The Times West Virginian

Prep Sports

May 5, 2014

County softball teams prepared for sectional to begin

FAIRMONT — Anything can happen in the postseason.

And when the sectional softball tournament begins today, the records are wiped clean and it’s every team for itself.

The road to the state championship starts today at 4 p.m. at Rivesville Middle School when Fairmont Senior (0-18, 0-12 Big 10) hosts East Fairmont (12-8, 7-4 Big 10), followed by East Fairmont playing North Marion (17-3, 11-1 Big 10).

East Fairmont 10-runned the Polar Bears the last time out but know that the playoffs are a whole new ballgame.

“We want to go out and we want to play our game and worry about ourselves, not worry too much about who we’re playing but go out and do what we need to do to be successful,” East coach John Postlewait said. “That’s hitting the ball and not giving up outs defensively.”

But for the host team, playing the role of spoiler could be the key to the Polar Bears’ success.

“They’re going to take us lightly but I don’t want my girls to get down and think that they can’t compete with them,” Fairmont Senior coach Josh Leep said of his team’s chances in the postseason. “The best thing I told them to do is to play like we know how to play, hit like we know how to hit and field like we know how to field. If we do that, we’ll play with confidence.”

It hasn’t been the season that the Polar Bears had hoped for, but Leep said that he’s seen improvements each and every time out, especially in the circle.

Brooklyn Nuzum will get the start today, going up against East Fairmont’s dominant senior, Tori Postlewait. Leep said Nuzum is ready for the challenge.

“She’s improved every game that she’s pitched,” Leep said of Nuzum. “She’s getting more confident and throwing more consistent.”

Offensively, both teams have players who can hit the ball and each team has had new players come in and step up late in the season.

For East, Mikayla Moore came back off of injury to reclaim the leadoff spot in the Bees’ lineup, something that has helped tremendously, John Postlewait said.

“With her back in the lineup, she’s been doing her job and that’s getting on base,” he said of Moore. “That’s helped us out by getting her on base because of the hitters behind her.”

One of those hitters being Tori Postlewait, who has shown that she can go yard at any particular time.

Countering that offensive strike on the other side will be the quadruple threat of Fairmont Senior’s Nuzum, Becca Glover, Lexi Seremetis and Alexis Richardson, most of whom have started to come on and hit the ball well at the end of the season, Leep noted.

“Becca has been consistent all year but the others are now getting in the groove,” he said. “I expect them to step up at the plate.”

While winning the game will be a daunting task, an even harder matchup lies ahead with Big 10 Champions North Marion lurking in the shadows.

The Lady Huskies were on a tear all season and ended the regular season by shutting out No. 6 Liberty (Harrison), 3-0. Coach Brad Harker is hoping the momentum carries over.

“This is the time of the year when you want to be playing your best softball and I think that we are,” Harker said. “We’ve been gelling a bit. These last few wins have been nice team wins.”

If the Huskies hope to do what their motto says and move on, they’ll need a solid effort from standout pitcher Chelsi Latocha and a barrage of hits from a senior-heavy lineup, something Harker isn’t too worried about.

“I think it gives Chelsi a ton of confidence when they’re making plays and hitting the ball behind her,” Harker noted. “Our defense has been solid all year and we’ve made very few mistakes. We hope to carry that in behind us.”

The tournament will be a double elimination tournament, with the second day of action coming on Tuesday.

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

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