West Branch's Baugh caps impressive senior season with all-state selection|
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
By Jon Christoff Sports Writer
West Branch first-year head coach Ryan Mostyn knew from his year as an assistant what kind of baseball player he was getting with Curtis Baugh.
From the first time he got a glimpse of Baugh, Mostyn knew that his skill set elevated the Warriors' chance for success and his assessment was spot on.
After leading West Branch to the playoffs and garnering several postseason accolades, Baugh is able to add one more to his long list of accomplishments to wrap up his scholastic career - all-stater.
Baugh was recently named a second-team middle infielder in Class AA by the Pennsylvania High School Baseball Coaches Association, and it's something the recently graduated Warrior can hang his hat on moving forward when he heads to Penn State Mont Alto.
"Even when you consider us having a pretty good season," said Baugh, "I wasn't expecting this. I'm proud of myself, and my coaches and teammates for helping me out a lot.
"I couldn't have done it without them. They were a big part of it. We had a lot of fun and worked hard."
In addition to enlisting in the ROTC program, Baugh will be studying Human Development and Family Studies and is hoping to return to his familiar position of shortstop when he takes to the diamond next spring.
If he can't earn the position there, Baugh will have every chance to win a slot at third base - which was vacated due to graduation.
Mostyn believes Baugh's athletic ability and coaching ability will make it an easy transition to a spot on the field he's never played before.
"He's just has pure athleticism and he can translate that into a baseball move," Mostyn said. "He's very athletic and fast, and that's the first thing you see. When you're looking for a middle infielder, it was easy to pick him out as that guy.
"It's always tough to get an honor like that because there are a lot of great players in state.
"It really shows a lot about Curtis and the year he had. He was a five-tool player. He was basically everything for us. He was a pleasure to coach, and he put together a great year for us."
Baugh's numbers from this past season earned him a spot on the Progressland first team, and showed just how versatile he was in the batter's box.
Baugh had four 3-hit games to his credit and hit safely in 18 of West Branch's 20 contests, where he had 30 runs scored and 23 RBIs from his leadoff spot.
Mostyn's leadoff hitter also showed he could hit for power, as he belted four doubles, five triples and four home runs to complement his speed - which produced 19 stolen bases.
"We knew we had a spark plug at the top of our lineup," said Mostyn, "and we had guys behind him that could knock him in consistently. He was our catalyst.
"He could do anything from drawing a walk to hitting a home run. He's a class act kid that played the game the right way.
"It's always nice to see someone at a small school like West Branch be recognized on the state level. It gives the guys next year something to strive for. I've played with a lot of good players, and to make all-state is a major accomplishment and is something he should be proud of."
Baugh's power and consistency is something Philipsburg American Legion head coach Dusty Minarchick utilized the past two summers, the most recent of which he put Baugh in the cleanup spot.
It didn't make any difference to Baugh, who kept producing until the Phils were eliminated in the Central Penn League playoffs on Saturday.
"It was okay because I can hit home runs sometimes and I can get on base," Baugh said. "I can hit runners in if I need to, so it turned out pretty good.
"In my mind, I know where I'm hitting and it changes (my approach) a little bit.
"But when I get to the plate, everything stays the same. I don't change my stance or anything ... everything stays the same."
Just like his approach at the plate, nothing changed with Baugh's batting average throughout the course of the season.
Baugh opened the 2012 campaign with a 3-for-4 effort against Southern Huntingdon and ended the year with a .492 average - which fell just shy of reaching one of his three preseason goals.
"Coach (Tyler) Good and Coach Mostyn gave us a paper at the beginning of the year to set goals," said Baugh. "We had to accomplish them by the end of the year. My goals were to hit .500, steal 15-20 bases and make it to states or at least playoffs. We made it to playoffs and lost in the first round.
"I had fun with the team because it was one of my best years ever.
"I had some ups and downs, but I worked it out. Everything worked out for me by the end of the year."