Trinity’s Hopkins named 2nd-team all-state in Class A baseball

CHARLESTON — A year after earning all-state honorable-mention honors, Trinity Christian’s Parker Hopkins has been named second-team all-state by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

Hopkins, a sophomore catcher, led the Warriors with a .424 batting average to go with 23 RBI, 23 runs, seven doubles, three triples and two home runs.

Clay-Battelle catcher Austin Foley was named all-state honorable mention.

In a season where Class A state champion Charleston Catholic placed four members on the all-state first team, Williamstown senior Maxwell Molessa of runner-up Williamstown was chosen captain of the top unit by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

The Yellowjacket, who made 11 appearances on the mound and finished with 24 strikeouts, a 2-1 record, a pair of saves and a 3.59 earned run average in 25 1-3 innings, will be asked to utilize his hitting skills at West Virginia University.

Molessa, the Little Kanawha Conference’s player of the year, batted .439 with a .545 on-base percentage. Along with a baker’s dozen of doubles, the ‘Jacket had seven triples, three home runs, drove in 38 and swiped 23 of 24 bases.

“Max is one of those kids, one in a million, once in a lifetime,” said Yellowjacket skipper Levi Maxwell. “May be one of the best that ever ran through the program. He’s a great kid. Comes from a great family. Does an awesome job and he’s worked so hard. 

“Everything that he’s done with our program, and everything in the past that he’s done before, great work ethic, which is going to serve him well down the road. There’s always a chance his career is not going to stop there with that type of work ethic. It’s a good recipe when you’re a hard worker, a good athlete and a smart kid. Anything can happen.”

It was the third time Molessa, a second-team honoree as a freshman in 2021, earned a nod on the first team.

Another player who has that same distinction as Molessa is Wahama senior Bryce Zuspan. The White Falcon capped his third straight first team campaign by going 10-3 with one save, a 1.76 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 103 strikeouts in 75 2-3 innings.

Charleston Catholic junior Jonah DiCocco, a utility selection, also made his third appearance on the first team. The two-time state champion was on the 2022 championship squad for then-first-year head coach Will Bobinger.

Aside from throwing a five-hit shutout in this year’s state semifinal victory against East Hardy, the Irish didn’t call his number on the bump often. Including the postseason, DiCocco fanned 35 in 21 frames. He went 2-0 with two saves, a 0.33 ERA and 0.76 WHIP. 

Along with being hit by a pitch 10 times and stealing 14 bases, the right-hander batted .500 with a .629 OBP. He had nine doubles, four triples, two homers and 34 runs batted in.

The only repeat first-team selections were Charleston Catholic pitcher Luke Blaydes, who earned the save in the title game versus Williamstown, and Gilmer County senior outfielder Colton Hall. The Titan averaged .424 and had a .512 OBP to go along with eight doubles, four triples and as many home runs, 34 RBIs and 15 steals.

In 2023 as a sophomore, Blaydes was selected in the infield. A season later Blaydes was joined by Zuspan, WVU signee Bryant Yoak of Gilmer County and Tyler Consolidated sophomore Reese Davis as the first-team pitchers.

Yoak, who had 122 strikeouts in 54 2-3 innings while giving up 18 hits and 13 free passes, allowed opponents to bat just .094. He went 7-1 with a 0.38 ERA.

The sophomore Davis, who limited opposing hitters to a .147 average, finished 9-3 with a 1.19 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and a school record 128 strikeouts in 76 1-3 innings. 

“That’s why I used him in critical situations because I knew he would throw strikes,” coach Bobinger chimed of Blaydes, who went 6-1 with four saves, 67 whiffs and a 2.11 ERA in 46 1-3 innings, with his only loss coming against Williamstown.

Although Zuspan (32 hits, .333 average, .450 OBP, 12 steals), Yoak (.295 average, 8 eight doubles, three home runs, 23 RBIs, 12 steals) and Davis (.427 average, eight doubles, three triples and a home run, 13 RBIs, 11 steals) all contributed with the bat, Blaydes was on another level.

