Local products shining for WLU on baseball field

WEST LIBERTY — Ever since he was hired as the head baseball coach at West Liberty, Eric Burkle has wanted to get area products onto the Hilltoppers’ diamond.

He’s succeeding at a high rate this fall. Upwards of half of the 40-man roster that’s played this fall graduated from an OVAC-member school. Many of those are having big impacts, too.

The Hilltoppers wrapped up their fall league schedule Thursday with the decisive game three of the Gold and Black Series.

After each game thus far, the Hilltoppers presented an award to the ‘player of the game’ and twice it’s gone to an area product.

Bridgeport graduate Bailey McGrath earned the award, which is a Chinese Cat named ‘Jinxy’, after a game in which he went four-for-five at the plate with three singles, a home run and five RBIs.

St. Clairsville product Kaden Blomquist, who enjoyed a productive season for the Red Devils last spring, was awarded the trophy following game two of the series.

In other collegiate baseball news, involving area athletes:

NOLAN CLEGG, Ohio State — Toronto product continued his impressive fall campaign during part of the Scarlet and Gray series. He hit a 3-run home run and had a single. All told, he scored twice and drove in three to lift the Gray to a victory. The final game of the Buckeyes’ fall season is tonight at Bill Davis Stadium in Columbus.

Here’s a capsule look at other area athletes:


Division I

COLTON MCKIVITZ, West Virginia — Union Local product enjoyed the bye week and then was back on the field on Thursday at tackle against Baylor.

JOSH SILLS, West Virginia — Meadowbrook graduate took in last Friday’s Colts game and then resumed play against Baylor, starting at guard.

ROSS COMIS, UMass — Madonna graduate completed 5-of-9 passes for 64 yards. He also rushed 4 times for 22 yards in a loss to Coastal Carolina.

AUSTIN DORRIS, Indiana — Shadyside product caught a pass for 7 yards in the Hoosiers’ loss to Penn State.

ELIJAH BELL, North Carolina A&T — Wheeling Park graduate had a big game in a win last week, catching five passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.

CHUCKWUDI CHUCKWU, Ohio — Linsly graduate played in last week’s win against Bowling Green and again on Thursday evening against Ball State.

MAALIK RICHMOND, Youngstown State — Steubenville graduate played in last week’s win over South Dakota.

Division II

ROBERT VARGO, Ohio Dominican — Martins Ferry graduate made another start at right guard in a loss to Tiffin last week.

MATT BARBOUR, Ohio Dominican — Martins Ferry product appeared once again in a loss to Tiffin.

MATT PETRELLA, Ohio Dominican — Steubenville grad appeared in last week’s one-point loss.

MATT HACKATHORN, Gannon — Wheeling Park graduate started once again at right tackle in a loss to IUP.

CLIFFORD CLARK, West Liberty — Cambridge graduate earned Mountain East defensive player of the week after he compiled 11 solos and 12 total tackles in last week’s victory. He currently leads NCAA Division II with 65 solo tackles and his 101 total stops are third in the nation.

ZACH PHILLIPS, West Liberty — Wheeling Park product returned to action after an injury with an 11-of-19 passing performance for 128 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed 14 times for 101 yards.

NATE PHILLIPS, West Liberty — Wheeling Park graduate caught a pass from his brother, Zach, for 2 yards. He also had three tackles.

BRENTON COLABELLA, West Liberty — Steubenville Central graduate completed a pass for 11 yards.

CODY ENRIETTI, West Liberty — Weir High graduate posted 3 tackles in a win last week.

CLAY MCDONALD, West Liberty — Wheeling Park product posted 2 tackles in a win.

JACK DAVIS, West Liberty — Martins Ferry graduate had two solo tackles in last week’s victory.

CODY RINE, West Liberty — Brooke High product had one tackle last week.

CHANCE RUCKER, West Liberty — Caldwell graduate made a start at right guard.

AUSTIN WHIPKEY, West Liberty — Linsly graduate started at tackle.

THEO BLACKSTON, Mercyhurst — Wheeling Park alumnus played and had a tackle in a loss to California, Pa.

DEVON HARRIS, Walsh — St. Clairsville graduate hauled in 3 passes for 52 yards in a loss to Hillsdale.

ALIJAH DEMITRAS, Walsh — Steubenville graduate started once again at center for the Cavaliers.

BROOKS PARSONS, West Virginia State — Magnolia graduate caught 3 passes for 26 yards in a loss to West Liberty.

JACK FITCH, Wheeling Jesuit — Martins Ferry graduate handled the punting duties as the Cardinals remained undefeated in their inaugural season by fighting off the Mount Union JV team.

JAKE KEENAN, Wheeling Jesuit — Toronto graduate caught 10 passes for 146 yards and scored a touchdown in the win last week.

Division III

TANNER CLARK, Marietta — Caldwell graduate continued his impressive season with the Pioneers. He rushed 25 times for 142 yards and a touchdown. He also caught 8 passes for 61 yards.

GAGE GIOVENGO, Marietta — Linsly product caught two passes for 12 yards in last week’s loss to John Carroll.

COLE GRIFFIN, John Carroll — Linsly graduate had three tackle in last week’s close victory over Marietta.

LUCAS HERRINGTON, Mount Union — Steubenville graduate caught 5 passes for 74 yards in last week’s win.

CHRISTIAN WITCHEY, St. Vincent’s — St. Clairsville graduate punted six times for 209 yards with a long of 44 yards. He dropped three inside of the 20 yard line.

LUKE MENGES, Waynesburg — Union Local graduate had two tackles in last week’s win over St. Vincent’s.


JACOB BISHOP, Alabama-Huntsville — Martins Ferry product was the fourth runner to cross the line for his team last week in 26 minutes in the 8K race.