Warriors Open Baseball Season Friday
Dunmore, West Virginia – Pocahontas Warrior baseball season starts this Friday in Franklin, where the Warriors will challenge their longtime rivals the Pendleton County Wildcats. Last season, Pocahontas fans were thrilled to see a young Warrior squad make it to the regional championship game at Valley-Fayette, where, unfortunately, a Pocahontas rally fizzled and the Greyhounds held on for a 9-4 win.
The Warriors lost just one senior to graduation and field a squad this season with eight seniors and a talented group of younger players. The team also boasts a new coach. Jim McCoy replaces Mike DiPasquale as the Warrior’s field general.
McCoy says this is the most talented baseball squad Pocahontas has fielded for years.
“I’d say, this season, we can probably put the best talent on the field than we’ve had up here for awhile,” he said. “There’s nine guys playing, hitting fielding. Defensive-wise, I think it’s probably one of the best nine athletes that will be on the field at one time.”
The coach has high expectations for shortstop Steve Halterman, lefty hurler Garret Clark and all of his senior players.
‘You’ve got the Halterman kid, that’ll be back at shortstop and pitching,” he said. Garrett Clark. You’ve got Dalton walker in center field. Matthew Arbogast will be at catcher, probably. You’ve got Dillon Hovorka, who’ll be in the outfield, as well, that’s a real good senior player.”
Standout football player Hunter Grimes signed up for baseball this season and the big linebacker could swing a big stick for the Warriors. McCoy says he expects no shortage of firepower.
“I’d say, hitter-wise, it’ll be the Halterman kid and Brandon Hammons,” he said. “You know, there’s going to be quite a few of them. I think we can put nine kids on the field that will be able to hit the ball real well.”
Sophomore pitcher Brandon Hammons, who threw a no-hitter in the sectional playoff against Midland Trail last season, and sophomore infielder Wesley Felton, who was voted MVP by fellow players at baseball camp this summer, are among the highly talented younger players returning this season.
McCoy said he will rely on his standout sophomores and has high hopes for some new brand new players, including speedy freshman Cary Robertson.
But the competition will be intense. The eastern panhandle of West Virginia and the Potomac Valley Conference is traditionally strong in baseball. East Hardy ended last season ranked number-two in the state and Moorefield, the 2009 state champs, were right behind the Cougars at number three.
“The Potomac Valley Conference – they’re real competitive,” McCoy said. “They’ve got a lot of good athletes. Even if it’s football, basketball or baseball, the same athletes will play all of them and it’s just a pretty good conference.”
“We start off with Pendleton County and they’re always tough,” McCoy added. “No matter what kind of kids they got, they’re well-coached. We’ll start with them and then go to Midland Trail and then, we play Petersburg twice the following week. Petersburg is always a real good baseball team. They’ve got a good feeder program in with the younger kids.”
The Warriors haven’t beaten PVC rival Pendleton County for at least five years. This could be the year that a talented squad and a new coach turn the tables on the Wildcats. First pitch in Friday’s season opener is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at Wildcat Field in Franklin. The Warriors play their home opener on April 9 against Tygarts Valley.