Martinsburg was the 18th-largest school in 2002, but grew into the third largest this year. All told, Hampshire, Hedgesville, Jefferson, Martinsburg, Musselman and Washington high schools are among the 24 largest schools in terms of enrollment in the Mountain State.
"D.C. and Baltimore, Frederick is growing," Salfia said. "It's not just D.C., it's all around. It's one of the spots that is growing right now. The cost of living is cheaper in West Virginia, so you live in West Virginia and work in Frederick or work in Baltimore."
The relative change in the cost of living from area to area impacts the enrollment in the schools.
"If somebody lives here (in the Kanawha Valley) and moves up there, they might say, 'Wow, I can't afford a house there,'" Matheny said. "If we go 15 minutes into Frederick County, either end, we're like, 'We can't live there.'"
Hampshire is the furthest Eastern Panhandle Class AAA school from the Baltimore area - about two hours - but has increased its enrollment by 410 students since 2002.
Jefferson, which has the most big-school baseball titles of any school in West Virginia, won its last in 2011 when it was the 14th-largest school. Perhaps not coincidentally, it won back-to-back titles (1998-99), when it was the fourth-largest school. Coach John Lowery Sr., who has more than 1,000 career victories, also won three consecutive titles from 1991-93, but enrollment numbers couldn't be retrieved from that period. Jefferson is the only school among the six aforementioned to have fewer students than it did in 2002.
"Any time you have growth like that and you have more kids in an area, you'll have more to choose from," Matheny said. "With having said that, the Eastern Panhandle has had good baseball for a long time."
Among the biggest concerns among schools in the Eastern Panhandle is the potential for transfers.
Although students are required to attend the school that is located in the district in which they reside, some coaches said there are ways around the rules.
Much like the Kanawha Valley, the close proximity of schools in the area leads to transferring and, eventually, imbalance.
According to Google maps, Hampshire is the furthest school from the other seven in the panhandle. However, the longest distance from any of the two schools - not including Hampshire - is 26.7 miles (Washington to Hedgesville).
Martinsburg and Hedgesville are just 6.8 miles apart. Spring Mills is only 7.9 miles from Martinsburg and located in the same city.
While it might not be as prevalent in a sport such as baseball, transferring isn't out of the question.
"You can not choose," Matheny said. "Wherever you live, you go. Kids will find ways. It is what it is. There are rules in place, but they find a way."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstev...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.