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Jackson Newspapers - Ripley, WV
  • A season in Review: Red Devil Baseball

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  • RAVENSWOOD - The 2013 Ravenswood Red Devil baseball team took tremendous strides. In fact, no other team in the state of West Virginia in any class can boast the turnaround of the Red Devils.
    In 20012, the Ravenswood posted a (3-22) record and were "mercy ruled" 18 times. This season, first year head coach Wes Swain led the red and black to a (19-16) overall record and an (8-6) mark in the Little Kanawha Conference.
    The team returned six players from 2012.
    The Class AA Devils started the season sluggish out of the gate with a loss to Class AAA Riverside and Williamstown before getting their first victory over Buffalo in a 13-12 thriller.
    The season was sprinkled with special moments along the way.
    After an 18-11 loss to Class AAA Parkersburg South, a game that that the Devils led 11-5 at one juncture, the boys from "The Wood" reeled of an impressive nine victories in a row.
    Frosh P..J. Click mashed his first varsity homerun, Nick Ballard stepped in and played a fine second base for the Devils and Jesse Brown hurled a no hitter versus Tyler Consolidated.
    Thomas Sturm hit .414 and knocked in 20 RBIs while scoring 30 runs. Sturm's fine season was a true compliment to the phenomenal year of Devon Crews, the Red Devil's overall statistical leader with the bat.
    The junior mashed to the tune of .487 with four homeruns while driving in 38 RBIs and scoring 31 runs.
    His most impressive number was the fact that he only struck out four times all season. His slugging percentage was a cool .735.
    Other players for the Devils who hit above .300 with at least 70 at bats were Isaac Crow at .327 and freshman Logan Jarrett at .379. Nick Ballard .296 and Ben Johnson .294 also hit well for Ravenswood.
    Sophomore Trey Hatcher bashed three homers on the season.
    "We really worked on individualized instruction this season. We looked at each kids strengths and weaknesses and tried to build something positive with each practice," said Swain.
    "Overall, we hit the ball pretty well this year and that is a testament to the kids and their hard work,"
    On the hill, the Devils were led in wins by Isaac Crow (7-1). Crow posted a 5.21 earned run average.
    The burly sophomore struck out 53 batters in 48.1 innings. He also walked 53 batters on the year.
    While not getting the run support of Crow, Junior Jesse Brown had a fine season on the mound.
    While he went (5-8), he notched a 2.99 earned run average and fanned 99 batters in 70.1 innings. He issued 61 free passes on the season and only 46 hits.
    Most impressive, it was Brown's first year of high school baseball.
    Heath Burgess hurled 61 innings while going (5-4). The quarterback for the Red Devil gridders struck out 40 and walked 55 hitters. He surrendered 75 hits.
    Page 2 of 2 - Other players making an impact included Will Schindler, Brad Titus, James Carmichael, Trace Boso, Corey Chenoweth, Mason Carte, Zach Miller, Ben Johnson, Jonathan Watkins and Thomas Higgins.
    Ravenswood dressed 19 this season, which was up from 12 in 2012.
    "We went into the season hoping we would have a good turnout and we were pleased with the interest we had," said Swain.
    Ravenswood defeated Roane County in their sectional opener but dropped two straight to Ritchie County, ending their season.
    "The kids began to believe in themselves this year," added Swain. "They were eager to learn and really had a positive attitude going in, which is key. I want to thank our parents, coaches and the guys in the press box for a fine job. The local business community has always been behind us and we really want to thank them for that," said Swain.
    Coach Swain was assisted by Ben Queen and Dave Sullivan.
    While the Red Devils dropped both games to cross county rival Ripley, they swept a double header from Sherman High on April 27 that proved to be a fitting tribute to retired skipper Doug Parrish as the team honored him as an educator and a coach.
    With the current trajectory pointing upward for Ravenswood's baseball program, 2014 should be choc-full of excitement at the warm confines of Wright Field.

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