ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) — In our digital series ‘High School Standouts,’ Digital Sports Reporter Michael Epps features local athletes with incredible talent, hoping to take that talent to the next level.
These are athletes that stand out both on and off the field.
This week’s High School Standout is Chase Hungate, a senior baseball and basketball player at Abingdon High School.
Baseball is a special game in Abingdon.
“I just play my game and show everybody what I can do,” Abingdon graduating senior Chase Hungate said.
The Falcons uniform fit Hungate pretty well.
“It’s really cool, I’ve grown up watching kids go through here always dreaming of playing here and now I’m doing it so it’s been cool,” Hungate said.
He played varsity all four years and twice made the VHSL Class 3 state championship game: his freshman year back in 2018 and his senior year this spring.
“It’s crazy you know this little town of Abindgon being able to play in state championships twice in four years it’s really cool,” Hungate said.
“Chase never gets too high never gets too low which is something you want out of a young man he’s a guy in a tough situation you’re gonna trust him to come through he’s gonna give his best effort,” Abingdon head baseball coach Mark Francisco said.
He was a senior captain on the mound this season, but his freshman year he was the 3rd baseman and played next to a senior captain at shortstop which happened to be his older brother Cade Hungate.
“Oh yeah it was really cool like he’d be able to coach me he was right there I was playing 3rd that year and we’d be able to talk things out,” Hungate said.
Cade moved on to play baseball at Liberty University and Chase is headed to play at VCU, but these D-I brothers never forget their time spent together in Abingdon.
“Oh we talk about it all the time just some of the memories back that year going in a freshman it can be nervous but he helped calm that so it was good,” Hungate said.
“Cade was an exceptional athlete Chase is too so they’ve been a pleasure to coach and that Hungate name has been in our program for a long time it’s kinda sad to see it go,” Francisco said.
It kind of came full circle last month when Chase and the Falcons played in the state semifinal game at Liberty’s baseball field.
“When we got there I was like wow this is where my brother’s playing so yeah it was definitely cool we didn’t talk about it much after that I mean the game it was all about the win,” Hungate said.
This year’s senior class had that experience of playing in the big game as freshmen, which helped them have a special season this year after missing out on their junior year because of the pandemic.
On top of that, a few of these guys including Chase played on the boys basketball team that made the state title game this winter. Pretty impressive career for these guys.
“He’s just an exceptional athlete he’d got a bright future ahead of him at VCU he’s the kind of athlete that could have played college basketball too he’s really made a name for himself and has been an outstanding player for us for four years,” Francisco said.
“We just had good chemistry we played together ever since we were little kids just knowing each of our strengths and weaknesses and just being able to build off of that just being able to play our game,” Hungate said.
Follow this series throughout the year as WJHL’s Michael Epps finds the High School Standout every week on WJHL.com.