On Thursday -weather permitting, of course - we will learn the identity of the 12 teams that will play for the three state high school softball championships to be decided in Vienna May 25 and 26 (next Wednesday and Thursday).
Since that is the only state high school championship that is conducted in the Mid-Ohio Valley, our sports staff goes all-out in covering the event, from putting out a pre-tournament tab featuring all 12 teams to covering every game in the tournament.
Wo do so because that's what a hometown newspaper should do -create interest in the tournament.
But the best way to do that is to have some local teams playing in the event. That will ensure high interest, bigger crowds and thus a more successful tournament.
It's just possible that when the tournament gets under way, their could be a local team participating in each of the three classes.
In Class AAA, No. 8 Parkersburg South is one victory away from a short bus ride to Vienna. The Patriots looked impressive in their 5-1 win over No. 2 St. Albans on Friday at Don Godbey Memorial Park. But coach Jennifer Null's team can't rest on its laurels. South must travel to No. 3 Lincoln County on Thursday for the Region 4 championship.
Whoever wins the Region 4 championship automatically will assume the favorite's role for the state tournament as the last six state champions have come out of that region.
In Class AA, we're assured of a Mid-Ohio Valley team participating in the state tournament.
That's because the Region 1 final on Thursday will witness No. 9 Magnolia traveling to No. 1 Ritchie County.
Ritchie advanced to the state championship game a year ago and has the team to make another state title run. But first, coach Dave Mossoir's Little Kanawha Conference champions must get past Magnolia, which hasn't lost to a West Virginia school all season.
In Class A, St. Marys is back in the regional finals and looks to make a second straight trip to the state tournament.
The Blue Devils of coach John Mike Nichols have suffered just two losses this season, both to Ritchie County.
St. Marys, ranked No. 2 in the small school division, will entertain unranked Wheeling Central on Thursday for the Region 1 championship. It's a rematch of last year's regional title game, won by the Blue Devils.
The conventional wisdom was that Cameron would be St. Marys' opponent, but Wheeling Central stunned the No. 6 Dragons in 10 innings to win the sectional title.
By the way, there are no high school sports in West Virginia for the next three days due to the WESTEST. That's why all the softball regionals are on Thursday and high school baseball teams that advanced into regional play won't resume action until a week from today.
Contact Dave Poe at email@example.com