MORGANTOWN - The Morgantown High baseball team endured a long trip home from Glen Dale after Wednesday's 12-3 loss against John Marshall in a Class AAA Region 1, Section 4 playoff game.
"I thought there was a lot of disappointment," MHS senior Albie Eddy said. "We didn't play our game."
If the Mohigans didn't perform any better in Thursday's decisive third game, their season - not to mention Eddy's prep career - would have been over. That haunting thought was on their minds as they gathered before taking the field at Mylan Park, on Thursday afternoon.
"We looked each other in the eyes, and we were like, 'Today is not going to be our last day, no matter what the cost is!'" Eddy said.
It wasn't - thanks in large part to Eddy.
The right-hander scattered six hits in six innings, and MHS erupted for 15 hits in a 15-5 six-inning thrashing of the Monarchs. The victory moves the Mohigans (21-8) into a May 20 regional playoff date against Preston High (6-22), in Kingwood.
"I just wanted all of us to play our game because we were not happy last night," said Eddy, who helped himself with two hits and two RBIs.
"We knew we could come out here and do better than what we did last night.
"We showed we could hit the ball again. (Wednesday) night, our bats were dead. We came out here and got on top early and never looked back."
That was a relief to MHS coach Mark McCarty, who barely recognized his team in Wednesday's setback.
"This is more like the way we've been playing most of the year," McCarty said. "We've been a good offensive team all year, and we've played pretty good defense. We've been suspect on the mound a little bit. That's been our main weakness."
Pitching wasn't a problem for Eddy and the Mohigans Thursday, with the exception of one disastrous inning. John Marshall (13-14) scored all five of its runs in the third inning, with Jeremiah Fromhart belting a three-run home run in the uprising.
Eddy surrendered four hits in the inning, but the Monarchs managed only two hits in their final three at-bats.
"I'm really happy with Albie coming out there giving up five runs in one inning and then finishing the game," McCarty said. "I'm sure he was up there in the pitch count. He's not one to complain about his arm. He did a great job hanging in there."
The Monarchs defeated Eddy, 10-7, during a regular-season game, in Glen Dale, hitting him hard. He responded to the challenge with five strong innings in a do-or-die situation Thursday.
He just wishes he could have that third inning back.
"A couple pitches got away from me," Eddy said. "I knew on the one home-run pitch as soon as I released the ball that it was gone because I left it up in the zone. A couple other plays were bloop shots that dropped in. You're going to have that. It's baseball. You keep battling back."
It's easy to battle back when you're knocking the ball all over the field. Five Mohigans players collected two hits apiece. MHS finished with five doubles, including one by Eddy that plated one of the team's two first-inning runs.
"I'm glad we're swinging it as good as we are," Eddy said. "We had one guy today who was struggling and needed to battle back and got two hits. Another kid who was struggling scored the game-ending run. That shows what caliber of team we are. We can get it done."
MHS now must find a way to get past a pesky Preston team that upended University High in their Region 1 Section 1 series. McCarty has already cautioned his players about taking the Knights lightly.
"They hit the ball well," McCarty said. "They made a lot of mistakes against us up there, and it snowballed on them. I know from experience if they stay in the game and they're playing well they are dangerous. I'm sure they're really fired up right now."