Sometimes in sports there really isn't a loser.
Yes, the scoreboard always tells us otherwise, but some events are so good the members of the losing team can hold their heads high despite their extreme disappointment over the result.
That was the case last week when city rivals Parkersburg South and Parkersburg High met in a best-of-three series for the Class AAA sectional softball title.
Historically, this is one of the most-sided series of all the sports in which the Patriots and Big Reds challenge each other. South's domination began the first year the sport came into existence and has continued ever since.
Once again, the Patriots prevailed and will participate in the regional tournament, taking on Wheeling Park on Thursday in a semifinal matchup.
But this series was a classic that brought out the best in both teams.
Parkersburg won the opener, 5-1. Veteran observers say it was just the Big Reds second sectional triumph over South. It was a historic night for a PHS program that finally has established itself under second-year head coach Ron Perdue. Anytime you beat the defending Class AAA state runner-up it is quite an accomplishment.
But PHS had to win twice. South, despite suffering heavy graduation losses from last year's team, wouldn't go down without a fight. Indeed, coach Jennifer Null's Patriots won game two, 4-1, setting up a third and decisive game for the sectional title.
It turned out to be a classic.
South grabbed a 3-2 lead and fought off several Parkersburg threats to tie the game or take the lead. Once again, the Patriots prevailed. But this time, it was a three-game dogfight.
The series represented sports at its best. Three highly competitive games. A determined underdog who fought to the end. A just-as-determined favorite who refused to surrender.
A?fond farewell: The final West Virginia Conference Softball Tournament took place Thursday through Saturday at Vienna's Rosemar Road Softball Complex. It goes without saying Vienna put on a first-class show, which is its long-established reputation.
Although the WVIAC is breaking up, several of its members, including Vienna-based Ohio Valley University, are joining the Greater Midwest Athletic Conference.
The G-MAC sent a representative to observe the softball tournament, and word is the league would like to make Vienna the home of its championship.
Later this month, on Wednesday, May 22, and Thursday, May 23, Vienna will conduct the West Virginia State High School Softball Tournament.
It is the only state prep championship that annually takes place in Wood County, due largely to our lack of adequate facilities to conduct other titles here.
It's always great to see our area become the center of statewide sports attention, even if it just for a few days.