HURRICANE, W.Va. – Hurricane High School’s baseball team entered the 2017 season favored by most to win Class AAA, Region IV.
Getting to the state tournament, however, wasn’t a breeze for a Redskins team (29-8) that overcame injuries and youth to reach Friday’s 10 a.m. semifinal against Morgantown (21-8) at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston. Hurricane is 4-1 in the postseason, with two one-run victories, one two-run triumph and a two-run loss to go with Friday’s 9-2 blowout of Ripley in the Region IV championship game. Even in that rout of the Vikings, the Redskins trailed 2-0.
“Just playing the game and not getting tight is something we’ve worked on,” Hurricane coach Brian Sutphin said. “We’ve gotten mentally tougher. We’ve had better focus pitch by pitch. I’ve been pleased with that.”
Hurricane struggled in the Region IV, Section 2 tournament despite enjoying the comforts of home at Lola Meeks Field. In the sectional opener, Huntington High took the Redskins to nine innings before succumbing on an error that allowed Evan Dearing to score the winning run.
Dearing is one of just four seniors on the team, joining pitcher Garrett Gress, infielder Ryan Loughry and pitcher Aaron Perry. Perry, Hurricane’s ace pitcher went down with an elbow injury after four starts and is out for the season, depriving the Redskins of the University of Kentucky recruit with a 95 mph fastball. Loughry has been hindered by a hand injury. Gress stepped into Perry’s role and went 10-0.
In the sectional title game, the Redskins fell behind Cabell Midland, 2-0, before rallying in the ninth inning to win 3-2 when freshman Tyler Cox singled to right field to score Loughry with the winning run.
That set up the best-of-three showdown with Ripley for the Region IV crown. Hurricane won the opener, 3-1, but lost the second game, 4-2, before coming home to win the deciding contest, 9-2.