Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports

Morgantown baseball opens state tournament with rematch against defending champs

MORGANTOWN — The Morgantown Mohigans are returning to the state baseball tournament for the first time since 2016 after defeating Bridgeport in the Region I championship series last week.

No. 3 MHS (29-8) will square off with defending Class AAA state champions No. 2 Cabell Midland (25-9) in Game 2 of the AAA tournament with the first pitch following 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game that begins at 4:30 p.m. between No. 1 Martinsburg and No. 4 George Washington. The Knights defeated the Mohigans 7-5 on April 5 in their lone meeting this season at Kendrick Family Ballpark in Morgantown.

The Mohigans defeated Bridgeport 2-1 in the Region 1 title series while the Knights snuck by Ripley, 1-0, in extra innings in their series’ decisive final game.

MHS head coach Pat Sherald wants his players to remember one word this week: opportunity.

“There aren’t a lot of high school athletes that get to go out and compete for a state championship,” Sherald said. “The players, school, and community are excited, and we are happy that our guys can play in the state tournament. This is a fun and gritty group to coach. We challenged them with a tough schedule, and we lost eight seniors who went on to play college ball. That meant some new faces had to step up, and they’ve risen to the challenge. We are playing our best baseball as a team recently.”

Senior Dylan Travinski leads the Mohigans offensively with a .449 batting average, leading the team in hits (40) and RBI (35), including five doubles. Three other players hold an average greater than .350 in senior Tristan Milik and sophomores Mason Bowers and Koa Silvers. Milik touts 25 hits and 16 RBI of his own in 63 at-bats. Silvers and Bowers have combined this season for 65 hits and 69 runs, with Silvers coming in second on the team in RBI with 25. He also leads the team with 36 stolen bases.

“Every player is a team guy,” Sherald said. “This team has a genuine personality on and off the field. These guys love each other, hang out, ride to practice and games together, and keep the dugout loose when it needs to be. Our success wouldn’t come without that bond they all have as teammates.”

While MHS’ offense is solid, Sherald says a significant difference for his team this season has been on the mound.

“We’ve had three quality starters this year that have gone out and given us a chance to win games every night,” Sherald said. “Even relief pitching has been solid for us. Our top six or seven arms have continued to be a difference for us and allow us to compete.”

In the starting rotation, Travinski and Milik are joined by fellow senior and 2023 second-team all-state selection, Hunter Dakan. The trio have combined for an 18-4 record this season. Dakan holds an 8-1 record in nine starts with a 1.61 ERA. He threw five complete games and two shutouts in the 2024 campaign. In Game 2 of the Region I championship series against Bridgeport, the southpaw went the distance and gave up just one run on two hits to help keep the season alive.

Milik boasts a 6-1 record and a 2.23 ERA, with Travinski checking in with a 4-2 record and a 1.64 ERA.

“We are excited to go and prove some people wrong,” Travinski said. “We had a lot of big names that left last year and some people didn’t expect us to compete this year. This team has a chip on its shoulder and we are hungry to go and win. We have all had to step up for the team this year and everyone pushes each other to be better every day.”

The first pitch between Morgantown and Cabell Midland is set for 50 minutes after the conclusion of Game 1 which is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.