Wong's quest toughens
At this rate, George Washington's Joe Wong may never break the state home run record - because it keeps growing and growing.
Wong, who has clouted 12 long balls this season for the Patriots, was originally thought to be four short of the state record, which was believed to be 16 by David Smith of Capital in 1998.
However, a recent search of past all-state teams by state historian and high school record keeper Doug Huff of Wheeling later showed that three players hit 17 in 1999 - Nick Swisher of Parkersburg, Seth McClung of Greenbrier East and Joey Milam of Fayetteville.
On Wednesday, Huff was presented with documentation of a new and higher number - 18 by Seth Sedlock of Fayetteville, also in 1999. Of course, by the time this mark is verified, there may very well be another, yet higher, number surface. Such has been the inherent difficulty of organizing records for high school spring sports, in which game limits were put into place only about a generation ago.
Wong started to get attention a few weeks back for his record chase - interesting in that it comes in the first year of state players using BBCOR-certified bats that deaden the bounce the baseball gets at impact when compared to the aluminum bats.
He went to the Mingo Bay Classic in Myrtle Beach with eight homers and hit three in his first two games there.
"Then he got intentionally walked three, four times after that,'' said GW coach Chad Campbell.
"He's such a big, strong kid. The thing he's doing different this year that he's not been doing the last couple years is that he's much more selective on which ball to hit, which has helped him. He's probably got one, two cheap home runs at our field this year. But even those are hard line drives. He's hit the ball well.''
GW's field is notorious for its home run totals due to short outfield fences.
Day of the Dragon
Cameron baseball is definitely on the upswing, as evidenced by Monday's 7-4 home win against Madonna, accomplished by Ryan Hughes' two-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Dragons, now 15-4, beat state-ranked Bishop Donahue earlier in the season, but this victory was bigger, since it came against one of Class A's top contenders in recent years and a Blue Dons program that captured the 2010 state championship.
"In my 16 years of coaching, this is the biggest win for me in any sport, at any level,'' Cameron coach Eric James told Ogden Newspapers about his team, which overcame an early 4-0 deficit. "For years in previews, in the newspaper and on the news, I have talked about a moment like this, and it finally happened.
"Cameron baseball turned the corner today, and it is a great thing for everyone involved. I believe we have finally come full circle.''
Hard to be East Hardy
Meanwhile, it was a rough start to the week for East Hardy, the No. 1 team in the Gazette's Class A state ratings.
First, the Cougars gave AAA No. 1 Musselman everything it wanted Monday before losing 6-3 in 12 innings. East Hardy starter Jamie Miller fanned 11 in nine innings, and Appleman starter Evan Woolum struck out 12 in 82/3. The game was tied 3-3 after nine.
The next day, East Hardy fell to AA Berkeley Springs 5-4 in eight innings. Zach Wise, the Indians' junior outfielder, robbed the Cougars of a potential tying home run.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.