Morgantown – No Regrets.
After graduating from high school, Grant Hussey decided to forgo the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft and choose college instead.
One year later, the Parkersburg South graduate is entering his second season with the Mountaineers with the expectation of taking his game to 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 very interesting – it was a good competition, of course, because there were top level players from all over the country,” he said. Hussey said. “I remember we had a day off and then came back and played matches for 27 days in a row.
“It was very special because I made the All-Star game. It defined all the work I did during the season at WVU.”
WVU’s home run captain as a freshman, Hussey already has his sights set on next summer after being invited to play in the Cape Cod League. He will be a member of the Wareham Gatemen, the same team Parkersburg High School alumnus and former Major League Baseball player Nick Swisher played for.
“At this point, it’s the best ever,” he said. Hussey said. “There aren’t a lot of guys playing ball out there. In terms of talent, the Cape Cod League has far outpaced the Northwoods League. You know where your game is, 100 percent.”
My obsession made an immediate impact with WVU’s baseball program. He hit a grand slam in the season opener against Central Michigan—the first of three homers he hit in the Mountaineers’ first four games. For the year, his numbers included a . 489 steals average with 11 homers and 35 saves.
“I was definitely comfortable playing in my home country,” he said. Hussey said. “It’s good that my family can come whenever they want to come. I was ready for college ball.”
By the end of the regular season, WVU was tied with Texas for fifth in the Big 12 Conference standings after finishing 14-10—the most wins by a WVU baseball program since joining the Big 12 in 2013. The Mountaineers finished 33-22 overall and qualified for the Big 12 12 Conference Tournament.
With WVU’s football and men’s basketball teams treading water and trying to stay above . 500 during the current school year, Hussey feels baseball can provide a spark for Mountaineer men’s athletics. The culture around campus is inviting after WVU baseball set an attendance record last season at Monongalia County Ballpark.
“With years of football and men’s basketball resting on WVU fans resting on something to watch—baseball culture is changing for the better,” Hussey said.
Before setting foot on campus to officially start classes, Hussey had prior experience playing in Morgantown as part of the 2021 MLB Draft League. As a member of the West Virginia Black Bears, he learned from among the best. One of the most accomplished players in West Virginia baseball history, University High School graduate Jed Gyorko managed the Black Bears.
In just 31 games and 135 at bats, Hussey batted . 277 with eight homers and a 0.598 slugging percentage.
“It was a great experience,” Hussey said. “Jedd Gyorko has a big league mentality. I was able to pick his brain every day. He has a different view of things. I still see him in Morgantown sometimes.”
Hussey’s sophomore season at WVU begins February 17 with a three-day trip to Georgia Southern. When the Mountaineers return, they will host Minnesota for one game in the middle of the week before heading out west for a three-game series on February 24-26 against the University of Arizona.
The trip almost always includes an exhibition game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Hussey, who holds a 3.5-point average as a major in sports administration, embraces long road trips—a common theme when playing in the Big 12 Conference.
“Love to travel,” Hussey said. “I did it with the traveling ball, so it wasn’t much of an adjustment. I always like to go to Georgia and also Lubbock, Texas, which is where Texas Tech is. I also enjoyed Fort Worth, Texas.”
Hossie conference members, in particular, will get more in-depth scouting reports now that a full collegiate season is on the books.
“Over time, it becomes more difficult as they learn how to promote you,” Hussey said. “At the end of the first week 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 missed swing rate and graphs on hit-taking” .
In order to counteract, Hussey simply replied, “Just hit the ball.”
As mentioned earlier, Hussey has his fair share of family support when he plays WVU at home. In addition to his parents (Steve and Jan), sister (Meredith), half-brother (Aiden) and 6-year-old brother Cole who attend games all season, his grandparents Mike and Phyllis Rowley are season ticket holders and don’t. Don’t miss the home game.
“My grandparents are my biggest fans,” Hussey said. “I have no regrets whatsoever about going to college rather than going into the draft. It was the best choice for me. I always thought about being mature enough to do something, and at that point in my career I wasn’t mature enough.
“The next six months, I’m really excited because it’s one of the best stretches of baseball of my life.”
One of Hussey’s focal points in his sophomore season was to reduce hitting while trying to keep his batting average and slugging percentage intact.
“I don’t want to do anything else – this is a dream and where I want to be since I started playing baseball,” Hussey said. “Every kid wants to be in the big leagues and I have a chance to do that. That’s all I can ask.”
“It’s a full-time job, but I choose to be here and I’m doing everything I can to reach my goal.”
Contact Kerry Patrick at [email protected]