The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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April 15, 2014

Polands share life, coaching

Husband and wife are baseball, softball coaches in Fayetteville

Married since 2011, Ashley and Dan Poland share the good times and the bad times that every husband and wife face. Be it an unexpected tax refund or a busted water pipe, they go through it together.

Something else they share is the same title, especially this time of year — Coach.

While Dan is in the middle of his sixth season as the head baseball coach at Fayetteville, Ashley is in her second at the helm of the Lady Pirates’ softball team.

This week, both are directing tournaments during spring break. Today, as the baseball team heads into the second day of the Spring Break Wood Bat Classic, the Lady Pirates are hosting the Diamond Classic starting today at Huse Memorial Park.

Like their decisions to get into coaching, the Polands met through their mutual love of sports. Dan used to be an assistant to former Oak Hill coach Chris Walls, whose wife Stacie is Ashley’s cousin.

“The first time we met was at a slow-pitch softball tournament,” said the former Ashley Sisk, a 2000 Independence graduate.

The two were married three years ago, and their coaching gigs afford them little time together during the spring.

“We don’t see much of each other, mostly in passing,” Ashley said. “He’s usually asleep when I get home, or I’m asleep if one of us has a road trip.”

Ashley and Dan will both know the challenge of being a tournament director by week’s end. Dan’s tournament got off to a rousing start Tuesday because of the rare April snow and temperatures that plunged 50 degrees in 48 hours. The original four-game schedule was cut down to two and games were moved to Beckley’s Linda K. Epling Stadium.

The first game was played, with Greenbrier East rallying to beat Oak Hill 11-9. The second game, however, was a snow casualty. The Spartans led Nicholas County 1-0 after an inning before it was called.

The tournament will move back to Fayetteville today, where the softball team will also play host.

The Lady Pirates take a 2-9 record into the tournament. Poland would obviously like her team’s record to be better, but she sees improvement from a year ago.

“We’ve been hitting the ball better this year,” she said. “The games we have been losing have been by a closer margin. We’re hanging closer in games with better teams. Our record really hasn’t done us justice.”

The Diamond Classic will begin with four games today. They will take Thursday off before playing three games on Friday. Five games are set for Saturday, including the championship at 6 p.m.

— E-mail: gfauber

@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter

@GaryFauber.

Diamond Classic

Schedule

Today

Noon — Fayetteville vs. Liberty

2 p.m. — Liberty vs. Valley

4 p.m. — Valley vs. Oak Hill

6 p.m. — Fayetteville vs. Oak Hill

Friday

2 p.m. — Fayetteville vs. PikeView

4 p.m. — PikeView vs. Wyoming East

6 p.m. — Oak Hill vs. Wyoming East

Saturday

10 a.m. — Wyoming East vs. Valley

Noon — PikeView vs. Liberty

2 p.m. — Fifth-place game

4 p.m. — Third-place game

6 p.m. — Championship

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