PARKERSBURG - With the Mountain State Athletic Conference baseball playoffs looming, Parkersburg High School's Big Reds are not far from qualifying for the semifinals.
When the league standings were released Monday, coach Alan Burns' squad found itself in second place, trailing only Hurricane, the state's top-ranked team.
If the Big Reds finish within the top four, they will find themselves two victories away from bringing home their first ever MSAC Tournament title, the most prestigious regular championship as the league holds 16 of the state's 38 Class AAA baseball programs.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Parkersburg High's Cole Parker looks to throw to first to complete a double play against Eastchester, N.Y. Parker and his PHS?teammates are on the verge of qualifying for the MSAC?playoffs.
South Charleston will come to visit the Big Reds on their home turf today. To hold down their spot in the semifinals, the Big Reds will have to send the Black Eagles home with a loss. South Charleston was ranked seventh in the league with a rating of 3.60 as of Monday. Weather permitting the two teams are scheduled for a 6 p.m. start today at Bennett Stump Field.
It is not only South Charleston that stands in the Big Reds way. On Thursday, Burns' boys will head to George Washington to play the Patriots for their final regular season MSAC game.
"It comes down to those games whether we remain in the top four," Burns said in regards to the coming week.
Coach Burns stated that having the consistent Cole Parker on the team was a nice asset.
"Cole pitches and hits well, we can put him anywhere and that's nice," Burns said. The Big Reds have a senior dominated team with a total of nine returning seniors.
The Big Reds have not reached their new found standing without some setbacks, of course. The team has faced a drop in their batting average to .307.
When asked what he needs from his team, Burns stated that an improvement in effort would increase their odds.
"We are going to need our seniors to step up," Burns said. "We can play and hold our own against anybody." Burns said recalling the success his team has had defending its home ground. " The next step is to now rise up and beat them."