FAIRMONT — So many of the most thrilling moments during the Marion County baseball season this year came in intercounty matchups between the three schools.
There was Fairmont Senior’s seventh-inning rally and extra-innings victory over East Fairmont in the teams’ lone regular-season matchup and then North Marion returning the favor to the Polar Bears with its own incredible comeback regular season win. The postseason amplified the resume further with the Huskies upsetting the Bees in a pitchers’ duel in the sectional tourney before the Huskies and Polar Bears went toe-to-toe in a 12-inning marathon with the sectional title on the line.
The list of memorable intercounty matchups was a representation of the talent across all three county schools, and when the all-Big 10 teams were announced, conference coaches took note of Marion County’s merits on the diamond with 11 county players earning first or second-team honors. East Fairmont led the county and tied for the most selections of any Big 10 team (Bridgeport— all on first team) with five players garnering all-conference accolades, with Fairmont Senior adding four players and North Marion two. The all-conference teams are selected by conference coaches.
Five of those 11 county players appeared on the All-Big 10 first team, with East Fairmont’s Brandon Corley, Broderick Rohrbaugh and Cole Peschl; Fairmont Senior’s Connor Neal; and North Marion’s Jace Rinehart taking first-team honors.
Collecting spots on the second team were Fairmont Senior’s Chris Phares, Cam Hines and Elijah Posey; East Fairmont’s Trey Hissam and Garrett Wilkerson; and North Marion’s Levi Clemens.
The Bees’ first team trio of Corley, Rohrbaugh and Peschl represents three separate classes for EFHS, with Rohrbaugh, a junior, and Peschl, a sophomore, set to return next season, while Corley will play college ball at West Liberty.
Corley, who makes the team as one of four first-team outfielders, was dependable in right field for the Bees’ defense all season, while his bat and wheels made for an ideal leadoff option in the lineup. He finished the year with a .352 batting average and .468 on-base percentage while swiping a team-high 12 stolen bases.
Rohrbaugh, who earned one of two utility spots on the all-conference first team, slotted into the order as the EFHS’s clean-up option all season, and, by season’s end, he also had a legit claim as the team’s top arm on the mound. In perhaps the best two-way season of any county player, Rohrbaugh stacked together a .322 average and .384 on-base percentage with a team-leading 10 extra-base hits, including three homers, and 22 RBIs in the box, while accumulating a 1.84 ERA in 61 innings with a 44:17 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Peschl, who took one of the three first-team pitcher spots, emerged out of the Bees’ No. 3 slot in the pitching rotation to piece together a campaign that could match Garrett Wilkerson or Rohrbaugh, EFHS’s Nos. 1 and 2 arms. He was lethal with his stuff on the mound, fanning a team-best 56 on strikeouts in 47 innings while managing a 1.94 ERA and posting a 7-3 record as a starter. He also hit .277 with 18 RBIs at the plate.
Neal is the Polar Bears’ lone first-team representative, earning his spot as a pitcher alongside Peschl and Bridgeport’s Tim Via. Neal, who overcame a rough couple of starts to begin the season, finished with a 4.09 ERA in 51.1 innings pitched with a 53:31 strikeout-to-walk ratio en route to a 5-2 record as a starter. He also raked at a .322 average with a .439 on-base percentage as he led FSHS with 28 RBIs.
Rinehart rounds out the county first-teamers, with the Huskies’ do-it-all sophomore doing his best work behind at the plate at catcher, while also serving as a regular starter in the team’s pitching rotation and batting in the clean-up spot. No matter the situation, he was a constant stabilizer for the youthful for Huskies.
On the second team, East Fairmont seniors Hissam and Wilkerson, who have both committed to play in college with Hissam heading to Salem and Wilkerson to West Liberty, earned respective spots at catcher and utility spots.
Hissam oozed intellect and leadership for the Bees from the plate all season, while his .350 batting average and .505 on-base percentage were team highs. Wilkerson, a grinder for coach Joe Price and the Bees, earned his utility spot after batting in the No. 2 hole while serving as a regular starter on the mound and at second base. He finished the year with a .333 average, while his 17 runs scored and 17 RBIs ranked second and third on the team, respectively. On the mound, he finished with a 2.66 ERA in 42 innings pitched as he struck out 32 and walked 13.
Fairmont Senior’s trio of second-teamers in Phares, Posey and Hines were defensive linchpins for the Polar Bears.
Phares, who was named the Times West Virginian Pitcher of the Year over the likes of all-conference first-teamers Peschl and Neal, emerged as the team’s ace this season. He posted a team-best 1.75 ERA in a team-high 52 innings pitched for FSHS.
Posey makes the all-conference second team squad as an outfielder, where he exhibited his range for the Polar Bears in center field as one of the team’s better defensive fielders. Offensively, he hit .329 with a .419 on-base percentage.
Hines played two of the most crucial roles in baseball for the Polar Bears virtually all season as the team’s starting shortstop and leadoff hitter, while also dabbling in some pitching. Hines slashed .347 at the plate with a .466 on-base percentage as he led FSHS in hits with 33 and runs scored with 33.
Clemens, a junior, took the second second-team utility spot alongside Wilkerson for NMHS’s other all-conference selection alongside Rinehart. Clemens was the team’s No. 1 starter on the mound and routinely play shortstop when he wasn’t on the hill for the Huskies. He also a regular in the top of the team’s order at the plate.