CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Given the wildly successful sports year Bridgeport High is enjoying, baseball coach Robert Shields feels a twinge of pressure this weekend.
After all, winning a state crown would merely allow the baseball Indians to keep up with the other champions on campus.
“I’m getting a lot of teasing back home because track won the boys and girls (state titles) and football won, too,” Shields said. “For these seniors, this would be the exclamation point to one great year of sports and academics at Bridgeport High School.”
Bridgeport (31-6) vies for the Class AA title against Independence (27-7) in the third and final championship game slated for Saturday at Appalachian Power Park.
In an earlier matchup, Notre Dame (27-6) faces Man (20-11) in Class A at 10 a.m. That’s followed by a Class AAA showdown sure to pack the bleachers when Hurricane (28-7) battles Riverside (22-10).
Hurricane came within seconds of winning the basketball championship in March. That one slipped away thanks to a rally by Huntington, which scored the winning points on a free-throw after a foul by J.T. Rogoszewski. That’s the same Rogoszewski who dominated Friday’s semifinal by throwing a four-hit beauty against Washington.
The junior figures the basketball loss serves as a lesson for some of the overlapping players.
“It reminds us that it’s just a game,” Rogoszewski said. “It calms a lot of nerves.”
Man sophomore pitcher Jake Adkins admitted he was a 6-foot-4 mountain of nerves upon entering the final inning of Thursday’s semifinal against St. Marys. But with the tying runners on base, Adkins got a game-ending double play.
Now he’s slated to start the championship game vs. Notre Dame. Whichever school wins will snag a piece of local history, because neither has won a baseball state championship.
“It’s a huge opportunity,” Adkins said. “I’m very excited.”