Sissonville makes it easy for rookie keeper
In baseball, it's always good to give a rookie pitcher plenty of run support.
On Friday, with senior Tyler Fisher getting his first action between the pipes, Sissonville made sure to give its keeper plenty of goal support.
Forwards Anthony Rinehart and Josh Rawson led an offensive charge that enabled the host Indians to light up the scoreboard seven times for a 7-2 victory over Herbert Hoover in both teams' season opener.
Rawson, a junior, found the back of the net twice in the game's opening eight minutes while senior Rinehart added three goals.
"Josh is fast and strong, Anthony is quick and strong and very skilled, so it makes for a good combination up there - a lot of firepower," Sissonville coach Eric Minsker said. "We realized that about halfway through last season and should've probably done it a little earlier in the season, but we were a young team still mixing things around."
The Indians are trying to replace first-team Class AA-A all-state keeper Charlie Gary, who made 22 saves in Sissonville's upset win over St. Joseph in a sectional semifinal last year.
But with the pair of explosive forwards and some solid midfield play, Sissonville may be poised to make some serious noise - provided it can solidify the goalkeeper position.
Enter Fisher, who was shaky at times on Friday but has plenty of time to get acclimated to his new position. His success in goal is made even more important by the fact that Rinehart and Sam Gary are the alternatives, and both play huge roles in Sissonville's offense.
"He just needs more confidence," Minsker said. "Right now I don't think his confidence level is high, which is to be expected in your first game in high school playing keeper. You tend to maybe get a little tight in situations, but we'll give him an opportunity to see if he can do it. Right now, he's our guy."
In the second half, Fisher let three balls slip through his hands on what should've been routine saves. The second of those bobbles resulted in a long goal for Hoover's Andrew Mercer.
But by that time the Indians had built a 7-0 lead, and Minsker had moved Rinehart and Rawson out of their forward positions and had them playing defense.
Fisher was beat again with just 19.5 seconds left on a good shot off a penalty kick from the Huskies' Jesse Weese.
Hoover coach Mike Triveri credited his team for not giving up.
"I'm proud of my guys," Triveri said. "They hustled hard. I ran them hard for a few weeks to get them prepared for this. They didn't quit, that's the one thing I'm very proud of. It didn't matter that at halftime it was 5-0. That second half was 2-2. They didn't quit and that's what I don't want to ever see them do."
Andy Minsker and Gary each had a first-half goal for Sissonville while Rinehart accounted for both of the Indians' goals in the second half. Hoover goalie Brett Strickland made six saves while Fisher stopped three shots.
Herbert Hoover will host Point Pleasant at 7 p.m. Tuesday while the Indians will also be in action that day, hosting Robert C. Byrd at 6 p.m.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.