By Mike DeFabo
Times West Virginian
Things changed pretty quickly for East Fairmont’s softball team last week.
For seven hard-fought innings, the Bees did everything in their power to fight and claw their way to a sectional victory over North Marion. But as soon as the final pitch was thrown and East Fairmont came out on top, 2-1, the Huskies went from the Bees’ No. 1 rival to their most-trusted source.
You see, East Fairmont’s regular season game with Braxton County was rained out (much like what the forecast for today’s 6 p.m. semi-regional predicts). So East Fairmont coach John Postlewait counted on North Marion coach Brad Harker, the man standing just across the diamond in the opposing dugout, to provide a scouting report of sorts.
What he found was that Harker’s Huskies won both halves of a doubleheader with Braxton County on April 24, 16-1 and 6-3 — a promising sign for the Bees.
If East Fairmont beat North Marion twice, and North Marion beat Braxton County twice, then logically that means East Fairmont should beat Braxton County.
“This time of year that really doesn’t mean anything,” Postlewait said, pointing to the fact that Braxton County 10-runned Webster County twice to earn the right to host the Bees.
“Unfortunately we didn’t get to play them this year, so we’re going in blind,” he said. “We’re going to do the same thing we did going into last week. We’re going to go into it worrying about ourselves and controlling what we control — throwing quality pitches, playing good defense, not giving up outs, hitting the ball, putting the ball in play.”
That formula has worked well over the final stretch of the season for the Bees, who enter the game winners of six in a row and nine of their last 11.
The pitching and defense have improved over the stretch, with East Fairmont limiting the potent North Marion hitters to just three runs over two games.
“We’ve gotten better over the past few games and it seems like we’re peaking at the right time,” Postlewait said. “Unfortunately you have this big layoff between games. You’d like to be able to keep playing a little bit.”
Should the Bees win, they will advance to play the winner of the Ritchie County-Oak Glen semi-regional game.
East Fairmont split a doubleheader on Senior Day with Oak Glen, which boasts one of the most dominant young pitchers in the state. But Postlewait isn’t too concerned with that potential matchup just yet.
“I’m not even thinking about that, honestly,” he said. “I’m just trying to focus on this game and keep the girls focused on this game.”
Email Mike DeFabo at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.