The Times West Virginian

Prep Sports

May 19, 2014

County rivalries renewed during sectional baseball playoffs

FAIRMONT — Fairmont Senior pitcher Austin Norman stood in the left-field corner at Mary Lou Retton Park staring into the late-April night’s sky as he tried to piece together the game he just played.

Not often does a starting pitcher throw a complete game 3-hitter, strike out 10, allow just one run and then lose the game. But that’s exactly what happened about a month ago when he was outdueled by East Fairmont sophomore Jacob Bolander, who tossed a complete-game no-hitter in a 1-0 Bees’ victory.

Finally, after a prolonged silence, Norman came to the following conclusion: “This probably won’t be the last time that we see him. And probably the next time we see him will be for all the marbles in the sectionals.”

Well, the Region I, Section I playoffs begin today at Mary Lou Retton Park, and it’s finally time to see if Norman’s statement is true.

East Fairmont coach Joe Price has already confirmed that he will start Bolander in the 7 p.m. game two and Fairmont Senior coach Steve Naternicola said he will throw Norman — that is if the Polar Bears can make it to the second game.

First, at 5 p.m. North Marion will do everything in its power to make sure that the rematch never happens.

The Huskies lost to the Polar Bears both times the teams met this season, a 5-1 letdown in early May and a 12-4 defeat just a week ago, so they know what they’ll be up against.

“Fairmont Senior is a good team,” said North Marion coach Vic Seccuro. “They hit the ball well and they’ve got good pitching. Those are the things we have to do well if we’re going to beat them.”

Seccuro started Christian Tomana and Matt Hawkins in the two losses. Today he will send junior right-hander Skyler Brooks to the mound with the hope that the third time is the charm.

“He’s just going to have to do a good job of mixing his pitches,” said Seccuro. “If he’s on, he’ll be comfortable. If he’s not, then we’re going to have some problems.”

Fairmont Senior, meanwhile, will go with senior Bailey Mohr, a right-hander who is just one of a handful of Polar Bears who have experience from playing on the state runner-up team last season.

“We know what we have to do,” Naternicola said. “We got the job done when we played them (before), but right now all the teams are 0-0. This is a new season right now. The regular season doesn’t mean anything right now.”

The winner of the second game will get a bye to Wednesday’s 6 p.m. championship game, while the losers square off in an elimination game at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The Bees, who split with North Marion, stressed the importance of winning the second game, no matter the opponent.

"We’re coming out to win the first game so we don’t have to fight with our backs against the wall,” said Bolander. “We want to be in the driver’s seat and watch North and West battle it out Tuesday."

Email Mike DeFabo at mdefabo@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.

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