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Mohigans will lean on experienced pitching staff while trying to replace offensive production

Mar. 11—MORGANTOWN — The Morgantown High baseball team graduated a lot of offensive production after last season and will look to an experienced pitching staff in 2024 to try to replicate last year's success.

"We graduated nine seniors and eight went on to play college, " MHS coach Pat Sherald said. "It was a huge class that was with us a long time and had a lot of playing time. You lose a lot of maturity in terms of at-bats and innings."

To see just how impactful Morgantown's senior class was last season, look no further than how those players are performing as college freshmen this season. Catcher Ty Galusky, who won the Johnny Bench Award as the state's top catcher, is batting.383 with two home runs and 11 RBI at Fort Scott Community College. Shortstop Ryan Fluharty, the W.Va. Gatorade Player of the Year, hit a two-run home run for his first collegiate hit at USC Upstate. All-state outfielder Aaron Jamison already has a hit, RBI and stolen base for WVU.

"In the landscape of college baseball, freshmen don't really get on the field early, " Sherald said. "To see those guys be able to do that is really special."

The Mohigans also graduated line-up regulars Drew Bailey, Lance Whanger and Caleb Neer. Now, a team that was one win away from a state tournament berth will need to lean on an experienced pitching staff, a complete reversal from last season.

"Last year's team we had to replace 80 % of our innings on the mound, " Sherald said. "This year it's the reverse where we have basically all of our pitching back."

The Mohigan pitching staff will be headlined by seniors Hunter Dakan and Dylan Travinski, who both emerged as front-line options last year. Dakan earned second-team all-state honors last year while Travinski was named all-state honorable mention.

Other returners are seniors Tristan Milik and Maddox Bowers, who missed all of last season with an injury and junior Judd Messerly.

"If you ask a coach, I think a lot of us would take maturity on the mound, " Sherald said.

In the field, senior Caleb Nutter will take over for Galusky behind the plate. He'll be backed up by seniors Landon Bradley and Nate Wolfe and junior Sam Watson.

Junior Weston Mazey and sophomore Koa Silvers will make up the Mohigans' double-play duo. Travinski, Wolfe and Tommy Montague will man the corner infield spots.

In the outfield, Bowers will play center field alongside some mix of Nutter, seniors Parker Jefferies and Noah Fields and junior Quincy Gamble.

Despite replacing so much production on offense, Sherald said he sees no reason why the Mohigans can't make it back to the regional championship this season.

"We've got to replace a lot of experience, but we're really excited about this group, " Sherald said. "We have a group of seniors that were sitting behind last year's group and they're hungry."

Rounding out Morgantown's roster are senior Talon Dalton and juniors Eli Boggs, Vincent Aloi, Sylan McGinnis, Lukas Neer, Anton Crudup and Isiah Fominko. The remaining underclassmen are sophomores Mason Bowers, Carsin Lawhun, Carson Velickoff, Lucas Shinn and Brayden Soloman and freshmen Ryan Nipper, Maddox Boggs, Cameron Smith, Chantz Lenhart, Grayson Campbell, Jessee McCardle, Tanzer George, Lincoln Thornton, Coal Park, Bryson Washington Dominick Hertzog, Evan Garner, Maddox Hauser and Christian Carlson.

"I think this team is going to surprise some people, " Sherald said. "What people didn't see is this group as they were working really hard in practice."

As if to challenge his new starters, Sherald put together a tough opening schedule for the Mohigans. MHS opens the season this week with a weekend road trip to Parkersburg South (March 14), Spring Valley (March 15) and Hurricane (March 16). Morgantown's first home on the new artificial turf at Dale Miller Field is scheduled for Wednesday, March 27 against rival University.

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