Over the years, the West Virginia State baseball and softball teams have been very successful.
The WV State baseball program, led by legendary coach Cal Bailey, have won numerous WVIAC championships and have played in the Division II regional tourneys.
West Virginia State’s softball team, coached by Bob Allen, have been very good, too, and always seem to be in the hunt for the conference title.
Part of this success comes from Logan County as the area has become somewhat of a pipeline to the Yellow Jackets’ baseball and softball programs.
This year is no exception in that at least four area athletes are a part of the West Virginia State teams.
On the Yellow Jacket baseball team are a trio of county products — one each from Logan, Man and Chapmanville.
Heading the list is senior right-handed pitcher Jordan Butcher, a Logan High School product. Butcher was the closer for West Virginia State last year as he had a team-high eight saves to go along with his 3-1 record and 3.00 ERA.
Butcher made 26 appearances — 24 in relief — as he pitched 39 innings and allowed 29 runs (13 earned), and 49 hits with 29 strikeouts and 11 walks.
Also on West Virginia State’s roster is Chapmanville Regional High School graduate Caleb Toparis. The hard-throwing right-handed pitcher was 1-1 last season with an 8.57 ERA. Toparis made 15 appearances — all but two in relief — as he hurled 21 innings and allowed 20 earned runs and 28 hits with 13 issued walks and 16 strikeouts.
West Virginia’s third and last Logan County player is freshman infielder/pitcher Jordan Simpson, who last year finished up a standout baseball career at Man High School. Simpson put up big numbers both on the mound and at bat for the Hillbillies and led Man to the Class A state tournament championship game at Charleston’s Appalachian Power Park.
Simpson was also a standout basketball player at Man and finished his career last season as the school’s all-time leading scorer. He led the Billies to the state tourney in his senior season as Man narrowly lost to Charleston Catholic, 62-57, at the Charleston Civic Center.
Last year, West Virginia State had a down year by Coach Bailey’s Yellow Jacket standards and finished 22-27 overall and 17-18 in the WVIAC.
The WV State baseball team is scheduled to open the season Feb. 16 at home against Pitt-Johnstown in a WVIAC doubleheader.
The WVIAC Tournament is set for May 2-5 at Beckley.
Representing the area on the West Virginia State women’s softball team is Poppy Ramey, a Harts native and former player at Chapmanville Regional High School and the old Harts High School.
Ramey, a senior catcher and outfielder, is coming off a brilliant 2012 season in which she hit .303 with 14 RBI. Ramey was 44-for-145 at the plate with three doubles, a triple and 22 runs scored. She drew six walks, fanned 20 times and was a base stealing threat as she was 12-for-14 in stolen base attempts.
Ramey formed perhaps the best battery in Chapmanville softball history with pitcher Andi Williamson from 2007-09. The pair led the Lady Tigers to Class AA state championships in 2007 and 2009. Ramey and Williamson had led Harts to the Class A state championship game as freshmen in 2006.
The Yellow Jackets were 47-15 overall last season, including a 22-4 mark in the conference.
WV State is scheduled to open the 2013 season Feb. 15-17 in the Shaw University Tournament at Raleigh, N.C.
The WVIAC tourney is set to begin May 5 at Jackson Memorial Park in Vienna, also the site of the West Virginia State Softball Tournament.