Greenbrier West third baseman Aaron Goff fires to first against James Monroe April 17 in Charmco. The Cavaliers will take on Shady Spring at 6 p.m. today in the first game of the Class AA Region 3, Section 1 tournament at Oak Hill.

For much of the season, Shady Spring coach Dave Shaw has worried about off-the-field issues that were making it difficult to sustain any on-field success.

But things seem to have been corrected over the last two weeks. The timing certainly could not be better.

Shady, like most other area teams, begins sectional play today. The Tigers (8-13-2) take on Greenbrier West (9-12) at 6 p.m. today in the Class AA Region 3, Section 1 tournament. All games will be played at Oak Hill High School.

It has not been a good season for Shady, a state tournament participant in 2004-06. But Shaw is confident that attitudes have improved in time for the postseason.

“Right now, I think the kids are relaxed,” he said. “The first half, first three quarters of the season was tough. We went through some different things and really went through the muck and the mud. But I do think the kids have started to relax and have accepted some things.

“The last quarter of the season has been good. The kids’ attitudes are better. I am getting a lot more comfortable with what is going on.”

Given that comfort, perhaps no team can take the “second season” approach to the playoffs more so than the Tigers. By now, everything should be instinctive.

“You always talk to the players and try to get them to understand that the regular season gets them ready for sectionals,” Shaw said. “You want them to be prepared and to do things without thinking. It’s just reaction.

“Yes, you would like some wins (in the regular season) to keep morale up and keep the kids going. But this is a new beginning. That’s how we will approach it.”

Shaw said there hasn’t been one individual player who has surprised him this season.

“We have our team and that’s what we are,” Shaw said. “It’s going to be a team effort and it’s got to be a team effort for us to survive.”

Shady and West met only one time in the regular season, but it was three days ago. Cavaliers’ starter Chase Fitzwater was outstanding, striking out 16 in a 2-1 win.

“Greenbrier West showed they can beat us,” Shaw said. “Fitzwater pitched a heck of a game. I don’t know who they will throw (today), but I do know it will be a tough game that will probably go down to the end.

“Our kids are to the point that they are not going to give up. It’s going to be a battle. I’m sure (Greenbrier West) coach (Matt) McClung would say the same thing.”

The winner of today’s game will play Oak Hill at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

— E-mail: gfauber@


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