Today is prime time for softball.
Throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley each of the 14 squads in the Little Kanawha Conference will be playing for their final positioning. Also, the West Virginia Conference softball tournament starts at 10 a.m. today at Vienna's Jackson Park and will conclude early Saturday afternoon with an automatic regional berth going to the champion.
I suppose if I had to pick a couple winners, and assuming Mother Nature is not one of the choices, I'm going to keep it close to the vest and go with top-seeded W.Va. Wesleyan to win the WVIAC and Ritchie County to secure two wins in Spencer this evening to capture the LKC crown.
If I was forced to pick which squad I had more confidence in to win I think I'd choose the Rebels of head coach Dave Mossor because of their experience factor and having senior catcher Allison DeLancey. The reigning state player of the year is having another fine campaign as evidenced by her .701 average, five triples, seven doubles, nine home runs, 33 runs-batted-in and also being 33 of 33 on stolen base attempts.
When it comes to the WVIAC, I've been to enough of them to know that being the top seed is nice, but it doesn't mean a lot if your pitching, hitting and most importantly your defense fails to show up.
Of course, the first crack at sending the Bobcats of head man Steve Warner into the loser's bracket will come in Wesleyan's scheduled 10 a.m. opener against host Ohio Valley University.
Skipper Rob Graham's Fighting Scots indeed will be the underdog, but that's just one of the things which makes postseason tournaments exciting because the unexpected can happen at any moment.
This season has been one for the records books at OVU with a school-best 23 wins. However, this year also marks the end of coach Graham being the mentor of his daughter Kelsey on the diamond.
"All through the years it's been great because it's been a good relationship for us," coach Graham stated. "When she was younger we always did travel ball and coming up through high school ball (at Parkersburg High) and college ball, but it will be a big adjustment not having her around anymore.
"But, we still have to replace her (at second base) and keep moving on. It's been a great part of our lives to be able to experience that. It's something very few people get to do."
Although I'd like to be in Spencer to watch the LKC, which pits Braxton County and Ritchie County at 4 p.m. with St. Marys then taking on Roane County and the championship game to follow, I'll be at Jackson Park.
At least I won't be making LKC placement trips like Tyler Consolidated going to Calhoun County for 13th or Williamstown heading to Clay County for ninth. The other games include Doddridge County at Wirt County for fifth, Ravenswood at Gilmer County for seventh and Parkersburg Catholic at South Harrison for 11th.
Contact Jay Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org