ROGERSVILLE — For the past 10 years, the West Greene baseball team has watched as other programs come to the fore.
First, there’s the football program, which challenges the Tri-County South title every year, has won it a few times and is a constant WPIAL playoff.
Then there’s the softball program, which has won two state titles and reached the finals five times.
The cross country team sent a runner to the state tournament a few years ago.
It wasn’t like the baseball program was stuck in the mud. They had made the Class A WPIAL playoffs, but that was it.
That’s when West Greene beat Jefferson-Morgan, 6-2, to secure nothing worse than a tie for first place in Class A Section 2. A win in one of their last two games of the regular season for the Pioneers (8-0), both against Greensburg Central Catholic (6-2), and the title is theirs, plain and simple.
“At the start of the year, I knew we were a playoff team,” West Greene head coach Lenny Lohr said. “We’ve made the playoffs for the past three years, but we haven’t been able to win a playoff game. Last year, we passed the milestone. I know we have never won a section championship. And we still have two games left. Something must shake.
Even if things don’t go their way in those matchups with Greensburg Central Catholic and the teams are tied, both programs will be declared co-champions and awarded a plaque.
Four players remain who started as freshmen for the Pioneers: shortstop and center fielder Hunter Hamilton; pitcher Dalton Lucey; third baseman Corey Wise and first baseman Casey Miller.
Wise hit a gigantic shot over the left-field fence for a two-run homer in the first three runs; Hamilton scored the game’s first point on an error; Miller threw a run with a sacrifice fly; and Lucey allowed two runs, two hits and struck out six over seven innings.
“We’ve worked really hard, especially in the offseason,” Hamilton said. “It feels good since I’ve been here.”
The Pioneers are 10-3 after their ninth straight win. Two of the three losses were to Class 5A Mars and Class 4A Highlands on a trip south to the Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, SC
“This trip has gone a long way in helping this team solidify,” Lucey said. “The strength of this team is that everyone puts their heart into it.
“We chased the girls (softball team),” Wise said with a chuckle. “They have been sectional champions for what seems like every year. It’s time baseball got some recognition here.
To his credit, Jefferson-Morgan got the Pioneers to victory. JM (4-4, 4-5) threatened to take the lead in the first set, then cut a 4-0 lead in half with two runs in the top of the fourth.
“We made a few mistakes today, but we definitely played a better game than (Thursday),” JM coach John Curtis said. “We didn’t hit the ball like we could.”