MORGANTOWN — Do you keep in mind the day you discovered there was no Santa Claus; there was no Easter Bunny; that the tooth fairy was your mom or your father.
If you’re a West Virginia athlete, it appears, that day comes a method or one other yearly.
Irrespective of the game — soccer, basketball, baseball.
Irrespective of how good a 12 months, it doesn’t matter what sort of season, there may be all the time Pitt or Notre Dame or Cal ready on the finish. Ask Pat White or Main Harris or Jerry West.
Now, you possibly can ask Randy Mazey, too.
His Mountaineers ran out of miracles in a season that turned from a dream to a nightmare in a Texas minute because the baseball group he manages, the one which appeared sure to be the only real champion of the Huge 12 common season, the one which was already promoting tickets to an NCAA Regional they have been going to host, that figured to make a minimum of a deep run into the Huge 12 Baseball Championship, proved themselves simply to be one other athletic group that might not take the ultimate step.
The week began with a lot hope and a lot hype, with JJ Wetherholt being named the Huge 12 Participant of the Yr, with Mazey being named the convention’s Supervisor of the Yr and with sprinkling of their stars on the All-Convention groups.
After which they needed to play video games. They have been swept by Texas and needed to accept a part of what was the primary three-way tie for the common season championship in league historical past.
When quizzed about what had occurred this previous week after being on “sort of a roll earlier than taking place to Austin, Mazey responded truthfully.
“Variety is an understatement,” Mazey started, referring to the recent streak they have been going via. I feel you had us No. 6 within the nation at one level and then you definately noticed us play and that didn’t work out too good.”
They fell from No. 6 to No. 21 within the nationwide rankings, dropped to a No. 3 seed within the match after which got a slice of humble pie on what was purported to be their greatest 12 months ever because it was two and thru within the convention match.
“We didn’t appear to be a High 10 group within the nation (in Austin),” Mazey mentioned. “We would have liked to return right here and play nicely. Going into this previous weekend we hadn’t misplaced three video games in a row this 12 months or final 12 months.”
You had to return to 2021 to search out the Mountaineers struggling via a five- and six-game shedding streak, their present streak now at 5 video games.
“We have now been actually, actually good for an actual very long time and if you already know something about school baseball, you understand how exhausting that’s to do. However that occurs.”
They misplaced the opener, 6-2, to Texas Tech on Wednesday in a sport wherein they displayed little or no curiosity, after which on Thursday, it was Oklahoma State, the No. 2 seed, surviving an intriguing afternoon of baseball that had all the trimmings an elimination sport is meant to have.
Good pitching, good protection, some umpiring controversies, a second of sizzling phrases between opponents Tim Tucker of WVU and Watts Brown of Oklahoma State, and a nasty hop that might have thrown issues into West Virginia’s fingers.
However because it all the time appears to occur, it ended with the tying run at third base, the lead run at second and one other runner at first base with two out, the Cowboys having simply taken a 3-2 lead within the backside of the eighth on shortstop Ric Riggio’s single to proper.
Yet one more hit, any sort of hit, and WVU most likely would have gained the sport. They’d even have taken one other unhealthy hop hit just like the double Caleb McNeeley received within the midst of that ninth-inning risk, the ball kicking over the shoulder of the Cowboy third baseman.
Definitely, a complete state of 1.8 million took that as an omen from the baseball gods that issues have been altering for West Virginia, that perhaps this was the time they might really win a sport they needed to win.
Add that bit of excellent fortune to JJ Wetherholt’s return to being the very best hitter in school baseball with a single, a double, a stroll and two hit-by-pitches to convey his common for the 12 months to .449 and you already know that everybody “from Weirton to Welch, from Martinsburg to Matewan and all factors in between” this unimaginable season might go on.
However, as an alternative, it might show to be only one extra not-so-instant replay that would go away the Mountaineers’ trustworthy questioning when and the way they might get the monkey off their again.
There’s extra forward, in fact. There’s the NCAA Event, which undoubtedly will convey one of many three Huge 12 co-champions into its area, though when somebody tried to get Mazey to say he was certain they might go after Wednesday’s first sport loss, he declined the invitation.
“I really feel like we are able to’t assume we’re within the NCAA Event,” he mentioned then. “I assumed that final 12 months (a 12 months once they have been 33-22) after I sat right here … and it didn’t occur.”
However after right now’s sport, Mazey instructed his group that he believed they might be within the NCAA’s.
“That’s the primary time, in our post-game huddle, I ever stood there telling my group we’re going to have follow subsequent week. In the event that they don’t let the Huge 12 champs within the postseason you will need to be speaking to me via a glass partition most likely,” Mazey mentioned.
“That may be blasphemous to not put the Huge 12 champions within the postseason, so I really feel actually assured we will probably be taking part in subsequent week.”
Effectively, they’ve 39 wins now and that convention championship, so count on to listen to their identify known as in Monday’s Choice Present, and hope that perhaps the occasions of the previous week have put a sufficiently big burr below their saddle to make them mad and able to lastly have a breakthrough match.
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