Common sense would tell you that an experienced pitcher would be aan advantage in a game where the stakes are as high as a state tournament game.
But don't tell that to Bridgeport and coach Robert Shields.
No, the game on Thursday didn't go the way the Indians would have liked, but it's hard to blame starting pitcher Troy Anderson or criticize Shields' decision to start him despite his inexperience.
In fact, by the time Anderson came out for the third inning, he had already more than doubled his season total in innings pitched.
Anderson tossed just two frames entering the state tournament but gave up three runs in five innings in his first start of the season and was in line for the win when the Polar Bears scratched out an unearned run in the top of the seventh, setting up all of the extra-inning drama.
Shields said Anderson's lack of mound work was more out of necessity than anything.
"Troy has always been a good pitcher but we played so many ballgames this year it was hard to rest his arm as a catcher," Shields said. "We used him once in a closer's role and he came in there and struck out four in two innings and he did a good job. We waited for the season to be over to rest his arm and get him throwing some more [bullpens] and get him ready.
"I was super happy. He did a great job."
Though Norman is trying to make amends for falling just short in basketball, Fairmont Senior coach Steve Naternicola is no stranger to chasing redemption as he will be afforded yet another chance at an elusive state title after going 0-6 in Class AAA title games under his command.
But it was not an issue he side-stepped after Thursday's win.
"Saturday I'll either have number seven or number one," Naternicola joked.
And while his current players haven't been around for all of Fairmont's heartbreaking finishes, they are aware of them and motivated by them.
"We'd love to do it for him," Norman said. "He's done so much for this program and we'd love to get one for him."
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pr...@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.