WVU Baseball Standout J.J. Wetherholt Named 2024 Hardman Award Winner by WVSWA

By Connect-Bridgeport Staff on April 13, 2024 via

The Dominion Post
By his own admission heading into the 2023 college baseball season, J.J. Wetherholt understood how he was being overlooked.
His freshman season had been solid, but nothing spectacular he said, and Wetherholt realized he had much to prove.
That mission was accomplished in a big way, as the WVU infielder put together one of the finest individual seasons in all of college baseball.
No, he wasn’t on the preseason all-Big 12 team or mentioned as a preseason All-American candidate. By the end of the 2023 season, there was no keeping Wetherholt from elite status.
“I’ve had this conversation before, but those guys didn’t believe in me until they had no choice but to believe in me,” Wetherholt said at the start of this season.
In 2023, Wetherholt became the first WVU player to lead the nation in hitting, finishing with a .449 batting average. He added 16 home runs, 60 RBIs and 36 stolen bases.
He finished with 16 games of three or more hits, had a 13-game hitting streak to begin the season and also had a 10-game hitting streak later in the year.
It all led to being named Big 12 Player of the Year, as well as being named a first-team All-American.
On Saturday, Wetherholt was named the Hardman Award winner, which goes to the state’s top amateur athlete, as voted by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association. Wetherholt will be honored at the 77th annual Victory Awards Dinner on May 5 in Wheeling.
“I want to say thank you to the West Virginia Sports Writers Association for honoring me with the Hardman Award,” he said. “It means a lot to me, and I also want to say thank you to my coaches and teammates who have helped me get to this point thus far. I really appreciate it.”
Wetherholt, from Mars. Pa., won the award with WVU offensive lineman Zach Frazier finishing second and WVU women’s basketball guard J.J. Quinerly taking third.
“We’ve had some great offensive players here, but we haven’t had anybody that’s captured the attention of the whole community like J.J. has,” WVU baseball coach Randy Mazey said last season. “He’s one of the best players I’ve ever coached. I’d be willing to bet that people in the community, when they go to work and get a drink at the fountain, they’re talking about J.J. Wetherholt. He’s that dynamic of a player and he’s captured the interest of this community.”
Wetherholt’s season also led the Mountaineers to winning a share of the school’s first Big 12 regular-season championship, and the team finished with 40 wins for just the second time in program history.
WVU advanced to the NCAA tournament, where it was eliminated in the Kentucky Regional.
Wetherholt is projected as a top-five pick in the 2024 MLB draft, and could become the school’s third overall No. 1 selection, following basketball’s Mark Workman (1952) and “Hot” Rod Hundley (1957).
“The sky is the limit for that kid,” Mazey said. “He can accomplish a lot at this level, a lot at the next level and the level after that.”
Frazier took second place after anchoring a WVU offensive line that led the Mountaineers to a 9-4 season and a victory over North Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.
The Fairmont native played in 47 career games for the Mountaineers at center. WVU led the Big 12 in rushing last season, averaging 228.9 yards per game.
A native of Norfolk, Va., Quinerly helped lead the WVU women’s basketball team to a 25-win season, which ended in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
She was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and first-team all-Big 12 after averaging 19.8 points per game and finishing with 97 steals.
The Hardman Award is sponsored by the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
Editor’s Note:Photo of Wetherholt by William Wotring/The Dominion Post

Connect Bridgeport
© 2024