UPDATE: The Wayne County baseball tournament has been canceled due to unplayable field conditions.
PREVIOUS STORY: Today’s Wayne County baseball tournament won’t lack motivation — as long as it doesn’t suffer the same fate as the softball tournament did this year.
The Wayne County softball tournament was rained out and could not be made up.
Early rain postponed the original start time from 9 to 10 a.m., before more rain forced the event to be moved its original host site of Hagerstown to Centerville at 11 a.m.
Hagerstown athletic director Gerry Keesling called the odds of playing “50-50.”
But if teams can find an open window, the first game should set a pretty high bar.
Northeastern and Hagerstown (10-6) meet in the first semifinal, followed by Centerville (11-11) opposite Lincoln (11-6) and the championship slated to follow
“What a tournament that’s going to be Saturday,” Hagerstown coach Brad Catey said. “You’ve got four teams that are all evenly matched and Northeastern and us had a great game, Centerville and Lincoln had a great game — it’s going to be a great day for baseball. If you’re a baseball fan, you’re going to want to be there.”
The first game is a rematch of last year’s final which saw the Knights end a three-year reign for Hagerstown.
It’s not the only motivation that will drive either team.
Along with the three-year county reign, Northeastern also ended a 17-game Tri-Eastern Conference winning streak for the Tigers before the teams went on to share the TEC title in 2014.
This year, Hagerstown has the upper hand so far after the Tigers defeated the Knights 5-0 to take the driver’s seat.
After Tuesday’s 10-5 win over Centerville, Hagerstown already has clinched a share of its fourth straight conference title.
Northeastern still has hopes of sharing the conference, but at 5-1, the Knights need to win Tuesday’s trip to Lincoln, plus help from Union City, scheduled to travel Thursday to Hagerstown.
“We feel really good and confident,” Northeastern coach Steve Bray said. “The kids are really hungry and looking forward to the contest.”
Centerville and Lincoln are also coming off a recent battle that saw Lincoln string together a late rally, before Centerville held on for a 4-2 victory.
Centerville is 3-2 in conference play with its only two losses coming against Northeastern and Hagerstown.
Both deceiving final scores — 11-1 vs. Northeastern and 10-5 vs. Hagerstown — should have the Bulldogs ready for redemption, if they are to get past Lincoln.
Centerville and Northeastern were tied at 1 before the Knights broke out with 10 runs in the sixth, while the Bulldogs committed four errors in the loss to Hagerstown, leading to many unearned runs.
“I still believe that we have one of the best offensive teams in the area. But we’ve got to start fielding the ball better,” Centerville coach Tracey Crull said Tuesday. “And if we figure that out as a team, we’ve got a county tourney and sectional in front of us. We’ll be a tough out for people, because we do hit the ball really well. I think we’ll get it together, we’ve got two more conference games, county tourney … we’ll see what happens.”
AT A GLANCE
• What: Wayne County baseball tournament
• When/where: starting at 11 a.m. today at Centerville
• 11 a.m.: Northeastern vs Hagerstown
Centerville vs Lincoln, to follow
Championship game, to follow