Huntington St. Joe to face Moorefield in state tournament
HUNTINGTON - Huntington St. Joe is seeded fourth in Class A for its first state baseball tournament appearance since 1987.
St. Joe (21-10) faces No. 1 Moorefield (25-11) at 10 a.m. Friday, May 31, at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston. Moorefield is the defending Class A state champion.
“I’m just happy to be here and I don’t know much about (Moorefield) other than they’re the defending state champions,” said St. Joe head coach Dave Jenkins. “They don’t play a lot of schools down in this area. Other than Clarksburg Notre Dame they haven’t played anyone I’m familiar with.”
With the St. Joe baseball team and its coach in the state tournament for the first time in 32 years, the success of the Fighting Irish girls basketball team and a 2017 state championship for the boys basketball team get more attention during the school year.
With school out for the summer the team won’t likely get the send off from the student body the other teams enjoy.
“We’re all excited for them,” St. Joe athletic director Shannon Lewis said. “There were a lot of parents of boys who already graduated at (the regional final home game against Wahama) the other night.”
Jenkins said an advantage for the Fighting Irish is the Friday and Saturday schedule of games for Class A. With Marshall University playing home games this spring where St. Joe also plays and practices on George T. Smailes Field at the Huntington YMCA Kennedy Center this year’s squad was “used to playing a lot of games in a short period of time,” he said.
Factor in that a loss in the second game of the sectional tournament put St. Joe team playing five games in five days and the state tournament will play out like the regular-season schedule.
“The kids are used to that grueling schedule,” Jenkins said. “With 11 kids on the team the kids are set on playing multiple games in multiple days.”
Jenkins said playing on the natural grass at Appalachian Power Park as opposed to the artificial turf infield of George T. Smailes Field won’t affect the Fighting Irish either.
“It’s baseball so you just don’t know,” Jenkins said. “The kids are excited playing at Appalachian Power Park. The field is normal, pretty well groomed. No bad hops. The difference is the backdrop. A ball in the air with stands and buildings in the background might be difficult to adjust to.”
The second Class A game Friday, May 31, follows 50 minutes after St. Joe finishes. No. 2 Charleston Catholic (26-8) plays No. 3 Wheeling Central (22-8).
Class AAA No. 1 St. Albans (32-4) opens at 5 p.m. Friday, May 31, against No. 4 Wheeling Park (20-9) followed by No. 2 Hurricane (32-3) meeting No.3 Hedgesville (24-8).
Class AA games Thursday are No. 1 Bridgeport (28-7) versus No. 4 Shady Spring (19-9) at 4:30 p.m. and No. 2 Frankfort (26-5) versus No. 3 Scott (27-7) 50 minutes after.
Championship games Saturday, June 1, are at 10 a.m. (Class AA), 1 p.m. (Class A) and 4 p.m. (Class AAA).