Wildcats join Legion state tournament field
South Charleston is the popular pre-tournament choice to repeat as the Senior American Legion state baseball champion. The Post 94 team brings a 28-2-1 overall record to Sissonville High School, site of this year’s six-team event.
The Jefferson Wildcats brushed past Potomac Valley and Romney in the area to earn their way into the four-day tournament.
South Charleston is the host team. The other four teams are Fairmont, Beckley, Elkins and Wheeling.
Jefferson opened its tournament on Wednesday in an early afternoon game against Beckley. The Wildcats took a 17-4 overall record into the state tournament.
In its last two games before going to Sissonville, the Wildcats split a doubleheader with Elkins, winning the second game, 5-4, after being blanked, 7-0, in the opener in games played in Elkins.
The players are all 19 years old or younger and all but Bryan Bayliss were members of either the Jefferson High or Washington High teams this past spring.
Ryan French and Bradley Davis head the pitching staff that could also use Zac Burch, Mark McKee, Charlie Barnholt, Robert Cross and Desmond Grimes if the team is still alive in the double elimination tournament when it crowns a champion on Saturday.
Will Oliver heads an outfield that also has Cameron Alvarez and Bayliss.
Most of the players are versatile enough to play more than one position and that could play a vital role if injuries or sore arms cause problems. Robert Cross already has a hand injury and could miss the tournament.
The team’s infielders include Ty Carroll and Tim Joy and the catchers are Dylan Mackey and G. Cross.
When French pitches, the team must find an adequate shortstop from its list of utility players.
South Charleston hasn’t lost since June 22 and neither of its two losses was to a West Virginia team.
The winner of the state tournament will enter the Mid-Atlantic Region tournament to be played at Firemen’s Field in Leesburg, Virginia beginning on August 5. The field of teams in Leesburg will have two teams from Pennsylvania and the state champions from New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and West Virginia.