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Mountaineers’ JJ Wetherholt will rediscover his stroke | News, Sports, Jobs


Mountaineers’ JJ Wetherholt will rediscover his stroke | News, Sports, Jobs

West Virginia outfielder JJ Weatherholt plays a single during a college baseball game earlier this season. (Photo by Kevin Kinder, BlueGoldNews.com)

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — When you hit .441, as JJ Weatherholt did last year as a sophomore at West Virginia, you etch an image of yourself into the public consciousness.

You think of Weatherholt standing menacingly at the plate, aggressively attacking the first good pitch, cutting it hard to the outside corners of the ballpark. Not once, not twice, but every time he comes to the plate.

But no one can hit .441 forever.

Baseball is a game where 70% of the best fail. You can’t help him. Think about what multiplication is.

There is a man standing 60 feet 6 inches away with a ball that is only 6 inches in diameter. He throws it at about 90 miles per hour toward the plate, a round ball that can go straight or curve, sometimes in, sometimes out.

It changes speed, and comes at the knees, or at the waist, or at the shoulders… Spinning like crazy.

Moreover, it is unlike any other sport in that the ball does not belong to the offense, but to the defense. They know what they’re going to do, but the hitter doesn’t.

And no one forbids the mixture. No one passes by. Nobody sets the screen.

He is alone against nine men strategically placed around the field.

No, no one bats .441 for very long, and that’s certainly true when one of your physical gifts, speed, is as limited as your power is due to a pulled hamstring, putting you out for 24 games.

You can’t hit from the bunker, and the more you sit, the worse your timing becomes, because hitting, like most aspects of the sport, is based on repetition.

So, it’s been a tough year for WVU All-American outfielder JJ Wetherholt, who has a batting average of .345, if you can imagine that .345 is not what you were expecting.

But special players do special things. Baseball is a game in which you play offense and defense. It’s a game where you run the rules. It’s a game where you win mentally and physically.

And so, as WVU heads into its first Super Regional tournament with three games in North Carolina starting with an 8pm game on Friday, a 6pm game on Saturday and a 3pm game on Sunday, if necessary, there’s no one complaining about JJ Wetherholt.

Yes, he has just three hits in his last five games during the Big 12 Tournament and Tucson Regional. Yes, he only had one RBI at the time and was 4-for-20, a .200 average.

How was he a champion in the decisive match with his defense, and made some distinctive plays in the second match?

Look, he’s the type of player who doesn’t need a hit to tip the scales in WVU’s favor.

In the NCAA Tournament opener against Dallas Baptist he walked off on four pitches. They want nothing to do with him.

Scoreless in the third inning when he came to bat with a guy, they hit him with a bunt. Moments later, Logan Sauve beat WVU 3-0 in a game they would win 4-1.

“JJ’s not in this press conference today, but you can just tell he’s at the plate. He’s drawing a first pitch from a guy who doesn’t walk nobody, and then he gets hit by a guy who doesn’t walk nobody. says coach Randy Mazzei in the post-game press conference.

“He creates a presence that makes people move differently. The fact that JJ is there makes the offense go whether he gets hits or not.

Second game against Grand Canyon, leader first, runner-up second, one out. Wetherholt jumps high to snag Zach Yorke’s line drive and doubles the runner from second base. The end of the potential rally.

In the seventh inning, York hit another home run toward left field. Weatherholt rises higher, snatching the ball out of the air in an acrobatic manner. His smile is wider than the Grand Canyon as he beats his chest.

In game three versus Grand Canyon, once again, in the eighth inning, Grand Canyon was trying to claw its way back into the game.

Emilio hit a scorching ball with his head down the ground to left field but Weatherholt slid, backhanded the ball, stepped up the middle and launched an impossible throw to first base to eliminate the runner and potential crowd.

“I just try to stay closed in and make sure my preparation is good on every pitch; trust my positioning and make sure I’m ready when the ball comes to me.” Weatherholt said as he tried to explain the play. “This weekend, my offense was a little slow and I wanted to win the game any way I could. For me, I had good defense today and it was big for us. I just wanted to bring energy to the guys.”

energy? Here was winning pitcher Aidan Majors’ view from the dugout.

“I was in the dugout at that point watching it unfold. I’ve faced JJ for three years and I can say with all sincerity that that’s the best play I’ve ever seen him make. To be able to do that in that moment…and he said himself he never made a bat go the way he did.” He wants it, but he still finds ways to impact the game.

“That play, and being able to make it at that time, decided the game. It felt like it took the last wind out of their sails for them. There are only a few players who can make that play and he’s one of them.”

Now it all starts over, another new season, and JJ Weatherholt discovers he’s had a stroke again.

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