Baseball

W.VA. Class a High School Baseball All-State: ‘Jackets’ Leewood Molessa named to first team

W.VA. Class a High School Baseball All-State: ‘Jackets’ Leewood Molessa named to first team

Moorefield baseball has cemented a legacy with three consecutive Class A state baseball championships.

Playing a major role in extending that run was senior Isaac Van Meter, who is the first-team captain for the West Virginia Sports Writers Association’s Class A all-state team, selected after voting by the WVSWA and state coaches.

In all, seven players from the four teams to make it to Charleston are on the first team.

“That’s a great honor, but it’s not really my goal. My goal is to win what I can control. I want to help my teammates in any way I can,” Van Meter remarked.

Moorefield became just the second team in Class A state baseball tournament history to win three straight state championships as Van accomplished the feat in 1991-93.

Van Meter has been a leader on and off the field for the Yellow Jackets and proven that with a community service project with the team prior to the state tournament in a way to give back to Moorefield for the support received.

Van Meter has signed to play NCAA Division I baseball for Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland.

Van Meter primarily played shortstop during his senior campaign after having Tommy John surgery last year.

The pandemic erased the opportunity for a return trip to Charleston for the two-time defending state champions in 2020.

Van Meter is a returning all-state first team member having been a pitcher in his sophomore season with an impressive 8-0 record and 0.64 ERA with 73 strikeouts while batting .325.

Van Meter improved his plate appearances by having a .478 batting average this year with 25 RBI and 26 runs scored.

“He just does a lot of things that people don’t see that happen in a game. The practices, challenging the younger players to do better and helping them, always encouraging to his teammates and always supporting who is pitching,” Moorefield coach Wade Armentrout said. “He’s always lifting those guys up and those are things that people don’t see in his pitching numbers or batting average or whatever it is. They don’t see that and that is the real guy he is, that is a special player.”

Joining Van Meter as infielders on the first team squad are state semifinalist senior J. W. Armstrong from Charleston Catholic with a batting average of .426 with 28 RBI and 21 stolen bases, Man state runner-up junior Caleb Blevins with a .500 batting average, Sherman junior Josh Jenkins with a batting average of .505 with 41 RBI and 35 runs and Buffalo junior Caleb Nutter.

The Class A all-state first team pitching unit consists of Charleston Catholic senior Jacob Hufford (2019 first team utility), who the Irish to the state semifinals with an 11-1 record with a 2.23 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 69 innings pitched; Greenbrier West senior Evan McDade, who tossed 72 strikeouts with a 1.80 ERA; James Monroe senior Andrew Hazlewood, who had a 1.36 ERA with 86 strikeouts in 51 innings; and Tyler Consolidated sophomore Ty Walton.

The Class A all-state first team catchers selected were Wahama junior Ethyn Barnitz with a .338 batting average plus 18 RBI and South Harrison senior Tommy Davis, who led the Hawks to the Region II championship game with a .351 batting average with 33 RBI.

The Class A all-state first team outfield unit includes Man junior Chase Hurley, who hit .471 as a powerful gap hitter with good instincts, South Harrison senior Logan Ross, who batted .426 with 49 runs and 20 RBI with 32 stolen bases and Tyler Consolidated sophomore Jayden Helmick.

The Class A all-state first team utility group consists of Moorefield senior Hayden Baldwin (.414 with 35 RBI and 23 runs plus a pitching record of 7-1 with a 1.31 ERA with 55 strikeouts), Williamstown senior Leewood Molessa (.452 with 33 RBI, 22 stolen bases plus a 6-3 pitching record with a 1.72 ERA) and Wheeling Central Catholic junior Michael Toepfer.

“Leewood is the type of guy everyone wants on their team. He is a natural born leader works as hard as can be every day. He is the type of guy every time he took the ball this year he gave us a chance to win. Every time he was up to bat in the No. 3 hole he gave us a great chance to score runs. He has been one of our top guys all year long in every aspect of the game. He’s the kind of guy who keeps are team in line. We would look forward to having a guy like that every year,” Williamstown head coach Levi Maxwell said.

Baldwin moved up from the second team in 2019 to be on the Class A all-state first team this season in a utility role position playing as a pitcher, shortstop and third baseman for the Yellow Jackets.

Charleston Catholic’s Evan Sayre captains the second team. The Irish player aided the group in another trip to the state tournament by hitting .351 with 27RBIs.

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