MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — For Winfield to qualify for their first state tournament in 21 years, the Generals needed to get by two-time defending state champion Logan in the regional round. After dropping the series opener, Winfield won back-to-back elimination games to advance.
The Generals are playing as well as any team in the state, with wins in 12 of their last 13 games. During that stretch of play, Winfield has allowed more than four runs just once.
“The key factor, the key ingredient for this team is how much they play for each other,” said Winfield head coach Will Isaacs. “They are concerned with the name on the front of the jersey instead of the name on the back of the jersey. That’s an old cliche. That’s corny but I really believe that is a key factor with this team.”
Winfield is the No. 1 seed in the Class AA bracket and the Generals have drawn No. 4 seed Lewis County in the semifinals. 37 years have passed since the Minutemen have played on the state’s biggest stage. After a 3-7 start to the season, Lewis has won 11 of their last 13 games and they finished second in the competitive Big 10 Conference. In five postseason games, the Minutemen have outscored their opponents 51-6.
“I don’t really think we had a bad team the last couple years. We just had a tough schedule and some bad breaks, maybe one bad inning in games that have taken ourselves out of it,” said Lewis County head coach Tyler Wood. “This year, the mentality has kind of changed where they don’t really let one thing get them down.”
Keyser was pushed to a decisive game in their regional with Oak Glen. The Golden Tornado were able to get past the Golden Bears to secure their first state tournament appearance since 1997. Keyser earned the No. 2 seed with a 20-6 record.
“We have just been treating this since playoffs started as basically a three-step process,” said Keyser head coach Sean Rohrbaugh. “We’re on the third step now. My guys all through it so far have seemed very determined.”
The Golden Tornado will face the only defending regional champion in the field. Shady Spring is back in Charleston after wining Region III a year ago. After an early loss in sectional play, the Tigers have won five consecutive playoff games. Senior pitcher and Fairmont State signee Cam Manns has struck out 89 batters in 53 innings.
“When he is on the mound, it is fun to watch,” said Shady Spring head coach Jordan Meadows. “He is easy to coach. We can all whatever we want to call pitch-wise. He shakes it off and does his own thing. He’s got the mentality that he wants to be the best out there.”