AP NEWS

Pratt eyes success for SV baseball

March 15, 2019

SPRING VALLEY — Head coach Austin Pratt leads his Spring Valley baseball team into the 2019 baseball season with hopes the group that returns many of last year’s starters can build on the postseason run that saw the Timberwolves knock off both Cabell Midland and Hurricane.

Eventually, the Redskins did claim the sectional crown, but Spring Valley put the other four teams on notice. Beginning Thursday, Spring Valley starts its quest to challenge for sectional supremacy when the Timberwolves begin its season by hosting Huntington St. Joe.

“We’ve got some talented kids who have some college interest and some professional potential,” said Pratt who enters his second year leading the Timberwolves.

Pratt graduated from Spring Valley in 2006 and started his college career at Bluefield State and then finished at Marshall.

The Timberwolves finished 2018 with a 10-12 regular season record with pitcher Cody Sharp,

third baseman Hunter Bello my and calchcr Tanner Akers picking up second-team all-Mountain State Athletic Conference honors.

Cameron Hodge picked up all-MSAC special honorable mention and Hank Hinchman earned a spot on the conference’s honorable mention list.

Hodge, Sharp, Seth Damron and Wyatt Milum are left-handed pitchers who will give the Timberwolves four left-handed pitchers for teams to face plus they will be joined by right-handers Tyrus Baumgardner and Levi Smith.

Pratt said his pitchers are a strength for the team headed into the season.

“Cody pitched well in the sectional against Cabell Midland, and Cameron and Tyrus pitched well in the win against Hurricane,” Pratt said.

Offense, however, will be strong also.

Bellomy, a Davis & Elkins signee, will again man the hot corner with Milum playing first base when he isn’t pitching. Caleb Hensley brings senior experience to the shortstop position with Akers returning behind the plate. Thomas Slusher and Dylan Bordelais will play infield as well.

Outfield is a bit of a question mark for Pratt and the Timberwolves entering the year. Pratt said the three starting outfielders lack experience in the position but their offensive skills necessitate having Hinchman, Bailey McKinney and Baumgardner as well.

“Our outfield is inexperienced but I feel like if they get more and more reps then they’ll get better,” Pratt said.

Pratt said Cody Sharp will hit in the designated hitter spot in the lineup but also possesses the mentality to come in out of the bullpen. Thru scrimmages against Point Pleasant and Russell, Pratt said his closer will be by committee.

Pratt said if rain forces Spring Valley to postpone the Huntington St. Joe contest, the game would be moved to Friday. He added a Saturday game against Hurricane has already been pushed back to noon Saturday to allow more time for weather to warm up.