Local Sports, Sports, University

University’s in-season turnaround one to be remembered

MORGANTOWN — After a 10-4 defeat to Wheeling Park on April 12, the University High baseball team sat at a record of 6-8 and seemed to be headed toward an unexpectedly down year not many saw coming.

With 10 seniors on their roster and talent throughout, UHS head coach Brad Comport and his staff and players knew that they simply weren’t being who they knew they could be.

Three days later, on April 15, the Hawks earned two strong wins in a doubleheader against Hampshire that sparked a 10-game winning streak that included wins over both Bridgeport and Morgantown. In fact, UHS lost just twice more in the regular season to finish with a record of 18-9 entering into sectional play.

“When we got a few of those big wins in the middle of the year we just started rolling,” UHS senior shortstop Cody Thomas said. “We all came together and started getting closer. Hanging out together, loving each other. It helped us click much better.”

The chemistry carried over into the postseason for UHS, opening the sectional tournament with a statement victory over Preston 29-6. The Hawks followed with a come-from-behind 7-6 win over Bridgeport in the next game to earn a spot in the sectional title game with zero losses in the double-elimination format. The Indians won the first game 9-2 and seemed to grab momentum, but UHS responded with a strong 3-0 win to advance to the Region 1 championship series against rival Morgantown.

Game 1 of the best-of-three set went to the Hawks by way of a shortened 13-1 victory that took just five innings. The Mohigans stole Game 2 in the seventh inning as Aaron Jamison returned from injury and hit a go-ahead two-run home run to swing the momentum back into their hands.

Finally Wednesday night, in Game 3 of the Region 1 championship series, the Hawks once again responded to a tough loss by defeating the Mohigans 13-8, earning their spot in the Class AAA state baseball tournament starting June 1 in Charleston.

“They are a very explosive team and a tough one to beat any night,” Comport said after the game. “But it’s really been all year with our group. One through nine we have good hitters and the middle of our lineup is powerful. We have guys that play roles and it’s a complete effort by everyone.”

In just his second year as head coach, Comport takes UHS back to the state tournament for the first time since 2004 when Jedd Gyorko was a freshman.

After the rough start early on, Comport said they knew it was there all along, and the players and staff stayed engaged in order to make success happen.

“It’s such a good group of kids, such a great staff,” he said. “I know I’m the one talking up here but all credit to these coaches for keeping the kids motivated. It really took everybody but we knew all along we had it in us.”

UHS will now represent Region 1 in Class AAA at the state baseball tournament beginning on June 1st from Go Mart Ballpark in Charleston.

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