This Double-A stuff is easy. Right, Coach Naternicola?
Not really. Not when you go 10 innings with a familiar team in the other dugout.
"You hate to have to play a conference team," he said. "I've known Robert Shields for, gosh, I don't know how many years, and we're very good friends. It's tough playing a Big Ten team; I'd much rather seen that in the championship."
In Class AA Region 1, the Marion County schools are aligned with those of the Mid- and Upper Ohio Valley, which presents a budding regional rivalry with the Magnolia Bl ...
Oh, wait. In another jarring reclassification, coach Dave Cisar's Blue Eagles tumbled to Class A. And they are back here today, taking on Notre Dame of Clarksburg in the 10 a.m. game.
Think about it. That proud school from the New Martinsville riverfront produced state football champions in 1964 and 2010 and runners-up on 1972, 1981, 1992, 1993 and 2008. Basketball was a bit more decorated, with championship banners raised in 1961, 2000 and 2003.
And in baseball, the Blue Eagles showed up in Charleston often, winning in 1989 and 2006.
But, like Fairmont, that school had been plunging in enrollment over the years. When the SSAC released its tally for the 2012-16 realignment, Magnolia was credited with 421 students, 13 below AA-low Summers County.
The Blue Eagles weren't the only ones invading single-A. The fall of Tug Valley may have changed the landscape in that classification's boys basketball for some time. The Panthers broke the Catholic school's 11-year hold on that division, beating Charleston Catholic 58-41 in the title game.
Reclassification happens in just about every state, but it seems to have more of an impact here. If you want to age yourself, raise your hand if you remember Herbert Hoover as a Class AAA team.
Ah, the Huskies have done fine just where they are, with their 7-3 thriller over Independence the latest chapter. Hunter White gave us the dramatic ending, belting a game-winning grand slam in front of a charged-up crowd at Appalachian Power Park.
No matter how many A's you play with, that's what it's all about.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.