POINT PLEASANT ā A win 1,106 days in the making just got a little bit sweeter.
After helping the Point Pleasant boys soccer team capture its first state championship, sophomore Joey Pinkerton has earned the West Virginia Sports Writers Associationās Boys Player of the Year Award.
āThereās no better feeling than this,ā he said. āI wasnāt really expecting this; I just thought I had a good season.ā
Pinkerton scored 18 goals, three of which came in the state tournament, along with 13 assists.
He also put in the winning kick from the mark in the state final.
āHe is the kind of player that wants to be outstanding and wants to play at the next level,ā Black Knights coach Chip Wood said. āHeās very motivated to be coached, and heās not afraid of taking big moments head-on.ā
Point Pleasant won its fourth consecutive Region 4 title to once again qualify for the state tournament. The Black Knights beat Wheeling Central Catholic 4-0 in the semifinals to set up a fourth straight showdown with ĀŅĀ×ÄŚÉä Catholic, which had eliminated Point Pleasant from the previous three state tournaments.
āIāve never wanted to beat a team so bad,ā Pinkerton said. āIn fact, I was hoping that Catholic would beat Lewis County in the semis so we could have a chance at them. You couldnāt script it better than this.ā
The Irish scored first in the final. However, Pinkerton said, Point Pleasant didnāt get discouraged, and the sophomore scored the equalizer with seven minutes to go in the first half.
āOur level of intensity didnāt drop at all, and we knew it was only a matter of time before we got that tying goal,ā he said.
After the second half and overtime went scoreless, the final went to kicks from the mark.
With an opportunity to get the win, Pinkerton at first couldnāt believe his shot made it into the net.
āMy first thoughts were of how it actually happened. It really went in,ā he said. āInstantly my mind went to all of my teammates, especially all of the friends I made last year who werenāt there anymore. I wanted to make this for them too.ā
After winning, Pinkerton said several of his old teammates reached out to him.
āEveryone has been so supportive,ā he said. āI love all of my teammates, past and present, and to hear the ones that have graduated say theyāre so proud of me means the world.ā
Even though he still has a couple years of high school left, Pinkerton said he has a school heād love to play for at the next level.
āMarshall,ā he said. āBoth of my parents went there, and Iād love to get the chance to play for the Herd.ā
Other finalists for the award were Michael Luechauer (George Washington), Tanner Griffith (Lewis County), Tresz McLeod (Wheeling Park) and Gio Cinco (ĀŅĀ×ÄŚÉä Catholic).
Pinkerton will be recognized at the 77th annual Victory Awards Dinner on May 5 at River City in Wheeling.