by Chris Vannoy
ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
With Lincoln's 9-6 win over Bridgeport in Saturday's Class AA, Region II Section 1 final, the Cougars joined a quartet of area teams -- Robert C. Byrd and Buckhannon-Upshur in Class AAA, Grafton in AA and Notre Dame in A -- who had already punched their tickets to this week's regional tournament play.
In Class AAA, Robert C. Byrd (20-7) swept a best-of-three series from Nicholas County to clinch the Region II, Section 3 title and will face Buckhannon-Upshur (19-7) in Monday's regional semifinal at B-U. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m.
The winner of Monday's game will face the winner of a regional semifinal between Fairmont Senior (19-9) and East Fairmont (12-14) on Wednesday at Frank Loria Memorial Field in Nutter Fort. Game time for the regional final game is set for 6:30 p.m.
In Class AA, Lincoln (23-3) will run headlong into Grafton, the winner of Section 2 over Lewis County and Philip Barbour, in a regional semifinal game at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Frank Loria Memorial Field. The Bearcats (7-9) won their first sectional title in five years with a 9-3 win over Lewis County on Friday.
The winner of that regional semifinal will advance to the regional final against the winner of a Clay County(14-4)-Oak Hill (20-7) regional semifinal. The regional final is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Bridgeport High School.
Notre Dame's road to Charleston and the state tournament appears to have been made a little easier by some surprising sectional results. Before sectional play began, Class A's first and fourth ranked teams -- Buffalo and Gilmer County, respectively -- appeared to be possible roadblocks to a deep Irish tournament run. Instead, both teams lost in sectional play.
ND will, however, be without sophomore pitcher Tyler Musgrave for the rest of the postseason. Musgrave was suspended from school last week.
Now, the Irish open regional play against Clay Battelle (6-10) at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at South Harrison High School and that winner will take on the winner of a Williamstown (17-5)-Wahama (12-13) regional semifinal in Thursday's regional final at Ritchie County High School. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m.
Assistant Sports Editor Chris Vannoy can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org