Cameron High graduates Coy Angel and Lance Hartley playing for Black Bears this summer

GRANVILLE — Two 17-year-olds from Cameron High School will be playing for the West Virginia Black Bears in the MLB Draft League this summer. 

“It’s a big deal for the community,” said Lance Hartley, who graduated from Cameron last month. “Back home everyone is really excited for us and there’s a lot of support who comes to watch us play.” 

Hartley and his high school teammate Coy Angel are two of three high schoolers on the Black Bears this summer. Both will be right- handed relievers.

“We’re both 17 years old,” Angel said. ”It’s a huge adjustment for us.”

In his senior season with the Dragons Angel batted .426 with 19 RBI and had a 0.94 pitching ERA. Hartley also had a successful final season at Cameron with a .438 batting average, 39 RBI and a 2.62 pitching ERA.  

“With high school players you can kind of blow by a little bit but now we have to pitch very strategically.” Hartley said. 

Both debuted during the Black Bears’ season-opener on Tuesday. Angel pitched 1.1 innings, giving up two runs and striking out two. Hartley started the sudden death inning on Tuesday and gave up the game-winning hit on the first pitch.

“I didn’t think I was throwing the best today but I was around (the strike zone) most times,” Angel said. ”I think finding an adjustment and making sure I don’t give up hard contact is what I need to work on.”

The adjustment for the guys is huge, coming from a small high school to playing in front of hundreds of fans can be intimidating. They have a great friendship with each other and are currently living in their first apartment together. 

“It’s great to have a high school friend here with me,” Hartley said. ”We’re still meeting the team but having someone you’re experienced with and close with makes a big difference.”

They’re experiencing living on their own for the first time, sharing an apartment in Morgantown while playing for the Black Bears.

“We’ve made some of the best meals I’ve had in my life.” Hartley said. 

“We’ve been cooking the last couple days and some smoke alarms have gone off.” Angel admitted.

Playing for the Black Bears is a preview for what they will do in college next year. Hartley is signed with Potomac State University and Angel is signed with Wright State University (Oh.). 

Both players worked with Black Bears manager David Carpenter over the winter to work on their pitching skills. 

“I think it’s an incredible opportunity for those two young men”, said Carpenter, a fellow in-state product from Fairmont. “They worked really hard during the off season with a friend of mine and helped them with their pitch design and selection.”

Both players said working with Carpenter over the winter helped them prepare for the draft league. 

“We both gained five miles per hour on our fastballs.” Hartley said.

Hartley and Angel will play for the Black Bears for the amateur part of the season (30 games) before heading off to their respective colleges. 

“It’s really exciting and helpful, we are getting a feel for college.” Hartley said. 

The Black Bears will close out their three-game-series against Frederick tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Kendrick Family Ballpark.