GRANVILLE, W.Va. – Following Saturday’s streak-shattering loss to Oklahoma, West Virginia baseball players looked for any excuse to keep shaving their heads. They received the perfect justification Sunday afternoon during their 9-3 win.
The ceremonial buzz cuts, which are carefully curated by the hands of Blaine Traxel and Kevin Dowdell, were previously designated only to wins. Having some time on its hands with a rain delay, it was time for WVU to bring back the shears.
“We’ve been shaving our heads recently,” veteran reliever Noah Short said. “Usually one person goes every game, so we had a couple freshmen here shaving their heads, which is pretty cool to do during a rain delay when you’re wasting a couple hours.”
Everyone has their own favorite pastimes, but what is the best practice when America’s Pastime is put on hold? Poker is popular, both in the WVU clubhouse and nationwide. If the radar shows no signs of slowing down, a nap is an option. Instead of catching some shut-eye, shortstop Tevin Tucker decided to give back to the fanbase by signing gear for supporters that sacrificed hours of their day to wait around for West Virginia to play baseball.
“It means the world, Tucker said. “These kids come out here to watch us play. My parents always told me to be respectful of everybody, and you can make a kid’s day just by signing autographs. So every time I can, I try to do that.”
Head coach Randy Mazey applauded the support staff, particularly strength coach Kelly Cosgrove and trainer Steve Rozier, for the efforts made to keep the players alert and energized.
“[Delays are] when the people in their positions really step up and make sure we are not fatigued late in the year,” Mazey said. “[They] make sure we are playing at our best and recovering. [Cosgrove] runs around handing out cherry juice bottles after games and during rain delays. We have guys eating and worrying about nutrition, because if you don’t, it’s a long day.”
While there is significant attention cast on health, wellness, and energy, there is less of a concentration on the fundamentals. West Virginia actually opted out of taking batting practice in the cages. For over three hours, rawhide and composite aluminum never met.
“We didn’t hit at all in the cage,” Logan Sauve said. “I just got the bat weight and got loose.”
Sauve, who went 2-for-4 with four RBIs Sunday, homered on the first pitch he saw following the delay.
“[Our] natural tendency when you’re sitting [in a delay] with a six-run lead is [that] you can relax,” Mazey said. “I don’t think our guys did that. I think they know that we have a lot to play for, so the last six innings were going to be really important.”