Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

June 7, 2013

Baseball’s best

PikeView places three for All-FSC first team honors

BLUEFIELD — The season has come to an end for local high school baseball teams.

For the first time in the last four years, no area team was able to advance past the state quarterfinals into the Final Four of their respective states.

Actually, though, that fact could be called a refreshing change.

There was a time when one had to wonder if baseball would ever mount a challenge for a state championship on the diamond.

All that has changed in the last three years.

Princeton won the Class AAA state title last year in West Virginia, while Honaker claimed Tom Harding’s first Group A crown in Virginia in 2011. A year before, both Princeton and James Monroe reached Charleston, with the Mavericks advancing to the Class AA finals, falling to Braxton County.

What a nice run of success, and look for it to continue into the future with PikeView, Princeton and Honaker all coming within one win this year of returning to the state semifinals.

Upon first arriving in Bluefield in 2005, it seemed like the best chance for success on the diamond would come from the Virginia side in Tazewell and Richlands, but those schools always struggle when it comes time to play such Roanoke-area schools as Hidden Valley, Tunstall and Cave Spring.

Schools in West Virginia, outside of possibly Mount View, didn’t seem to have any hope to getting to Charleston either. That has changed, as new coaches have come in and put an emphasis on the game at schools like Princeton, PikeView, Bluefield, James Monroe and even Montcalm.

Oh, how far some of those schools have come.

Perhaps now, after doing an all-area team in football and basketball for the last eight years, it is time to add another sport and unleash the All-Four Seasons Country baseball team.

These teams are fun to compile and fun to discuss, but it’s difficult to do because of the lack of help from area coaches with the reporting of games.

There is more emphasis on the sport in many of our area schools, but coaches still have to be coaxed to call in results since the small Daily Telegraph staff can’t possibly get to every game.

The rate of calls has improved, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. There are just too many games to get to all of them so help is needed. Some teams help, many more don’t.

Despite two minor league baseball teams in the same county, this will always be a football area first.

That is fine, but there are plenty of good baseball players in the area.

Why not try something different, to provide baseball with the additional coverage that the sport so richly deserves.

Here is the 2013 All-Four Seasons Country baseball team. It is just one man’s opinion. There will be some who disagree, which is fine.

Some players might be out of position, but these are baseball players ... they can adjust to the needs of the team.

Below are the top two teams — which includes 13 players each with three pitchers, an extra infielder and a utility player — along with a collection of 32 honorable mention selections.

In all, 18 schools are represented on the squad.

Here goes:

The top two awards go to PikeView.

Kevin Cottle is the All-FSC Player of the Year, leading the Panthers with a 9-3 mark on the mound with a 2.50 ERA, 92 strikeouts and even recorded two saves. He also batted .323 with 28 RBIs among his 25 hits.

PikeView’s Josh Wyatt is the All-FSC Coach of the Year. The Panthers’ skipper, whose Panthers won nine games just three years ago, led this edition of PikeView baseball to a 23-11 record, coming within an extra inning loss to Independence from reaching the Class AA state tournament.

The remainder of the team can found below:

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