The Polar Bears will play in the final four as a Class AA team, while making their ninth State Tournament appearance in the last 10 years as a Class AAA program.
Fairmont Senior Coach Steve Naternicola is in his 25th season as head coach, but the Polar Bears earned their first state berth in 1946.
The Polar Bears (27-6) return six players who participated in their 10-8 nine-inning state semifinal loss to Nitro last year, including Matt Robbins, the starting pitcher in that game.
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CHARLESTON CATHOLIC and Herbert Hoover will try to shore up their teams for the State Tournament when they play at 2:30 p.m. today at University of Charleston's Triana Field.
In one meeting this season, Hoover handed the Irish a 12-1 defeat at Jeff Holliday Field in Falling Rock.
That defeat was part of a string of strong opponents on the Catholic schedule, which included three losses at Myrtle Beach, a road defeat to defending Class A champion Madonna and losses to Class AAA Logan and Valley-Fayette. Between April 3 and April 20, the Irish lost seven of 13 games.
However, they have won 15 of their last 16 games, with the only defeat coming to Class AAA George Washington.
Catholic faces the Greyhounds (23-7) at approximately 12:30 p.m. Friday in the Class A State Tournament semifinals.
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SPEAKING OF the Greyhounds, Coach Joe Craffey said he's not bothered by playing a private school in the State Tournament and doesn't feel it's an issue - particularly in baseball.
"Public or private, if they make it to this point, their kids put in as much work as we have, who cares if it's public or private," said Craffey, who is in his 12th season at Valley. "I think it affects football and basketball, but I don't see it as that much of a deal in baseball."
For the first time in program history, Charleston Catholic fielded a junior varsity team.
"We've been playing them as long as I've been at Valley and this is the first year they've had numbers in the 20 range," he said. "They've always been around 15 or 16, so their numbers haven't always been super."
Valley is making its third State Tournament appearance in the last four years and has not won a semifinal game.
The Irish have been to the finals only once (2011) in school history.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstev...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.