BEVERLY - This has been a pivotal week for the Fort Frye baseball team with some key games on its schedule.
"It's a big week for us," said veteran Fort skipper Sonny Bidwell, whose Cadets were 6-0 on the diamond last week. "There's a lot on the table, and we need to stay focused and take it one day at a time.
"If we drop one, we can't dwell on it. We've just got to come back the next day."
On Monday, the Cadets traveled to Hank Greenburg Field in south Parkersburg to face the Patriots in an Ohio Valley Athletic Conference game, and won 5-0. This contest was important because, FFHS, the owner of an 14-1 overall record, was hoping to host an OVAC semifinal Saturday. Only Steubenville Central and Linsly had better records.
Both Tuesday and Wednesday were Pioneer Valley Conference games against Monroe Central and Shenandoah, respectively. First-place Fort's only setback this season was to the Seminoles on April 3, so its 9-3 triumph over them was also sweet payback.
In Sarahsville, the Cadets earned an 11-3 decision against the Zeps' nine.
Now, at 5 p.m. today, Fort Frye is scheduled to make the short trek across the Muskingum River bridge to face arch-rival Waterford in a non-conference game. Bragging rights are on the line in this one.
In recent years, Fort has had the upper hand on Waterford on the baseball diamond. But the Chad Augenstein-coached Wildcats are a much improved and a winning ballclub with a 6-4 overall record.
As for the Fort....
FFHS has a good mix of veteran and younger players on its roster. Providing leadership are seniors' Chandler Lang (shortstop), Colten Shuster (second base), Bradley Martin (center field), Drew Layton (catcher), and C.J. Huck (outfielder).
Some of the younger Cadet contributors have been Isaac Klinger (first base), Derek Layton (third base), Tanner Rice (right field), Trent Bradford (left field), Terren Huck (OF), Carter Lang (utility), and Sam Bidwell (catcher).
Fort's pitching rotation features Martin, Rice, Shuster, and Derek Layton - but really, when the team plays four games in as many days, like this week, everybody on the roster had better be ready to toe the rubber.
"This week, it's been all arms on deck," Sonny Bidwell said. "If we have to, we'll pitch a lot by committee."
Like most Fort Frye baseball teams throughout the year, the Cadets don't generally "beat" themselves.
"We're learning the game, and we work on fundamentals a lot," Bidwell said. "And, with our pitching coming along, this team is a good, solid defensive team."
After Waterford, Fort Frye is slated to have Friday off. But, then it's back on the diamond Saturday - hopefully in Beverly - for an OVAC semifinal.
"We would love to host that game, probably against Linsly," Bidwell said, "but we'll see. If we don't...well, the kids are ready to play anywhere."
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org