BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – This year’s Class Triple-A field is just about flipped from last year. The defending state champions, Bridgeport, see who they defeated in the championship game last year, Hurricane. But this time they meet in the semifinal on Friday.
“I love going to Power Park. This is the second year I’ve gone, my sophomore year we had the Covid year, last year was an amazing environment and I enjoyed every minute of it. I’m hoping we can have the same result as last year,” Cam Cole, Bridgeport senior said.
The Indians and Redskins met earlier this season where the seven-time state champs fell 7-6. The team remembers what went wrong in that game and what they need to do to right the ship.
“I think the weather and everything combined in that game gave them that win and we beat ourselves a little bit. I think when we come up against them next it’s going to be a much different outcome,” Austin Mann, Bridgeport senior said.
The weather stood out to multiple players when thinking of the meeting earlier this season. That shouldn’t be a problem in the sunny and 75-degree ballpark in Charleston.
“I remember it was about 42 degrees and a mix of snow and hail so it was not baseball weather. We didn’t play great, they didn’t play great. It’s going to be a really good match up and I’m looking forward to it,” Cole said.
The storied program plans to stick to what they know- strong pitching, good hitting and minimal mistakes. That, and not getting too comfortable when they’re up.
“I think we just have to find a way to score every single inning. That was one thing against Morgantown that I thought we should’ve done better. We jumped out to an early lead and then got comfortable,” Cole said, “Hurricane is a really good team. They’re going to fight back every inning so we need to score and score every inning and pitch well.”
“Just solid defensively, not striking out a whole lot and just playing as a team and run the bases well,” Christopher Harbert, Bridgeport senior said.
Not to mention another strong suit of this team, winning when it matters.
For instance, beating a strong Morgantown team in two games when some would’ve bet on that regional series taking three games.
“I think we’re as clutch of a team as it comes. When it’s down to it, we’ll find a way and we’ll do anything possible to get that W,” Mann said.
The Indians aren’t lacking any motivation as they approach the state semifinal. Many team members apart of last year’s varsity team are looking for their personal second-straight state title and the program’s eighth.
“It means a ton to me. I’ve been excited all year round, waiting for this moment and having another shot at getting this eighth title in a row. There’s no feeling better,” Mann said.
“It definitely means a lot more than I thought it would last year after winning it. Being a senior it just means a lot more,” Harbert said.
First pitch between Bridgeport and Hurricane is scheduled for 50 minutes after the other AAA state semifinal game that starts at 5 p.m.