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Prep baseball: Weather, not testing, posing problem for coaches

There is little debate that Riverside High School has the edge in the Class AAA Region 3, Section 4 tournament when senior ace Tyler Hall is on the mound.

The steady rain that has moved most of the baseball postseason tournaments back one or two days or more could give the Warriors even more of an advantage if the tournament is completed after next week's schedule of state Westest examinations.

Kanawha County administered Westest examinations this week. While it is recommended that extracurricular activities do not take place during Westest week, Kanawha County teams were permitted to play.

Next week that's not the case. The state disallows extracurricular activities during the suggested week of testing - May 13-16 - although counties are given a two-week window in which to test.

Mother nature had other plans.

Rain has postponed every sectional scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, making coaches - especially those in three-team sectionals - praying the rain stops for the rest of the week, beginning today.

"I don't hold out much hope of getting our sectional finished this week," said Capital Coach Robert Massey, whose Cougars were scheduled to host Ripley on Monday with the loser facing Riverside on Tuesday. "I think it's going to go to next week."

Weather permitting, Capital (13-17) faces Coach Shane Casto's Vikings (8-22) today to open the sectional. The loser faces Riverside on Thursday and the Warriors visit the winner of tonight's game on Friday.

As one of the most balanced sections, Massey could see each team having a loss after they all play. That could mean that a winner-take-all Section 4 championship could be set for Thursday, May 16.

Then it gets real interesting.

The Warriors are 9-15 and Hall has one-third of those victories with 63 strikeouts, 13 walks and a 2.40 earned run average in 46 2/3 innings.

"It gives us an edge in the section, because it sets up, potentially, the ability for Tyler to throw two games for us," Riverside Coach Chris Hawkins said.

"We do like that. On the other hand, if he has to come back and pitch next Friday, we might not have him for the regional (May 20)."

In another three-team section that was scheduled to begin Monday, Herbert Hoover is joined by Nicholas County and Clay County in the Class AA Region 4, Section 1 tournament at Clay.

The opener was moved back two days, pitting the defending regional champion Huskies against the Panthers at 5:30 p.m. today.

Hoover Coach Brian Young said they are tossing around the idea of a weekend doubleheader to complete the double-elimination tournament.

"If we would get rained out and this moves into next week, it puts everybody in a bind," Young said. "It puts up the possibility of going with single elimination with maybe the same format, or a doubleheader.

"Our goal right now is playing maybe doubleheaders the end of this week if we have to if everybody agrees to it. We had mentioned it, threw it out there, and see if everybody would be OK with it."

Charleston Catholic isn't bound by Westest schedules, but it is in the three-team Class A Region 4 Section 4 Tournament that was scheduled to begin on Monday on Buffalo's turf.

It was moved back one day with Buffalo and St. Joseph were scheduled to play with the loser facing heavily favored Catholic.

If Catholic wins that game, the remaining teams will return on Friday for a best-of-three series.

The Irish (21-9) lost three consecutive games near midseason, but have since won nine of their last 10 entering postseason play.

"We had a really good final two weeks of the regular season," said Catholic Coach Bill Mehle, whose team reached the State Tournament last season. "We were playing really well in all dimensions of the game."

Tonight's game is scheduled for University of Charleston's Triana Field. However, if the natural surface of Triana isn't ready, the game will be moved to Buffalo's turf.

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstevens@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.


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