Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The West Virginia Outlaws will begin play Saturday with a trip to Wake Forest University to compete in the Impact Baseball Wood Bat Tournament. The Outlaws are a select travel program for players between the ages of 14 and 18.
The team was originally formed in 2013 as the West Virginia Red Hats and based out of Beckley. However, the team was re-established this season in Bluefield as an 18u program.
The Outlaws roster is made up of some of the top high school talent from Southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia. The team pulls from high schools within a two-hour radius of Bluefield.
This year’s roster includes Addison Wood (Princeton), Austin Cordell (PikeView), River Michaels (Richlands) and Brandon Waldron (Richlands). Also on the team are Brian Sexton of Independence, Greenbrier East standouts Colby Johnson, Tyler Canterbury and Ethan Boone, Chapmanville’s Tristan Thompson and Nick Brumfield, Braden Griffin of Man, Breyer Morgan of Westside, George Washington’s Austin Henrich and Clayton Anderson, Druw Bowen of Valley Fayette, Cooper Osborne of Clay County, and Isaac Koontz of Ripley.
The team was established by head coach Joe Riffe. Riffe is a former player at Bluefield State, former Recruiting Coordinator at WVU Tech, and former coach at Mount View High School. Assistant Coaches include Virgil Phillips and Jimmy Moore. The three have been coaching together for several years. Phillips and Moore have both worked camps and recruited for multiple high school, travel, and college programs. Also joining the staff this year is Rusty Poe. Poe played and served as an assistant coach at Bluefield State and played semi-pro ball for the Brunswick Orioles.
The mission of the Outlaws program is simple according to Riffe, “We want to form a roster of the top players in our area, allow them the opportunity to gain knowledge from an experienced staff, provide them the opportunity to play in top-notch tournaments against college-level competition, perform in front of countless pro and college scouts, and also mentor them as they go through the college recruiting process.
“There are established programs in the Charleston and Huntington areas but unfortunately, we didn’t have that option around here. With the lack of a consistent travel program and the decline in Legion ball in our area, all that is available is a 2 week window where high school coaches can work with their guys. We felt it would be a great option for kids in our area to get extended training and exposure.
“Our goal is to not only win games, but to get kids signed to play college ball and further their education.
In 2013, we won 28 games, earned 2 Tournament Championships, 2 Tournament Runner-Up Finishes, and were successful in getting all 13 of our Seniors signed to play collegiately.
This year’s team has 4 seniors on the roster. Two have already signed to play collegiately (Nick Brumfield with Salem and Addison Wood with Bluefield College) and the other two (Sexton and Morgan) have multiple offers but are still weighing their options.
In addition to Wake Forest, the Outlaws will travel to Morgantown, Virginia Tech, and East Tennessee State University for Tournaments, as well as playing numerous travel teams throughout West Virginia.