Joe Smith, Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports

Morgantown baseball players think Myrtle Beach trip helps bring the team together

MORGANTOWN — For 14 years, the Morgantown High baseball team has made the trek to Myrtle Beach each spring for the Ripken Experience. At this point, the trip seems like a permanent fixture on the calendar.

For many in the program, it’s tough to remember a time without it.

The opportunity provides warmer weather and national competition that provides a different look than in-state opponents. This week, the Mohigans went undefeated against an array of competition from New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia — improving to 20-2 this season. But for those who have made the trip, it holds a much different purpose.

“These guys get to make lifelong friends out of this experience, and they get to see baseball a bit different than we do at home,” MHS coach Mark McCarty said. “I think they’re a lot closer as a team when they come back from this, and they know each other much better as people.

“They feel much closer, so they play that much harder for each other. That’s the main thing that I think they get out of it. We’ve done this for 14 years, the same trip, and the community, I think, is the main thing.”

Senior Caleb Taylor said the trip provides a different type of experience than the boys on the team are used to, which helps stimulate their growth as a team.

“It’s good to get to stay together in a hotel and spend time with each other. We didn’t stay with our parents at all. We were just with the team the whole week having fun,” he said.

As a whole, Taylor felt that the team had grown closer upon returning from the trip this season, which is an outcome that he expects to translate into further on-field success for Morgantown.

“Basically, you gain each other’s trust. We’ve already had trust because we’ve known each other for so long, but spending the whole week together and having that experience expands that. Eating every meal, sleeping in the same rooms, you get closer by the day,” he said.

Morgantown returns home at 6 p.m. Monday as it hosts Warren Local (Ohio) in an Ohio Valley Athletic Conference semifinal contest. The winner will advance to the finals Saturday, where the Mohigans will face the winner of Wheeling Park and Steubenville (Ohio).

“I think we’re pretty much at the point right now that we don’t have to worry much about what other teams have. We just need to play our best, and I think if we do that, things will work out for us,” McCarty said.