RIPLEY - Ripley High is losing three fine baseball players. The senior trio were honored late last week when the West Virginia AAA baseball squad was released as voted for by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
Jamin Jones received the lone first team nod. Jones hit .490 in his senior season while blasting three homers and 46 RBIs. He had 17 doubles and three triples while swiping 29 bases in 30 attempts while scoring 34 runs for the Vikings.
Mr. Jones also blasted a two run homer for the South in the North-South Classic that helped his team snag a 3-1 victory on June 10 at Nitro
."I am really humbled to receive all state honors with such a talented group of players. It's always a great feeling to see your hard work pay off and I just want to thank God for the great season and career I've had. I was also very happy to see Alex and Heath getting honors. They've worked extremely hard this year and are very deserving," said Jones
Senior hurler Alex Karst took home second team honors. Karst made the team as a utility player but it was his arm that secured the honor for the 6-3 righty. Karst, (5-2) was Ripley’s No.1 all season and kept the Vikings in virtually every game he pitched. Karst struck out 70 hitters in 54.1 innings.
His ERA was an amazing 1.68. Karst will be taking his talents to West Virginia State University’s baseball program and will join former Viking teammate Derek Mullins on coach Cal Bailey’s roster next season. Heath Barnette garnered Special Honorable Mention honors. Barnette (5-2) fanned 71 batters in 64 innings and walked only 31.
Barnette finished the season with a stellar 1.53 ERA. Barnette has decided to focus on the books next season at West Virginia University while majoring in biology.
“I am extremely happy for these guys. Jamin is my first, First-Team All Stater. He is one of, if not the best outfielder in the state. Alex and Heath were lights out for us all year. I believe if we could have made some noise in the post season that their selections could have been higher. I think they were the best pitchers in the state and I am proud of all three of these young men,” said Viking baseball coach Shane Casto.
Nitro’s superman Korey Dunbar was named the AAA captain.
PHIL’S FUN FACT: Jones is the lone first team All-State baseball selection for the Vikings since Josh Whitlock in 2004. Whitlock was a fireballer for the now retired coach Ray Swisher. Whitlock had a stellar season that year going 16-1, winning 14 consecutive decisions with a pair of saves, a 1.53 earned run average and 105 strikeouts and 44 walks in 88 innings. He batted .384 with six home runs, seven doubles, 24 runs scored and 40 RBI in 112 at-bats.