CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Buffalo coach Darrell Moore is banking on the Best of the Best Softball Classic to help shore up some of his team's deficiencies this weekend.The 15th annual event at the Buffalo Softball Complex, which features 18 teams, begins today with Class A pool play and resumes Friday with a combined Class AAA-AA field. The three-game pool play continues Saturday, then the top four teams in Class A and the top six in AAA-AA advance to single-elimination finals. The Class A championship is set for 4 p.m. Saturday while AAA-AA is 8 p.m.
Moore elected to have the Bison, the two-time defending state champion in Class A and current No. 1, compete in the AAA-AA bracket for added competition.
"We're trying to find some consistency in our outfield,'' said the Buffalo coach. "We're struggling a lot to fill the positions we lost last year.
"This is a good challenge for us. We need a couple of kids to step up for us. We haven't gotten that yet. We're hoping this tournament does that for us. Playing the competition we're playing should help us a lot.''
Moore, who is also the tournament director, said there weren't enough AA teams for a full field this year since several of those schools moved up to AAA this past fall, so he decided to combine the two classes.
The 12-team AAA-AA field includes seven state-ranked teams and several others that received votes in this week's state sports writers' poll.
No. 2 Cabell Midland, No. 3 Lincoln County, No. 5 Hurricane and No. 8 Shady Spring are the top-10 schools in AAA while No. 9 Scott and No. 10 Sissonville are ranked in AA. In AAA, Logan received votes in the latest poll while Chapmanville and Nicholas County also did so in AA.
The six-team Class A field features No. 4 Sherman and No. 10 St. Marys while Man, a perennial power, received votes in the poll.
"It's going to be a great tournament,'' Moore said. " There's no better softball than what you're going to see Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It's the best in the state.''
Leah Amico, a three-time Olympic softball gold medalist (1996, 2000 and 2004) with Team USA will sign autographs at 4 p.m. and be a guest speaker at 7:30 tonight. Amico helped Arizona to three NCAA national championships. ... Admission is $5 for all day each day of the tournament.
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.
Note: Top four teams based on pool-play records advance to single-elimination finals.