FAIRMONT, W.Va – A big crowd was out at Mary Lou Retton Park for Fairmont Senior hosting Keyser including former Polar Bears Darius and Dante Ttills. One win away from the state tournament, Senior got it started early.
Sammy Viani worked out of a jam in the top of the second with a strikeout and then the bats came alive. To kick off the bottom half, Gavin Blair blasted off over the right field fence to open the scoring and give the Bears some momentum right off the bat for a one run lead. Later in the inning, Gavin Hissam singled up the middle and Viani scored from second to make 2-0 after two.
Keyser got one off of Viani in the top of the fourth but Senior answered in the bottom half again as a wild pitch brought in one and then a Dominic Viani sacrifice fly extended the lead to three with more Polar Bears waiting on the bases to come home. Finally, Evan Dennison clubbed a single into right to bring in the third run of the inning.
The Fairmont Senior bullpen allowed just one run in relief and Dominic Viani finished off the game his brother started with a strikeout to send the Polar Bears to the state tournament for the first time since 2014 with a 5-2 win and put the Senior baseball team on the pedestal along with the rest of this year’s standout teams from the west side.
“It’s great because usually Fairmont Senior baseball doesn’t come out and make states every year,” Hissam said, “We’re not like our basketball and football teams. We’re trying to establish that here and become a better team as a whole.”
Polar Bear head coach David Ricer said it’s a relief to be able to reach the heights so many of his team’s counterparts have in recent years.
“It’s great to get the monkey off my back finally, especially when we’re producing girls basketball, boys basketball, football, soccer, lacrosse, you name it,” he said, “We’re there and we’re going to have some fun.”
Fairmont Senior heads to Charleston with a 20-9 record and as winners of six of its last seven heading into the state tournament.