State softball tournament begins with a pizza party

Photo by Dominic Catacora Different softball teams sat and listened to a live DJ Tuesday at Vienna’s Jackson Memorial Park.

VIENNA — Before the first pitch is thrown at Vienna’s Jackson Memorial Park, a celebration is thrown for the teams who will be participating in the state softball tournament. Coaches and athletes representing their school colors were present at the annual softball celebration where music is played and pizza is served. It’s a kind welcoming for the athletes and an acknowledgment for their hardwork to make it to the state tournament.

It’s a friendly celebration, but on the back of many of the athletes minds was the tournament that kicks off around 9:45 a.m. One of the athletes, Jayme Bailey, a third baseman for the Hurricane Redskins, has been to the tournament before and anticipates a very solid competition.

“It’s a great tournament,” said Bailey. “We love coming here every year and trying to make it every year. It really puts our heads to the test and gets our heads straight.”

Hurricane plays 30 minutes after the Class AAA Game 1 against George Washington at Jackson Memorial Park Field 1. It’s going to be a very competitive match for both teams and when asked about a team strategy the third baseman gave an answer.

“Keeping our heads straight, staying focused, and getting the job done,” said Bailey.

This is also a tournament that many of the coaches have seen before.

Sherman Tide head coach Jim Henderson was at the same event last year with a few of his athletes.

“We were up here last year and ended up runner-up. So they know what to expect,” said Henderson.

Another team coming back to the tournament is Wyoming East. This is the second year in a row that the Wyoming East Warriors have arrived to the state tournament. The team will be going up against Chapmanville around 10 a.m. at Jackson Memorial Park field three for the Class AA competition.

“We have a tough section, a tough region to come out of, we’re going to do the best we can,” said Chapmanville Tigers head coach Ronnie Ooten. “We have a good bunch of kids. I’m proud to be with them.”

The tournament is divided onto three separate softball fields. The Class AAA teams are going to be played at Field 1 starting at 9:45 a.m. The class AA is going to be played at field 3 and starts around 9:30 a.m., and the Class A games are going to take place at field 2 and those games begin at 10 a.m.

A total of 12 teams will be competing at the tournament this morning and each one is looking to go as far as they can.