OVAC announces baseball award winners
WHEELING — The homers have landed and uniforms have been turned in.
Now, all that’s left are the awards.
The OVAC handed out this year’s Coach and Player of the Year Awards and Wheeling Park’s James Salvatori (5A), Harrison Central’s Treston Nemeth (4A), Barnesville’s Ayden Hannahs (3A), River’s Jake Rose (2A) and Hundred’s Christian Fluharty (1A) all took home Player of the Year honors for their respective class.
In West Virginia, Wheeling Park’s Steve Myers took home the OVAC Coach of the Year honors and in Ohio, the accolades went to Martins Ferry’s Anthony Reasbeck.
Both players and coaches will be honored during tonight’s annual George Kovalick OVAC All-Star Game at the J.B. Chambers I-470 Baseball Complex.
Salvatori led Wheeling Park to an OVAC Championship this year, batting .370 with 27 hits, 21 RBI, a home run and excellent defense in center field, while enjoying every second of his senior campaign.
“We weren’t sure we were going to have a season and our coaches told us to treat every game like it was our last and that’s what I did.”
Salvatori also put up those numbers while dealing with an injury to his labrum by turning around and batting left-handed for a good portion of the season.
“I just wanted to play my senior year,” Salvatori said. “I had never hit left-handed in a game before but I just wanted to try to help my team any way I could.”
Hannahs’ award came soon after leading the Shamrocks to the state tournament following a season where he hit .427 with 47 hits, 38 runs, 21 RBI and 17 stolen bases. He also went 5-2 with 77 strikeouts and a 1.79 ERA in 57 innings pitched.
“It’s a great honor being the 3A Player of the Year,” Hannahs said. “I’ve worked hard to get where I’m at and it’s a great feeling seeing the results.
“Playing in the state tournament is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. The atmosphere and the magnitude of that stage is like nothing I’ve ever seen before in high school baseball. Our community is special and I’d like to thank them for showing up and giving us support.”
Nemeth, a sophomore catcher who broke onto the scene in a big way, batted .523 with eight home runs, 41 RBI, 13 doubles and a slugging percentage of .989.
Rose also put up quality numbers with 34 hits at a .507 clip and 37 RBI.
In 1A, Fluharty paced the Hornets with a .480 average, 24 hits, 24 runs, 20 RBI and five home runs. He also fired 101 strikeouts in 50 innings.
As for the coaches, well for them it’s all about the kids.
“I was surprised and thankful,” Myers said. “I think that’s voted on by other coaches and anytime your peers vote for you that’s a good feeling but it’s really a reflection of the assistant coaches and players. I was rewarded by their efforts.”
He was also thrilled for Salvatori and will get to coach him one last time in tonight’s OVAC All-Star Game.
“He earned every bit of it,” Myers said of his center fielder. “He practiced every day like nobody else I’ve ever been around. From the first fly ball to the last one of batting practice, he gave the same effort in every situation. He had the best attitude and work ethic I’ve probably come across. It will be spectacular to share this evening with James and Chris Vargo. That’s a pretty cool way to end it.”
Reasbeck also gave credit to his players in a year with so many unknowns.
“Being Coach of the Year is the biggest team award there is,” Reasbeck said. “We had a good team so I just stayed out of the way. We have the greatest group of guys and anybody could have coached those boys. We knew that in the blink of an eye they might have shut down the season because of COVID so we used that as motivation and they bought into it. They were scrappy and gave it everything they had.”