By Nick Cammuso
Times West Virginian
What a difference a year makes.
This time last April, North Marion softball was trying to find its footing in a season where the Huskies finished an even .500 at 14-14.
North has to be among the more improved teams in the state during 2013’s early going, as the Huskies sit at 6-2 overall heading into today’s annual Diamond Dawg double-elimination tournament that gets under way this morning in Rachel.
New coach Brad Harker has brought the experience of past success when he was last in charge over a decade ago, and the young squad has brought in so far.
Even in Wednesday’s 5-4, nine-inning loss to University, the changes were easy to see. The Huskies took an early lead, only to lose it almost as quickly as they gained it, and went into the bottom of the seventh inning facing a do-or-die situation.
Freshman — yes, freshman — Shasta Pyles ripped a double in the gap to deadlock the game at 4-all and force extras. That University got two bunt singles in the ninth, even that the Hawks prevailed in the end, doesn’t really matter.
The Huskies sent a message: That they will keep fighting — and this fast start doesn’t look like a fluke.
Speaking of North, the Husky boys’ basketball program is bringing old and new together on Sunday afternoon.
At the high school at 1 p.m., North’s varsity team will play assorted alumni players from years past.
Like most anything, the Husky faithful does a great job of supporting its school, and this should be no different. Admission at the door is just $2.
If you hadn’t noticed, Fairmont State baseball is on a roll.
The Falcons have won seven of their last eight and improved their record to 11-13 overall and 7-7 in the WVIAC with a two-game sweep of Glenville State earlier this week.
A familiar name played a key role along the way, as Fairmont Senior grad Jamie Allard notched a complete game, two-hit shutout. The right-hander struck out five and walked none, and let one runner reach second base.
On the year, Allard is 3-2 with a 2.78 ERA over 35-plus innings.
Elsewhere, former Polar Bear standout Tyler Walter is off to a flying start at Hagerstown Community College (Md.).
The former all-state first baseman was leading the team with 31 RBIs and has added a 349 batting average.
Email Nick Cammuso at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter@NickCammusoTWV.