The Times West Virginian

Prep Sports

May 13, 2014

No. 5 FSHS routs North in wake of sectional tournament: PHOTOS

RACHEL — Both teams on the field Monday night saw a preview of what they’ll see in a week when the sectional tournament begins. The outcome was not to the liking of North Marion but their opponent, Fairmont Senior, saw its bats wake up for the first time in a few games in a 12-4 Fairmont Senior victory at North Marion High School.

Fairmont Senior coach Steve Naternicola had seen his team’s batting average take a hit over the past week or two and, despite still pulling off some wins, he wasn’t too excited about it. But in a lopsided victory, his Polar Bears strung together 12 runs on 16 hits to get the win, including a five-run third inning that featured a three-run blast from Austin Norman and a two-run shot from Ryder Skarzinksi.

“We came out hungry against North Marion. We know that we’ll be playing them the first game of our sectional and we wanted to make a statement today,” Naternicola said. “And we did a pretty good job.”

The surging visitor side of the third inning came just before a 45-minute lightning delay.

But North Marion coach Vic Seccuro’s team had been in that situation before, trailing a team with a dominant pitcher by multiple runs midway through the game. Seccuro reminded his team of that during the delay.

“In the Preston game, we were down seven runs to a darn good pitcher and we came back and scored eight runs in three innings,” Seccuro remembered. “That’s what I told them here. I said, ‘Hey, guys remember last Thursday in Preston? We’ve got the same situation here.’”

The Huskies attempted to mount a comeback, bringing some lightning of their own to the plate when the game resumed in the bottom half of the third inning.

Cody Opron singled and Travis Smith walked, putting two on for Ryan Jolliffe. Jolliffe would plate Opron on a single and Smith would later score on a Skyler Brooks sacrifice. Jolliffe would then come around to score on an error to cut the Polar Bears 5-0 lead into just a 2-run contest.

Unfortunately for the Huskies, they would muster up only one more run in the fourth inning off Cole Richards’ sacrifice bunt.

“You’ve got to give West some credit. They came out and hit the ball like they were supposed to,” Seccuro said. “We had a couple of spots where we did hit and had a few timely hits, but we just couldn’t get any base runners.”

Opron was the lone Husky with multiple hits, going 2-for-3.

For the Polar Bears, who would go on to score seven more runs, young bats finally woke up.

Trae Hall went 4-for-4 with an RBI single, Ryan Ricer went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Daimen Davis went 2-for-3 for Fairmont Senior.

“The seniors show confidence in us just like the coaches,” Hall said. “They’ve got our backs and we’ve got their backs. We just go out there and play baseball.”

The win gives the Polar Bears added confidence going into the sectional tournament, which begins next Monday when the Polar Bears and Huskies will meet again. The senior-laden lineup will be looking to making a run at a state championship, where they just fell short a season ago.

Norman, who pitched 6.0 innings and allowed just five hits while striking out three in addition to his home run, believes the young bats will help out come postseason time.

Hall said the feeling is mutual.

“We talked before the game and we decided we’re going to do it for our five seniors who have been here for four years,” he said. “We decided that everything we do, we’re going to go out there and do it for them.”

For the Huskies, they’ll look to rewrite the history books and topple the Polar Bears come sectional time.

“Norman and Bailey (Mohr) are both class pitchers and mix it up good on you,” Seccuro said. “We’re just going to work on every fundamental and I think you’re going to see a little better Husky team.”

A team like North Marion, which beat top-seeded East Fairmont, will be no easy task to look past despite the win Monday.

“It’s make-or-break time. It’s win or go home,” Norman said. “Any of these three teams are capable are doing anything they want. Anyone can win this thing.”

Email Matt Welch at mwelch@timeswv.com or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

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