Winning as a team

When all is said and done, three team champions will be crowned at this week’s state softball tournament.

For the first time in quite a few years, I wasn’t able to attend the state track meet last weekend in Charleston.

As anxious as I am to see how things play out in the three classes at Jackson Park this week, I was amazed at some of the results when I looked back at the state track meet.

Of course, the goal in track is to have talented individuals – and the more the merrier – compete and compile points.

Aside from the relay races, track is all about individuals doing their best and earning points for the team.

Especially when it comes to softball, one blunder very well could make or break a team’s season or at least put them in an inevitably-tough situation.

Obviously, the winning individual is always hoisted the highest and that’s why they stand above everyone else on the podium.

However, there’s little shame in coming up just a tad short and having to settle for second place.

For example, Doddridge County’s Brandon Smith played a key role in helping the Bulldogs secure a fourth straight Class A state track title. However, in the open 100 at the state meet, he ran a solid 11.35, only to finish second by 15-hundredths of a second to Buffalo’s Jordan Tucker.

Three other amazing finishes took place involving local athletes on the boys side during individual races which more than went down to the proverbial wire.

Wirt County’s Logan Kerby ran a 1:59.95 to take second in the 800, finishing just behind Buffalo’s Ian Nichols, who posted a 1:58.88.

Kerby’s Tiger teammate Glenn McMillan clocked his best mile time of the season at 4:32.11 and just eked out the win against Doddridge County’s Hunter Riffle, who finished in 4:32.53. Riffle had a little better luck in the 2-mile, thanks to his winning effort of 9:44.47, but again the bridesmaid was right on his heels as Buffalo’s Hayden Harrison turned in a 9:44.92 effort.

It’s amazing to be in attendance to watch finishes like those, whether they are at a state track meet or during the regular season. At the same time, the most important day of the year is when everyone hopes they perform at their respective best.

Getting back to softball, it’s one sport I’ve always enjoyed covering along with volleyball since I started working in sports.

Anytime a team has great pitching, they most assuredly stand the best chance of winning.

One has to look no further, for instance, than Class A softball power Buffalo, which will try to ride the pitching of senior Chelsey Parkins and junior Ali Burdette to yet another state crown.

To be a team champion in softball, it generally takes everyone always being on top of their game because sometimes even the slightest mental lapse or untimely error can cause everything to unravel and result in dubious circumstances.

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com