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Prep baseball: Expectations still high for Nitro

nitroCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The boys are back in town, minus the graduation of perhaps the state's best player last year, though the Nitro baseball team will once again represent the Kanawha Valley's "team to beat."

The Wildcats lost just one senior in standout and reigning Player of the Year Korey Dunbar, and return the rest with eyes set on reaching the state title game after losing 7-4 to Princeton last season in the championship to finish 27-11.

"Everybody knows the expectations and how we do things, and so that can only go to help," Coach Steve Pritchard said of his veteran bunch.

Junior first baseman Dylan Slack will look to provide a bulk of the team's power and run production. Last season, Slack was a second team All-Kanawha Valley selection after hitting .410 with 40 RBI and nine doubles.

"He should be one of the better hitters in the area," Pritchard said. "We're going to rely on him a lot."

Seniors Evan Eich (2B), Eric Keller (3B) and Ethan Clark (CF) return in leadership roles, too. Freshman Matt Jewell will start at catcher, with junior Solomon Shamblin at shortstop.

Junior Tyler Barton will play left field and sophomore Kip Brewer right field when not pitching, Pritchard said.

Barton, a right-hander, throws a cut fastball and changeup, while Brewer is a left-handed pitcher known for his off-speed pitches and location.

Freshmen Jake Bradley, Matt Harrison, Eddie Flores and Jake Williams will also provide innings on the mound.

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All-Kanawha Valley team

nBaseball Team 2012

The Daily Mail All-Kanawha Valley baseball team,

elected from players at schools in Kanawha and Putnam counties: 


Player of the Year: Korey Dunbar, Nitro

Freshman of the Year: Noah Frampton, Poca

Coach of the Year: Will Isaacs, Winfield

 

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Dunbar named Player of the Year

nCHARLESTON, W.Va. - In June 2010 at Brandon Matthew Sneed Field, Nitro High School star pitcher J.R. Bradley received a pie in the face from teammates during an informal press conference following his second-round selection by Arizona in the Major League First-Year Player Draft.

Bradley was named the Daily Mail's Kanawha Valley Player of the Year that season, followed by his drafting and the West Virginia Sports Writers Association Player of the Year award.

Two years later, the attention turns to catcher and pitcher Korey Dunbar - another Wildcat in a long line of decorated players from Coach Steve Pritchard's program.

Dunbar is this year's 2012 KV Player of the Year, with an impressive pitching resume that set him apart from St. Albans shortstop Dylan Ramsey in the closest race for the honor in recent years.

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Nitro, Winfield do some shuffling to lineups

nCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Baseball coaches Steve Pritchard of Nitro and Will Isaacs of Winfield had to do some creative shuffling to get their teams to today - one win away from the State Tournament.

Pritchard, with only one senior in the lineup and whose best pitcher also is his best catcher, flipped his battery mates in Nitro's 4-2 regional semifinal victory over Parkersburg South.

Isaacs, meanwhile, had to find a suitable replacement for star center fielder Barrett Arnold, who was ejected from a regular season game last Friday, leading to a three-game suspension.

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