MORGANTOWN — Philadelphia is just a five-hour journey from Morgantown, a pair of straight stretches across I-68 and I-76, connected by a quick jaunt up U.S. 220.
For University alum Ross Mulhall, who heads off to join the baseball program at NCAA Division 1 La Salle this fall, the expedition is one of sacrifice, made possible by the dedication of forging his craft on the diamond.
“I always try to push myself, whether it be lifting, conditioning, or baseball skill workouts,” he said. “I think it is very important as an athlete to be better than you were the last time you did something.”
The funny thing is, his dedication paid him back in spades before he even packed his first bag for Philly.
Mulhall was the centerpiece of the UHS 2018 campaign, anchoring the squad both on the field and in the dugout. At the plate, he recorded an astounding batting average of .472 and slugging percentage of .1000, while tallying 11 home runs and 44 RBIs.
Mulhall was honored for his achievements as a first-team Class AAA all-state selection and was named the West Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year. Now, he can add the title of The Dominion Post 2018 Player of the Year to his mantle.
“It is a huge honor being selected as the All-Area Player of the Year. This is the area where I started playing baseball — I can remember playing at the Cheat Lake fields like it was yesterday,” he said. “I loved those fields and playing with our travel team, The Charge,” he said.
UHS coach Buck Riggleman described Mulhall as “great player with a tremendous work ethic,” who he believes will have a bright future at the collegiate level but will be missed on the fields at Mylan Park.
“He will be a valuable asset to a Division 1 program with his leadership skills and knowledge of the game.”
Cam Stoldt, Sr., University
Stoldt handled 37.2 innings on the mound for the Hawks in 2018, recording 19 strikeouts and an earned run average (ERA) of 3.16. At the plate, he tallied two home runs and 26 RBIs with a batting average of 4.16.
Kaden Metheny, So., University
Metheny was the thief of the lot for the Hawks in 2018 – he nabbed 14 stolen bases. Of course, he was no pinch runner; he earned his way on base by tallying 36 hits at the plate. Holding an impressive batting average of .424 , he drove home 17 runners while scoring 32 of his own.
Andrew Kerzak, Sr., Morgantown
Kerzak was a force on the mound for the Mohigans, going 6-1 as a starter with a 1.55 ERA. At the plate, Kerzak contributed to the MHS regional runner-up campaign batting an average of .372 while tallying three home runs.
Caleb Taylor, Jr., Morgantown
The type of athlete that can handle playing at nearly any spot on the diamond, Taylor anchored the MHS infield while recording a batting average .423. Taylor contributed 44 RBIs and seven home runs in 2018.
Quintin Smith, Jr., Morgantown
When MHS needed a run during their 2018 campaign, the odds were likely that Smith would play a part. The MHS slugger batted .422 on the season, tallying 22 RBIs and 29 runs during the season.
Corey Pyles, Jr., Preston
Pyles was the anchor of the Knights’ 2018 outing, commandeering the infield while earning a batting average of.512. Pyles record one home run, 12 doubles, and 18 RBIs in just 15 games, and was also named a first-team all-Big 10 selection.
Ethan Haskiell, So., Preston
Haskiell, despite missing his right hand, has played his way into a central role as an underclassmen for the Knights. An integral fixture at the plate, he recorded a batting average of .375 while tallying three doubled and nine RBIs.
Dillon Pride, Sr., Clay-Battelle
Pride was the senior leader on a Cee-Bees squad that struggled with numbers, fielding just nine players by their last contest. In the face of adversity, Pride stepped up as a playmaker, batting .375 and earning an on-base percentage of .514 for C-B. He didn’t stop once on-base, also recording 10 stolen bases on the year.