Aside from his Irish school-record eight triples, Blaydes batted .400 with a .547 OBP, had 22 stolen bases, seven two-baggers and 22 runs-batted-in.

Senior outfielder Gage Tawney (.466 average, .577 OBP, 12 doubles, two triples, three home runs, 32 RBIs, 24 steals, 30 bases on balls) and sophomore catcher Zaden Ranson (.482 average, .534 OBP, 14 doubles, five triples, three home runs , 49 RBIs) also represented the Irish on the first team.

“These guys were special ball players,” Bobinger said of his quartet. “I mean we had contributions up and down the lineup, but those four were obviously the most prolific when it comes to stats and clutch hits and things like that.

“I think they were very deserving of this and I’m very proud of each of them. I think as a team we set some records (31 wins), but these individuals’ accomplishments are far and away great achievements.”

St. Marys’ Josiah DeMoss was the other first-team backstop. The Blue Devil ended his career by successfully stealing all 34 bases he attempted. Defensively, he allowed three passed balls, had two errors and threw out 31% of runners. DeMoss walked 25 times against seven strikeouts to help forge a .552 OBP that produced a .386 average, six doubles, three triples, two homers and 31 RBIs.

Molessa was joined in the infield by Ravenswood junior Evan Swain (.359 AVG, .492 OBP, 3-2-6, 35 RBIs, 10 SB), Summers County senior Brandon Isaac (.468 AVG, 5-2-2, 32 RBIs, 36 SB) and East Hardy sophomore Evan Hamilton, who was named the Potomac Valley Conference D2 player of the year after hitting .500 with 11 doubles, five triples, two round-trippers, 25 RBIs and 34 stolen bases.

Wheeling Central senior Eli Tucker (39 hits, .513 average, two home runs , 23 RBIs, 23 steals) and Wahama junior Hayden Lloyd (49 hits, .523 average, 18 doubles, three triples, 42 RBIs, 14 steals) were the other outfield selections.

Williamstown junior Ty Ott (5-2, two saves, 1.46 ERA, 52.2 IP, 6 BB, 49 H, 51 Ks; .443 AVG, .493 OBP, 6 doubles, two triples , 48 RBIs, nine steals, only 7 strikeouts), East Hardy freshman Garrett Van Meter (29 Ks, 17.1 IP; .473 average, 11 doubles, 3 triples, two home runs, 47 RBIs, 20 steals) and Greenbrier West’s Braydon McClung were first-team utility picks. The Cavalier senior went 2-3 with a 3.87 ERA and 39 punch-outs in 25 1-3 innings. He had a .576 average with three doubles, two triples, 14 runs batted in and 28 steals.

James Monroe senior catcher Cooper Ridgeway was named second-team all-state captain after hitting .410 with nine doubles, two triples, 23 RBIs and 18 steals.

Pendleton County junior James Vincell was the other catcher, while the pitching spots went to seniors Bo Thompson of Man and Lance Hartley of Cameron along with East Hardy sophomore Shane Sisler and South Harrison junior Layton Wageman.

State semifinalist Buffalo was represented on the second team by senior infielder Carson Saunders. Tyler Consolidated senior Ethan Clark, Doddridge County senior Cole Sutton and East Hardy sophomore Mason Hamilton joined the Bison.

The three outfielders were Madonna senior Grant Wilharm, Summers County senior Ben Lane and James Monroe junior Peyton Gardinier.

Man’s Braxton Messer (Jr.), Trinity’s Parker Hopkins (So.), Cameron’s Coy Angel (Sr.), St. Marys’ Sam Miller (Sr.) and Ravenswood’s Beau Bennett (Sr.) were named second-team utility.

All-State honorees can obtain state-shaped, wood plaques with name, school, year and honor at wvswa.org or bearwoodcompany.com.

By JAY W. BENNETT/Parkersburg News and Sentinel

The Class A All-State Baseball Team as Selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association and released Wednesday, June 11, 2024.

