Midland headed to state tourney
HUNTINGTON -- On Saturday, nearly all of Cabell Midland's senior class walked away with their high school journey completed following commencement ceremonies at Big Sandy SuperStore Arena.
Nearly all of the graduates were speaking of life after high school and senior trips -- not still being associated with high school.
Such was not the case for the baseball team's three seniors who heard their name called as part of the Class of 2013.
Their business with Cabell Midland has not ended and their senior trips will have a local start to them.
The Knights' baseball team will take a trip to Charleston's Appalachian Power Park to compete in the Class AAA state baseball tournament as the Region IV champions this weekend.
And they couldn't be more excited.
"Honestly, I'm leaving right after the state tournament for senior trip, so it would be a great sendoff to win a state championship and meet up with my friends," Cabell Midland senior Jacob Beahrs said. "Right now, I'm just concentrating on baseball. After that comes the extra-curricular."
Last week, it was Beahrs who came up with the biggest hit in the Knights' season -- a bloop single to right field to score freshman Cole Tilley with the game's only run in the 1-0 win over Hurricane in the Region IV semifinal, which preceded a win over Winfield in the Region IV championship.
Three days after the region title, Beahrs was walking across the stage celebrating the milestone of graduation along with the rest of the Class of 2013.
While there were celebrations and cookouts following the graduation ceremony, the day of celebration gave way to refocusing for the 2013 Class AAA State Baseball Tournament on Monday.
That's because at approximately 7:30 p.m. Friday, the Knights will meet fellow Mountain State Athletic Conference member Woodrow Wilson with a state championship berth on the line.
"It used to be that graduation was the same day, but we have a week to get (graduation distractions) out of our system," Beahrs said. "We have a day off (Sunday) and then we are back at it collecting our thoughts and focusing on Power Park and Woodrow Wilson."
Beahrs, the team's center fielder, is joined by three other seniors - Kalib Arrowood, Luke Yingling and Matt Regan.
Each took the leadership role early to show the younger players what needed to be done, but the seniors also credited the younger players for fueling the team as well.
"A lot of guys have really stepped up for us," Arrowood said. "It's been impressive."
"Everyone knows their job and knows what needs to happen now," Beahrs said. "We've figured out what we have to do to win and we've gotten it done."
It was just one month ago that the Knights were sitting at 12-10 after a three-game skid in which they committed a ton of mental miscues and errors in losses to Boyd County (Ky.), Spring Valley and Nitro.
Since then, they have won 10 straight and allowed more than three runs in just three games. They have also learned how to win the close game with five of the contests being one-run decisions.
Arrowood admitted that graduation was an exciting time and a long-lasting memory, but it could easily be trumped this week if the Knights win two more games and earn the Class AAA state title.
"It would be fireworks and everything," Arrowood said. "Everyone would explode and it would be awesome."
Beahrs knows to earn that right, the Knights' seniors need to take the last two games of their careers like they've taken the previous 120 - one game at a time.
"We need to focus on Friday night and taking care of business in the first game," Beahrs said. "If we do that, things will take care of themselves.
"Like I said, though, it would be a nice send-off for my senior trip."