"I think it was all nerves,'' said Gross. "They didn't realize what it was like at the next level. Then when we got some wins it was like, 'We can do this. This is no different.' Once we got to sectionals we gained this big momentum and we haven't stopped.''
The stabilizing force for the band of sisters has been senior pitcher-first baseman Bekah Baldwin, a four-year starter who has signed with West Virginia State.
Baldwin, who is the pitching ace and cleanup hitter, leads the Indians in RBIs (35) and triples (four) and is second in batting average (.453), doubles (11) and home runs (four). She owns a 9-9 record with a 2.50 earned run average with 99 strikeouts.
More importantly, though, Baldwin's steady leadership has been what the youngsters needed most.
"She's been a lot more vocal and a team leader this year,'' Gross said. "She's feeling really confident.''
The Sissonville program hasn't advanced this far since 2002, when the Indians won the AA state championship.
"It's shocking to everyone,'' Gross said of the team's success. "It seems like we're gaining fans and everybody is with us. We've just got to be physically and mentally prepared. I believe in them.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.