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Former Jefferson players see college season cut short

By Staff | Apr 17, 2020

Hood College senior Desmond Grimes pitches a ball to home plate. Courtesy photo

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Paul Witt and Austin Bulman were the two former Jefferson High School baseball players going through their spring paces at NCAA Division I schools. Taylor Tennant and Jordan Trunnel were pitching at the Division II level. Alex Tennant was enjoying a prosperous season as a hot-hitting infielder at West Virginia Tech.

Playing at the NCAA Division III level were Desmond Grimes, David Dinges and Danny Brennan — all at Hood College in Frederick. And pitching for Potomac State in Keyser was Austin Cross.

The key word in watching their college seasons is “were.” Colleges across the country are now without baseball as all have been silenced by the dangerous coronavirus.

Witt is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. He’s a four-year starter who began his career as a shortstop and has played second base in both 2019 and 2020.

When his 2020 season was ended, Witt showed a .333 batting average in 11 games and had scored 10 runs and driven in nine runs.

Hood College pitcher David Dinges prepares to throw a baseball in a game. Courtesy photo

Virginia Commonwealth had an 8-3 record and was readying for conference games in the Atlantic 10.

Witt’s last year of eligibility was restored and he could return to VCU for another season in 2021.

Bulman was in his first season at Rice University in Houston, Texas. His Owls were sporting a troubled 2-14 record. Bulman had begun his college days at Shippensburg and then left after one year for a junior college in North Carolina. Following his one year in the junior college ranks, he went to Rice.

As a starter in all 16 games at Rice, Bulman was hitting .261 (18-for-69) with 20 strikeouts and two home runs.

Infielder Alex Tennant had a healthy .348 batting average at West Virginia Tech where the team had a 7-16 overall record. In his 20 games, Tennant had driven in 12 runs and was 23-for-66.

Taylor Tennant, the younger brother of Alex, was a freshman at Fairmont State where he had made two pitching appearances, had no decisions, had pitched 3.2 innings and showed a 4.91 ERA.

Jordan Trunnel was a freshman pitcher at Shepherd, where the Rams had an 11-7 overall record. In his two pitching appearances, Trunnel had worked two innings, had no decisions and a 27.00 ERA.

At Hood College, pitcher Desmond Grimes was a fifth-year student. The Blazers had an 8-3 with Grimes appearing in seven games and pitching 9.1 innings in relief. His record was 0-0 and his ERA was 3.86. Pitcher David Dinges had made four appearances, pitching 3.2 innings to an ERA of 14.73. It was his sophomore season.

Outfielder Danny Brennan was also a sophomore at Hood. In four official at-bats, he had one hit and a .250 batting average.

Left-handed pitcher Austin Cross was coming off a dominant performance. In his final start of the bob-tailed season, Cross had authored a one-hit, complete game performance as the Catamounts posted an 8-0 win over Glenville State. Cross fanned 11 and walked only two batters. Overall, Cross had appeared in four games, pitched 16.2 innings and had a 1-2 record. His ERA was 5.94 in his sophomore season at the two-year school.

Cross was on the summer roster of the Valley Baseball League’s Purcellville Cannons, but that league has cancelled its entire 2020 season because of the effects of the coronavirus.

All of the underclassmen will have their eligibility restored by one season since the 2020 campaign was so abruptly ended with so many games remaining.