The two most beautiful words in the world?
It all depends upon your point of view.
A miser would say "check enclosed.''
A marathon runner would say "finish line''.
I say "Play ball.''
We'll be playing a lot of ball today and Thursday as Vienna conducts the West Virginia State High School Softball Tournament.
It's not only a great event but there simply couldn't be a better site than the Darrell Dotson Sports Complex. It has three well manicured fields, one for each of the three classes. Should it rain, Vienna parks director Norm Harris and his dedicated crew do their best to keep the fields playable.
This year, there is added excitement in the Mid-Ohio Valley. That's because three area teams -one in each class -will be among the participants.
Start with Class AAA, where Parkersburg South won the Region 4 tournament that has produced the last seven state champions. The Patriots haven't participated in the state tournament since 2004. South is known for having one of the biggest and most loyal fan bases of any state school, no matter what the sport.
The Patriots are led by a returning all-state pitcher in CeCe Bailey, one of the best power hitters in the state in catcher Genna Trippett, and speedy leadoff hitter Katelyn Hamilton.
South's first round game with perennial power Logan looks like a classic.
If there is a favorite in Class AAA, it has to be John Marshall, the champion of the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference which has won 32 of its last 33 games.
On to Class AA, where Ritchie County is back to defend the title it captured a year ago.
Coach Dave Mossor's Rebels once again are deep and talented with pitcher Kelsey Waggoner and shortstop Allison DeLancey leading a strong lineup that doesn't have a weak spot. Ritchie -which already has claimed state titles in golf and boys track this year - and Wayne appear to be favorites in the middle school division with Keyser and Shady Spring looking to bump them off.
In Class A, St. Marys will join Ritchie as representatives of the Little Kanawha Conference. Last week, members of that league ran roughshod over the competition at the state track meet. In the Class A girls division, LKC members not only finished 1-2-3 but league members scored 346 of the 588 points awarded.
St. Marys opening round foe, Moorefield, has an impressive record as does Buffalo. Fayetteville has a losing record, but comes from a region known for rugged competition. The small school division title looks to be up for grabs.
Our staff will do its best to go all-out in covering the tournament. Tuesday's edition included a book featuring stories on the 12 participating teams, including their rosters and the tournament pairings.
Once the tournament begins, we'll have wall-to-wall coverage of the action from the national anthem to the awarding of the trophies.
It's time to Play Ball.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org