Glenville, W. Va. – Recruiters came from as far away as southern Florida to watch left-handed slugger John Hunter tear it up for the Sherman High Tide in 2014.
A late surge for the collegiate services of the Class A All State selection hit fever pitch as the Tide was wrapping up a Region 3 Section 3 title over Valley Fayette last month.
Just as he did as a junior, Hunter produced video game numbers that are hard to ignore. The honor student with game breaking speed on the base paths made it official on June 24 as he made the announcement official that he would be lacing up the spikes for the Division II Glenville State College baseball team.
“I am comfortable academically at GSC and Coach James Mullins and his staff made me feel at home. I just have a gut feeling that Glenville is where I need to be,” said Hunter.
Coach Mullins took over the program prior to the 2014 season.
Hunter flirted with Marshall University, Northern Kentucky University, University of Charleston, West Virginia State University and Southern Florida among others before making his decision.
On the diamond, there were no doubts as to where the 5-10 160 pound infielder was going. Generally, it was around the bases with controlled abandon while notching 52 stolen bases in 2014. Hunter had 94 swipes in his junior and senior seasons alone.
“He is the total package,” said Ravenswood High coach Wes Swain. “You talk to other coaches around the state and he is certainly on the short list of West Virginia’s best players.”
As a junior, Hunter mashed .521 with 5 HR, 9 triples, 12 doubles, 32 runs and 33 RBIs. As a senior, he hit .590 with 5 HR, 8 triples, 14 doubles, 36 runs and 40 RBIs while playing near flawless defense at first base and the outfield.
Sherman High Coach Jeremiah Pettry knows all too well how much his squad will miss the heroics of No. 2.
“John was a tremendous high school baseball player. He played with a lot of heart and love for the game. He will be a great addition to Glenville State and should be able to help them right away with his speed.”
He continued, “I coached him in sixth and seventh grade when he was just a scrawny little kid with a lot of love for baseball and again when he started high school as a freshman and grew before our eyes. You could see he was something special. He had the attitude and work ethic that separated him from the rest.”
The GSC program, still in its toddler stage, was resurrected in 2011 after a near 30-year absence from the diamond. The Sue Morris Complex is one of the more beautiful collegiate parks in West Virginia and while the NCAA Division II Pioneers have struggled early on, they have made tremendous strides since that first season back as the squad entered the new Mountain East Conference last spring and compiled a (9-33) record.
Hunter is projected as an outfielder on the next level and will have a chance to utilize his speed with the opportunity crack the starting lineup in the 2015 season as a frosh.
“I am really going to miss playing on the field that I learned and got better on,” said Hunter, whose trademark head-first slide became a staple in West Virginia prep baseball.
The Tide baseball program certainly echoes that same sentiment about John Hunter.
Story By: Phil Perry For the Coal Valley News