in addition to pitching 61 strikeouts in 46 innings.
Wheeling Central Catholic junior Isaac Rine is the first team catcher who showed poise at the plate and behind the plate all season long with a .455 average., while pacing the Maroon Knights to an 18-10 record and a berth in the state title game.
The first team utility players selected were Pendleton County senior Tim Hevener, Williamstown sophomore Mason Adkins, Greater Beckley Christian senior Tanner Ray, and Sherman senior Jacob Barnett.
Hevener moved up from the second team this year with a 9-2 record as a pitcher including 15 strikeouts in the Region II semifinal game against East Hardy, plus a .385 batting average with 32 RBIs.
“They mean a lot to the leadership in the way they play and what they bring to the field every time. It’s incredible. It is going to be hard to see those two graduate. They are great kids,” Pendleton County coach Sam Yokum said.
Adkins led the Yellowjackets to the Region IV semifinals with a team best .489 batting average with 32 RBIs and 18 doubles, plus a 6-2 pitching record with 2.47 ERA with 43 Ks.
Ray paced Greater Beckley Christian with a .517 batting average with 17 doubles and 41 stolen bases in addition to pitching 74 Ks with a 2.04 ERA.
Barnett garnered a .529 batting average for Sherman with 30 RBIs and 27 runs with 10 doubles at the plate, then contributed 74 strikeouts on the mound in 57 innings.
State tournament representation on the all-state second team included Man senior pitcher Jake Adkins and Wahama senior Mason Hicks as a utility player.
Joining Adkins as second team pitchers are Huntington St. Joseph sophomore Charlie White and South Harrison senior Jacob Montgomery.
The second team infielders included St. Marys senior Michael Fox (.400, 27 runs), Doddridge County senior Drew Lett, Bishop Donahue junior John Stocklask (.437, 6-1, 1.64 ERA), and Greenbrier West junior Hunter Bevins.
The second team outfielders are Gilmer County junior Chandler Ferguson (.406, 40 runs, 17 SBs), St. Marys senior Ty Flowers (.440, 37 runs), and Wheeling Central senior Anthony Gentile.
Tygarts Valley senior catcher P.J. Lanham (.419, 32 RBIs, 28 runs) was selected as the second team captain.
The utility spots for the second team are comprised of Wahama’s Mason Hicks, Tyler Consolidated senior Jordan Baker (.411, 25 RBIs, 30 SBs, 7-1, 2.28 ERA, 53 Ks) Charleston Catholic senior Nick Russo, and East Hardy sophomore Brett Tharp (.488, 43 runs, 24 RBIs, 2-2, 2.82 ERA, 39 Ks).
“This is an outstanding and well deserved honor for all three of them,” East Hardy manager Chad Williams said. “To make first team all-state in one sport is a big deal, but for Corey and Bryce to both do it in multiple sports is a major honor. Also a huge accomplishment by Brett being mentioned somewhere on the all state team in all three sports. For Bryce this caps off a terrific baseball career.
Corey had one of the best individual seasons I have seen from an East Hardy player.”
The White Falcons flew to the mountaintop for the second straight year with tremendous pitching, hitting, and defense.
* Man’s John Thomas Keffer, Tyler Blair, Cameron Simpson and Kenny Jo Adkins were named honorable mention all-state.
Class A baseball all-state
P – Philip Hoffman, Wahama, Jr. (captain)
P – Nick Whittington, Buffalo, Sr.
P – Reece Westfall, Williamstown, Sr.
IF – Bryce Strawderman, East Hardy, Sr.
IF – Wil Mullins, Greater Beckley Christian, Jr.
IF – Logan Cooper, Pendleton County, Sr.
IF – Josh Baker, Notre Dame, Sr.
OF – Corey McDonald, East Hardy, Jr.
OF – Ian Riggleman, South Harrison, Sr.
OF – Wil Schoonover, Moorefield, Sr.
C – Isaac Rine, Wheeling Central, Jr.