First Team
P – Bryant Yoak, Gilmer County, Sr.
P – Reese Davis, Tyler Consolidated, Soph.
P – Bryce Zuspan, Wahama, Sr.
P – Luke Blaydes, Charleston Catholic, Jr.
C – Zaden Ranson, Charleston Catholic, Soph.
C – Josiah DeMoss, St. Marys, Sr.
INF – Maxwell Molessa, Williamstown, Sr. (captain)
INF – Evan Swain, Ravenswood, Jr.
INF – Brandan Isaac, Summers County, Sr.
INF – Evan Hamilton, East Hardy, Soph.
OF – Colton Hall, Gilmer County, Sr.
OF – Eli Tucker, Wheeling Central, Sr.
OF – Gage Tawney, Charleston Catholic, Sr.
OF – Hayden Lloyd, Wahama, Jr.
U – Jonah DiCocco, Charleston Catholic, Jr.
U – Garrett Van Meter, East Hardy, Fr.
U – Ty Ott, Williamstown, Jr.
U – Braydon McClung, Greenbrier West, Sr.

Second Team
P – Layton Wageman, South Harrison, Jr.
P – Lance Hartley, Cameron Sr.
P – Bo Thompson, Man, Sr.
P – Shane Sisler, East Hardy, Soph.
C – Cooper Ridgeway, James Monroe, Sr. (captain)
C – James Vincell, Pendleton County, Jr.
INF – Carson Saunders, Buffalo, Sr.
INF – Colt Sutton, Doddridge County, Sr.
INF – Mason Hamilton, East Hardy, Soph.
INF – Ethan Clark, Tyler Consolidated, Sr.
OF – Peyton Gardinier, James Monroe, Jr.
OF – Grant Wilharm, Madonna, Sr.
OF – Ben Lane, Summers County, Sr.
U – Braxton Messer, Man, Jr.
U – Parker Hopkins, Trinity Christian, Soph.
U – Coy Angel, Cameron, Sr.
U – Sam Miller, St. Marys, Sr.
U – Beau Bennett, Ravenswood, Sr.

Honorable Mention: 
Xander Allara, Charleston Catholic; Kason Angel, Cameron; Luke Ankron, Williamstown; Kaden Arbaugh, Petersburg; Tyson Arnold, Moorefield; Zade Billings, Tyler Consolidated; Hudson Boggess, James Monroe; Brody Brockleman, Gilmer County; Landon Church, Calhoun County; Brayden Cover, Wheeling Central; Hunter Crist, Greater Beckley; Brody Ewing, Wirt County; Gabe Ferrell, South Harrison; Austyn Foley, Clay-Battelle; Mat Geer, Madonna; Cam Gerace, Man; Mat Greer, Madonna;  Koleton Grishkevich, Madonna; Eli Gunter, Greater Beckley; Preston Heslop, Notre Dame; Kadyn Hines, James Monroe; Trey Huggins, Hundred; Connor Jarvis, Charleston Catholic; Brandon Jones, East Hardy; Colton Jones, Summers County; Christopher Junkins, Gilmer County; Kolten Kincade, Valley-Wetzel; Connor Lackey, Tug Valley; David Lester, Greenbrier West; Gabe Lester, River View; Finn Loy, Magnolia; Josh Marcum, Van; Tony McBrayer, Alex Miler, Moorefield; Ritchie County; Shane Moran, St. Mary’s; Hunter Muncy, Mount View; Brayden Neff, Paden City; Ryan Oliveros, Summers County; Wyatt Pence, St. Joseph Central; Hayden Pyles, Magnolia; Eli Rickard, Wahama; Luke Rokisky, Doddridge County; Parker Schramm, Williamstown; Dakota Sizemore, Richwood; Caleb Sutton, Doddridge County; Brady Swain, Ravenswood; Luke Tagliante, Sherman; Dane Tate, South Harrison; Peyton Tingler, Petersburg; Trae Trivolette, Richwood; Julian Vance, Tug Valley; Ethan Rosenau, Tucker County.