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Warriors Forrest Haga and Caleb Sheets team up one last time Wednesday night for the West, coached in part by Chilhowie's Jeff Robinson, at War Memorial Stadium in Hampton.
DAVID CRIGGER | Bristol Herald Courier
Outfielder Forrest Haga is one of two Chilhowie players participating in Wednesday's VHSCA all-star baseball game in Hampton.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
The last high school baseball game Forrest Haga will play will be a predictable mix of the bitter and the sweet.
Wednesday’s 7 p.m. Virginia High Scho ol Coaches Association all-star game at Hampton’s War Memorial Stadium will be the final time Haga and Chilhowie teammate Caleb Sheets play for Warriors coach Jeff Robinson, also one of the West squad’s coaches.
“That last rodeo,” Haga said.
Haga has proved in a fabulous four-year Chilhowie career that he knows how to cowboy up.
The statistical round-up from his senior season includes a .658 batting average, 48 hits, 42 RBIs, as well as 13 triples and six home runs that contributed to 26 extra base hits . That brought his career totals to 142 hits and 133 RBIs.
“He set almost every record our school has in almost every offensive category,” Robinson said.
The Chilhowie contingent is in good company. Also playing Wednesday are Zack Kelly and Will Cline from Lord Botetourt, Ethan Nicely from Alleghany, Lucas Nowlin from Northside, Collin Hill from William Byrd, and Drew Cox from Radford.
As for Haga, throw in a 2-0 record and 3.68 earned run average as a pitcher and you have the credentials that earned him selection as this year’s Group A player of the year. It almost makes you forget that he hit an astronomical 80-plus home runs before he ever left youth competition.
Haga helped lead Chilhowie to a state Division 2 runner-up finish in 2012. The Warriors lost to eventual state runner-up Glenvar in the Region C semifinals, leaving Chilhowie one win short of going back to the state tournament this year.
It’s hard to be humble with kind of resume, but Haga manages.
“I’m not patting myself on the back,” he said.
Part of that level head comes from wisdom imparted by his father, Phillip. The father’s philosophy in part: 1.) There is always a better player than you are; 2.) Perfection is a journey and not a destination.
Sheets is also a four-year varsity player. He hit .406 with 30 RBIs and went 9-1 with a 2.55 ERA as the Warriors top pitcher. Haga and Sheets will reunite as teammates next year when they both play for King College, also their high school coach’s college and baseball team. Robinson said he exerted no influence one way or the other.
Meanwhile, there’s an all star game to play.
“I want us to go out right,” Haga said. “I want Caleb to play great, Coach to coach great, and me to play great. I can’t wait.”
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