Jefferson, Hoover & Wheeling Ctrl. Win Titles

It was classic West Virginia, North-vs.-South matchups in the State Baseball Tournament in Charleston, W.Va. and Appalachian Power Park on Saturday. When it was all settled, the northern panhandle, eastern panhandle and southern part of the state all could claim titles in boys baseball, as Herbert Hoover, Wheeling Central and Jefferson won titles in Classes AA, A and AAA respectively.

In the AAA battle, the third game of the day, Jefferson roared to nine runs in the first inning and went on to win its state record ninth title in baseball over Woodrow Wilson, 11-4. The early rout was in stark contrast to late last night when Jefferson came back to beat Fairmont Sr., 7-3, in nine innings, while the Flying Eagles of Beckley came back from five runs down with a five-run seventh against Nitro in the late game. The Eagles then knocked off the Wildcats in the second extra-inning game, 8-7 in eight, to advance to play Jefferson. It was Cougar's coach John Lowery's 21st trip to the state tournament and ninth title as head coach at Jefferson, located in the state's eastern panhandle between Pennsylvania and Maryland. The Flying Eagles are the eighth of nine teams beaten by Jefferson, with only South Charleston falling twice to the Cougars in state finals.

Earlier today, Wheeling Central made it a double sweep on the mound as the baseball team matched last week's state title by the Lady Knights in softball by defeating Van in another comeback game, 6-5. The Maroon Knights, from the state's northern panhandle that is wedged in between Ohio and Pennsylvania, rallied for the tying run in the sixth then pushed across the winning run in the top of the seventh inning. Van, located in the southern coal fields of Boone County, was looking for its seventh title all time, but the Bulldogs saw Wheeling Central win its second title in three years, having also won in 2005, with Buffalo wedged in as the 2006 champ.

The southern part of the state got off to a good start, and its only title of the day, in the Class AA championship at 11 a.m. this morning when the Huskies of Herbert Hoover, located at Falling Rock in Kanawha County on the Elk River, won the school's first-ever state title in any sport with a 3-1 over Grafton, who making its first trip to the state tournament from Taylor County in the north central portion of West Virginia.

Hoover, which was formed when Clendenin High School and Elkview High School were combined in 1974, was in it just third trip to the state tournament and the second since 2003. In over 33 years of existence, Hoover had just finished as state runners-up three times in school history: in girls AAA tennis in 1975, and the softball team had advance to title games twice, in AAA in 1997 and in AA in 2005.

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