UTIL – Tim Hevener, Pendleton County, Sr.
UTIL – Mason Adkins, Williamstown, So.
UTIL – Tanner Ray, Greater Beckley Christian, Sr.
UTIL – Jacob Barnett, Sherman, Sr.
P – Charlie White, Huntington St. Joe, So.
P – Jacob Montgomery, South Harrison, Sr.
P – Jake Adkins, Man, Sr.
IF – Michael Fox, St. Marys, Sr.
IF – Drew Lett, Doddridge County, Sr.
IF – Johnw Stocklask, Bishop Donahue, Jr.
IF – Hunter Bevins, Greenbrier West, Jr.
OF – Chandler Ferguson, Gilmer County, Jr.
OF – Ty Flowers, St. Marys, Sr.
OF – Anthony Gentile, Wheeling Central, Sr.
C – P.J. Lanham, Tygarts Valley, Sr. (captain)
UTIL – Mason Hicks, Wahama, Sr.
UTIL – Jordan Baker, Tyler Consolidated, Sr.
UTIL – Nick Russo, Charleston Catholic, Sr.
UTIL – Brett Tharp, East Hardy, So.
Special Honorable Mention
Brian Campbell, Wheeling Central; Tyler Riedel, Wheeling Central; Andrew Rush, Bishop Donahue; Tyler Anderson, Magnolia; Derrick Blain, Magnolia; Luke Cooper, Paden City; Hayden Hizer, Paden City; Ryan Clutter, Cameron; Cole Clutter, Cameron; Colby Bucher, Valley Wetzel; Colby Lash, Tyler Consolidated; Trevor Barnes, Huntington St. Joe; Jared Nutter, Wahama; Noah Beter, Huntington St. Joe; Jared Oliver, Wahama; Hunter Whittington, Buffalo; Luke Cooper, Pendleton County; Trey Cooper, Pendleton County; Austin Whetzel, East Hardy; Holden Sions, Moorefield; Jestin Cosner, Moorefield; Rece Wamsley, Tygarts Valley; Caleb Riggleman, Tygarts Valley; Braeden Hurst, South Harrison; Jordan Miller, Notre Dame; Cary Casto, Parkersburg Catholic; Ethyn Miller, Calhoun County; Tyler Anderson, Magnolia; Landon Travis, Williamstown; Dalton Dempsey, Fayetteville; Jordan Dempsey, Fayetteville; Noah Miller, Greater Beckley Christian; Stephen Bjork, Greater Beckley Christian; Justin Harless, Greenbrier West; Logan Cox, Richwood; Ethan Lopetrone, Valley Fayette; Noah Jones, Trinity; Justin Fike, Tucker County, Cole Price, Van.
Trey Routt, Cameron; Jon Piaskowski, Huntington St. Joe; Dalton Kearns, Wahama; Tyler Grimm, Wahama; Colton Arrington, Wahama; Tyler Blair, Man; Brandon Combs, Charleston Catholic; John Thomas Keffer, Man; Kenny Jo Adkins, Man; Dominic Marsico, Charleston Catholic; Michael Martin, Charleston Catholic; Ian O’Donnell, Buffalo; Cameron Simpson, Man; Tanner Lett, Doddridge County; Allen Metheney, Calhoun County; Bryce Roberts, Gilmer County; Zach Seibel, Notre Dame; Nate Fernandez, South Harrison; Brock Herrod, South Harrison; Brett Green, Greater Beckley Christian; Cole Kipps, Greater Beckley Christian; Craig Casto, Montcalm; Jimmie Richmond, Meadow Bridge; Dillon Pride, Clay-Battelle; Will Fenton, Fayetteville; Hunter Adkins, Midland Trail; Phoenix Evans, Richwood, Logan Wells, Bishop Donahue, Braden Barnhart, St. Marys; Greg Lail, Van; Bailey Kirk, Sherman; Jesse Miller, East Hardy.