It's been a busy and a highly successful week at Parkersburg South.
Start with the Patriot softball team, which has experienced a great deal of heartbreak in past Region 4 championship games, losing five times when a win would have put South in the state tournament.
The sixth time was the charm for coach Jennifer Null's highly successful program, which finally will participate in the state tournament, beginning on Wednesday at Vienna's Jackson Park.
South and Cabell Midland hooked up in a classic regional final. The Knights pushed across an early run and it looked like it might hold up as the only score of the game. But that all changed in the bottom of the sixth inning when Genna Trippett blasted her 12th home run of the season with two runners on. It was 3-1 South and there was no way Cabell Midland was going to score on Patriot standout pitcher CeCe Bailey.
Now that South is set to make its first state appearance since 2004, the Patriots are a contender. While John Marshall, who has beaten South three times this season, has established itself as the favorite in Class AAA, don't count out South, which will be carrying a great deal of momentum and confidence from the regional final and should be cheered on by a large local contingent of fans.
Jennifer isn't the only member of the Null family basking in the glow of success. Brother Matt's Patriot baseball team captured the sectional championship last week and will open regional play at Nitro on Tuesday.
Null has worked hard to develop his program at South, starting a middle school team. That has paid off as this is the first group of players to come up through that program and they have won 25 games this season.
It's always great to see those who work hard to promote and develop their program enjoying some success from their efforts.
Speaking of efforts, South Athletics Director Rick Leach has worked overtime trying to fill the Patriots football schedule for this fall. He finally has succeeded, announcing that Friendship Christian Academy of Washington, D.C. will visit the Erickson All-Sports Facility on Sept. 28.
Before you go saying that Leach has scheduled a Rent-A-Win, think again. Friendship Academy was 9-1 last year with its only loss a 40-32 setback to Bergen Catholic Orodell of New Jersey, which lost the New Jersey Division 4 state title game to national power Don Bosco Prep.
Coached by the founder of the program, Aazar Abdul-Rahim, Friendship Academy has more than a half-dozen of its players being recruited by Division 1 schools, including defensive tackle Eddie Goldman, a 6-foot-5, 305-pound behemoth who is rated the No. 3 defensive tackle in America. He's being recruited by Florida State, Auburn, Alabama and California.
Should be worth the price of admission.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org