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Frankfort, East Hardy open regional series today

May 20—Frankfort and East Hardy are two wins away from the Class AA and A state tournaments, respectively. They open their regional series at home tonight.

The Falcons (18-8), the champions of Class AA, Region II, Section 2, welcome Section 1 winner Fairmont Senior (21-7) to Short Gap, West Virginia, tonight at 6 p.m. The Polar Bears host Game 2 Tuesday night, and Game 3, if necessary, is in Mineral County.

East Hardy (21-6) took the Class A, Region II, Section 2 title and host Section 1 champ South Harrison (23-11) in Baker, West Virginia, tonight at 6 p.m. Game 2 is at South Harrison and the Cougars will host Game 3 if the series is tied after two games.

Frankfort vs. Fairmont Senior

Frankfort and Fairmont Senior played during the regular season with the Falcons walking it off in the ninth inning when Jacob Nething scored on a passed ball in the 5-4 win on April 20.

Frankfort enters the three-game series having won 5 of 6 games and three straight playoff games.

The Falcons defeated Grafton, 19-2, and swept the region's top seed Keyser, 5-1 and 10-1, to capture their first Section 2 championship in three years.

Keyser emerged from the section last year and made a run to the Class AA state championship game. It beat Oak Glen, a surprise winner in Section 1, 2-1 in the three-game regional set.

Fairmont Senior ended the regular season on an eight-game winning streak but was pushed to a winner-take-all sectional championship game after East Fairmont staved off elimination with a 5-4 last Monday.

The Polar Bears won 2-0 the following day to advance to regionals.

Fairmont Senior finished the regular season at No. 3 in the WVMetroNews Class AA power rankings, one spot behind Keyser and two ahead of Frankfort.

Winfield, which defeated Keyser, 3-0, in last year's state title game, has maintained the No. 1 spot throughout the season.

Fairmont Senior played a regional tune-up game with East Hardy on Thursday and lost 6-5 in eight innings.

Frankfort hits .355 as a team and averages 9.6 runs per game. Fairmont Senior has a .313 average and scores 7.5 a night.

Falcons pitching has a 3.85 compared to the Polar Bears' 3.08.

The teams' aces throughout the season have been sophomore RHP Lanson Orndorf (8-3, 1.30 ERA, 54 IP, 50 Ks, 15 BB) for Frankfort and senior RHP Sammy Viani (8-1, 60.2 IP, 90 Ks, 27 BB), a Fairmont State commit, leads the Fairmont Senior staff.

Frankfort's offense has eight everyday players hitting at least .300: senior Cam Lynch (.446), junior Jacob Nething (.429), sophomore Blake Jacobs (.420), Orndorf (.406), junior Uriah Cutter (.358), sophomore Jaxon Hare (.347), sophomore Rhett Sensabaugh (.333) and freshman Jesus Perdew (.329).

Fairmont Senior has seven in its line-up: junior Cam Peschl (.426), senior Dylan Ours (.372), junior Matt Masters (.343), Viani (.330), senior Hayden Jones (.316), junior Brock Martin (.305) and junior Logan Canfield (.303).

Lynch (37), Cutter (35) and Nething (33) lead Frankfort in runs batted in. Jacobs has a team-high five homers, and Orndorf has 12 doubles.

The Falcons have 14 home runs compared to just four for Fairmont Senior. Martin and Peschl top the Polar Bears with nine two-baggers each.

Frankfort is aiming for its first state tournament appearance since 2019 when it fell to Bridgeport, 5-2, in the championship game. Fairmont Senior lost in the 2022 title game.

Frankfort won the 1988 Class AAA state championship. Fairmont Senior has never won states.

East Hardy vs. South Harrison

East Hardy enters the regional series riding an eight-game winning streak and having won 12 of 13 games.

The Cougars last made the Class A state tournament in 2012, falling 5-4 in extra innings to Madonna. East Hardy won the 1987 state championship.

South Harrison is trying for its first ever state tournament appearance.

East Hardy won all three of its sectional playoff games in dominating fashion, routing Tucker County, 14-0, Pendleton County, 12-2, and Petersburg, 11-1.

The Cougars have scored at least 10 runs in 11 of 15 games.

East Hardy is battle-tested, having played a difficult schedule for a Class A squad that features six games against West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle.

Five of its six losses are to Martinsburg (Class AAA No. 1), Williamstown (Class A No. 1), Allegany (Maryland state quarterfinalist), Musselman (Class AAA No. 10) and Hedgesville (16-13).

Its lone bad loss is to Lincoln (10-18), 8-7, in extra innings.

South Harrison lost 4 of 5 games to end the season but went 3-0 in sectional play, defeating Trinity Christian, 10-0, Tygarts Valley, 7-0, and Doddridge County, 10-0.

East Hardy's ace is sophomore right-hander Shayne Sisler (8-1, 2.43 ERA, 54.2 IP, 53 Ks, 20 BB), and South Harrison's is junior right-hander Layton Wageman (6-3, 2.10 ERA, 60 IP, 74 Ks, 18 BB).

South Harrison has a team 2.97 ERA and East Hardy's is 3.20.

The Cougars have an advantage at the plate with a team .339 batting average and an offensive output of 8.6 runs per game compared to the Hawks' marks of .296 and 7.4

Leading East Hardy on offense are sophomore Evan Hamilton (.506 average), freshman Garrett Van Meter (.470), sophomore Mason Hamilton (.396), senior Brandon Jones (.328) and senior Noah Sager (.308).

Evan Hamilton has 17 extra-base hits and 55 runs scored. Van Meter has 47 runs batted in.

Hitting at least .300 for South Harrison are junior Dane Tate (.391), freshman Gabe Ferrell (.378) and senior Cam Evans (.323).

Evans has a team-high 34 runs scored, and junior Seth Gain and Wageman top the squad with 26 RBIs apiece.