Crushing It: WVU slugger and Parkersburg South grad Hussey invited to Cape Cod League | News, Sports, Employment

Crushing It: WVU slugger and Parkersburg South grad Hussey invited to Cape Cod League | News, Sports, Employment

West Virginia University’s Grant Hussey celebrates after hitting a home run last season in his first year with the Mountaineers. The Parkersburg South graduate, who led WVU with 11 home runs, has been invited to the Cape Cod League this summer. (Photo courtesy of WVU)

MORGANTOWN – We have no regrets.

Coming out of high school, Grant Hussey decided to forgo the Major League Baseball first-year player draft and opt for college.

A year later, the Parkersburg South graduate enters his second season with the Mountaineers looking to step his game up another level after spending the summer competing for the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders (Wis. ) in the Northwoods League.

“The experience of playing in the Northwoods League was a lot of fun — it was good competition, obviously, because there were high-level guys from all over the country.” Hussey said. “I remember we had a day off and then we came back and played for 27 days straight.

“It was very special because I made the all-star game. It meant all the work I put in during the season at WVU.”

Hussey, WVU’s home run leader as a freshman, already has his destination set for next summer after being invited to play in the Cape Cod League. He will be a member of the Wareham Gatemen, the same team that Parkersburg High School graduate and former Major League Baseball player Nick Swisher played for.

“Right now, it’s the best of the best,” Hussey said. “There are not many boys who play ball there. In terms of talent, the Cape Cod League blows away the Northwoods League. You know where your game is, 100 percent.”

Hussey made an immediate impact with the WVU baseball program. He hit a grand slam in the season opener against Central Michigan, the first of three home runs in the Mountaineers’ first four games. On the year, his numbers included a .489 slugging average with 11 homers and 35 runs.

“I definitely felt comfortable playing in my home state,” Hussey said. “It’s nice to have my family come whenever they want. I was ready for college ball.”

At the end of the regular season, WVU tied Texas for fifth in the Big 12 Conference standings after finishing 14-10, the most conference wins by the WVU baseball program since joining the Big 12 in 2013. The Mountaineers finished 33-22. overall and qualified for the Big 12 Conference Tournament.

With the WVU men’s basketball and soccer teams treading water and trying to stay above .500 during the current school year, Hussey believes baseball can provide a spark for Mountaineer men’s athletics. The culture around campus is catching on after WVU baseball set a regular season attendance record last season at Monongalia County Ballpark.

“With football and men’s basketball both years gone, WVU fans are resting on something to watch: The culture of baseball is changing for the better.” Hussey said.

Before setting foot on campus for the official start of classes, Hussey had previous experience playing in Morgantown as part of the 2021 MLB Draft League. As a member of the West Virginia Black Bears, he learned from better One of the most accomplished players in West Virginia baseball history, University High School graduate Jedd Gyorko led the Black Bears.

In just 31 games and 135 at-bats, Hussey batted .277 with eight homers and a .598 slugging percentage.

“It was a fantastic experience” Hussey said. “Jedd Gyorko has that big league mentality. I could pick his brain every day. He has a different take on things. I still see him in Morgantown sometimes.

Hussey’s sophomore season at WVU begins Feb. 17 with a three-day trip to Georgia Southern. When the Mountaineers return, they host Minnesota for a midweek game before heading out west for a three-game series Feb. 24-26 against the University of Arizona.

The trip always includes an exhibition game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Hussey, who is averaging 3.5 points as a sports management major, embraces long road trips, which are a common theme when playing in the Big 12 Conference.

“I love to travel” Hussey said. “I’ve done it with travel ball, so it hasn’t been a big adjustment. I always enjoy going to Georgia and also to Lubbock, Texas where Texas Tech is located. I also enjoyed Fort Worth, Texas.

Hussey figures conference members, especially, will have more detailed scouting reports now that there’s a full season at the college level.

“Over time, it gets harder because they learn to throw you” Hussey said. “That first weekend of my freshman year, they didn’t really have a scouting report. Not at the college level, anyway. When we play Texas, they probably have a full hitting report with things like slugging percentage swing and attack charts.”

To counter, Hussey simply replied: “just hit the ball”.

As mentioned above, Hussey has his fair share of family support when WVU plays at home. In addition to his parents (Steve and Jan), sister (Meredith), half-brother (Aiden) and brother Cole, 6, who attend games throughout the season, his grandparents Mike and Phyllis Rowley are season ticket holders and non Don’t miss a home game.

“My grandparents are my biggest fans” Hussey said. “I don’t regret at all going to college instead of entering the draft. It was the best choice for me. I always think about being mature enough to do something, and at that point in my career it wasn’t enough mature

“The next six months, I’m beyond excited because it’s one of the best stretches of baseball of my life.”

One of Hussey’s focal points for his sophomore college season is cutting down on his strikeouts while trying to keep his batting average and slugging percentage intact.

“I don’t want to do anything else — this is the dream and where I’ve wanted to be since I started playing baseball.” Hussey said. “Every kid wants to be in the major leagues and I get a chance to do that. That’s all I can ask for.

“It’s a full-time job, but I chose to be here and I’m doing everything I can to achieve my goal.”

Contact Kerry Patrick at [email protected]

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