MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With his Fairmont team facing elimination in the American Legion state tournament, Brent Osbourne went 6-for-6 in Friday’s opener against Elkins and then delivered four innings of winning relief in the nightcap against Morgantown.
And between those games he squeezed in three hours at his summer job cleaning hospital laundry.
“It was a big day for us,” said the 6-foot-4 left-hander who led Post 17 past Elkins 14-9 before handing Morgantown its first loss, 7-3. “Now I’ve got to go back to work for a few more hours.”
Fairmont (29-10) advances to Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. championship game against the survivor of South Charleston (31-10) and Morgantown (21-16), who meet at noon.
Osbourne’s six-hit midday game— which helped eliminate the defending state champ Elkins (26-21)—included five singles back through the box, a testament to the North Marion High School player “just keeping with my fundamentals and hitting them solid back up the middle.”
Yet Osbourne sounded more satisfied with beating Morgantown, which had beaten him in a winners-bracket matchup 24 hours earlier.
“They got me once and I wasn’t too happy about it, so I tried to turn that around tonight,” he said. “I was just throwing curveballs and getting them to ground out or pop up.”
When pitching limits forced Andrew Strand off the mound after five innings with a 3-1 lead, Osbourne came on from right field. He gave up the lead, but only because Fairmont committed two infield errors that led to two unearned runs.
Once Fairmont regained control with a four-run seventh, Osbourne didn’t let Morgantown rally again.
“He kept us off-balance,” said Morgantown coach Tyler Barnette. “He’s had a couple tough outings against us in the past, and for him to come out and just wipe out what had been done and go at us the way he did, I commend the kid.”
Now Barnette hopes the host team can wipe out the loss and rebound for back-to-back wins Saturday.
“Absolutely, I have total confidence in my guys to go out and get the job done,” he said. “It was a tough shake tonight, but we’re still in championship Saturday.”