By Carl Holcomb
Moorefield Examiner –
Moorefield Baseball enters the 2014 campaign with a plan to improve on last season with the right pieces to the puzzle.
The Yellow Jackets have seen older players fly away, but now it is time for the younger ones to join together and soar to victories.
Moorefield lost key players to its pitching arsenal and various roles on the field, but each new piece to the season is united to complete the puzzle.
“We are trying to find the pieces to complete the puzzle. We lost a lot of innings, but these guys play very hard,” Moorefield skipper Wade Armentrout entering his 15th season at the helm declared.
Armentrout has a career record of 258-123 and the Yellow Jackets look to increase the win total with a finished puzzle resulting in a trip to Charleston.
Moorefield had a 20-9 record last year.
It will be difficult after losing seven quality seniors, but the wisdom of their leadership has been passed down to the younger members ready to emerge from the Hive.
This year’s senior duo of Seth Stickley and Joe McNeil will provide solid leadership by example in putting each piece in the right spot.
During the first scrimmage of the season against Keyser, Moorefield had good pitching performances from senior Seth Stickley, junior Austin Williams, sophomore Jestin Cosner, and freshman Holden Sions in the varsity contest.
Stickley, Cosner, Williams, Dakota Vetter, and Wil Schoonover are listed as varsity pitchers for the season, but promising pitchers from the junior varsity squad include freshmen Sions, Anthony Andrews, Sloan Williams, and Seth Hoyt.
These pitchers are getting ready to fill the void from last season.
“I was very pleased with the improvement from the first week of practice. The scrimmage allowed us to see how prepared we were for specific situations. The pitchers only walked four batters in seven innings. We only had three errors and we put the ball in play. We have areas that need improvement, but today was a great start for us,” Coach Armentrout commented.
On the defensive side with Sions on the mound, Moorefield created a solid infield with Williams second base, Dakota Vetter at shortstop, Stickley at third base, Byron Dolly at first base and Keaton Funk at catcher.
Junior Kile Berg is listed as a left fielder and right fielders for junior varsity and possibly varsity includes sophomore Zach Hose and freshmen Landes and Conrad.
Junior Cade Leatherman will be the center fielder in JV.
The outfield was quick with junior Tyler Smith anchoring center field while flanked by senior Joseph McNeil in left and freshman Rion Landes in right.
This was just one formation the Yellow Jackets look to utilize as other pieces to the puzzle can transpire to create a good outcome when the pitching shuffle starts.
Moorefield sophomore Wil Schoonover didn’t play in the scrimmage, but is on the roster as as a catcher and pitcher.
Two pairs of brothers Austin (2B,SS) and Sloan Williams (2B) plus Byron and Brock Dolly (1B) will share duties in the infield.
There is a myriad of possibilities with a talented group of players coming up from the junior league with state tournament experience including sophomore Jestin Cosner, and freshmen Brock Dolly, Sloan Williams, Holden Sions, Rion Landes, Seth Hoyt and Blake Conrad.
Moorefield is scheduled to start the season tonight against Pendleton County at George Hott Field.
The original season opener against Jefferson has been moved to April 11.
Moorefield will play in the Ram Hardball Classic at Strasburg, Va. this weekend which includes Strasburg, Page County and Glenvar.
The Yellow Jackets’ only other out of state competition this season will be Allegany twice in April.
Moorefield has three Class AA opponents on the schedule including Berkeley Springs, Frankfort, and Petersburg.
The Yellow Jackets have a trip to Man for a a two-day excursion with other Class A schools including Chapmanville and Buffalo on April 18-19.
Moorefield hosts defending Region II champion Notre Dame for a doubleheader on April 26.
The Hardy Boys Hardball Classic (Moorefield vs East Hardy) will be on April 4 in Baker and May 2 in Moorefield.
There is always a competitive schedule for Moorefield to piece together a winning puzzle.
East Hardy Baseball
For the first time in school history, East Hardy Baseball will have a new coach to assemble the pieces to achieve success.
Chad Williams takes the reigns of the program from baseball patriarch Raymond Snapp who compiled a 562-359 career record for the Cougars in 34 seasons.
Williams enters the 2014 season with a very young team, but the raw talent can be molded to create a positive outcome.
The main piece to the jigsaw puzzle is brand new, but the philosophy of winning remains the same.
East Hardy was the Region II runner-up last season with a record of 18-11 with a senior laden group.
The Cougars look to replace that talented group one step at a time with experience gained each day in hopes of putting together a string of victories.
East Hardy has one ace pitcher returning in senior Cole Collier who will provide great leadership which was shown early this year in football under Coach Williams.
Even with new coaching at the helm, these players have spent seasons under their tutelage.
The Cougars have a defense prepared to pounce on the ball in a hurry with promising infield talent of sophomores – Bryce Strawderman (shortstop),Dylan Fogel (1B), Jesse Miller (catcher) and juniors – Dylan Strawderman (1B), Dillon Walker (2B), Logan Strawderman (3B), Hunter Miller (1B), Kohl Strawderman (IF), Carson Whetzel (IF) .
The starting outfield will most likely be juniors Tyler Smith and Michael Miller, plus freshman Corey McDonald.
David Shifflett, a senior, will be a pitcher and outfielder.
Sophomores Tim Hahn and Dylan Fogel will get innings in the outfield.
Freshmen outfielders are Corey McDonald, Tommy Mullins, Austin Smith, and William Warwick.
Freshmen infielders are Ashton Mathias, Dylan Reel, and Austin Whetzel.
East Hardy has been concentrating on nine different fielding arrangements to see what works the best, so there may be a surprise for teams around the corner.
The Cougars started the season this past Monday against Paw Paw.
East Hardy will play tonight against Tygarts Valley for a doubleheader.
The Cougars play four Class AA schools this year: Petersburg, Frankfort, Berkeley Springs, and Keyser.
East Hardy had a slate of Class AAA opponents: Musselman, Washington, Broadway, Va., and Spring Mills.
The Cougars play rival Moorefield on April 4 (away) and on May 2 (home).
East Hardy has a revamped look gearing up to make a statement this season.