CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – It’s Opening Day for the West Virginia Power!
After a 19 month layoff, the Power is back at Appalachian Power Park, ready to take the diamond.
And everything about this season is new.
“Now breaking ground in a new era of Charleston baseball is super exciting to be apart of,” said starting pitcher Arik Sikula. “And just the level of play that will be on the field, the level of production from our front office…”
Baseball has been here in the Capitol City since 1910.
And now, in 2021… baseball is back. For the first time in a long time.
“It’s been maybe a year and a half,” said Sikula. “Since September of 2019. I was actually slated to go to Italy in 2020, but it never happened. The pandemic happened. So I never played. So this 18 month, 19 month, layoff has built some excitement of what’s to come.”
So… what exactly is ‘to come?’
“It’s a little bit different from the initially the front end of the career, the younger guys,” said Sikula. “This back end of the career… and to true baseball fans, you can really appreciate where they are in trying to get back to the major leagues.”
Players trying to get back to the majors, like former Marshall pitcher and current Power pitcher, Aaron Blair.
“Playing on this field at Marshall as an amateur and then being able to come back and play on it on the professional side… I have friends and family in the area so I’m looking forward to this summer,” said Blair.
Blair has been pitching for the majority of his life.
“You know I’ve been pretty serious about pitching since I was a freshman in high school,” said Sikula. “So 4 years in high school, 3 years of college, then 9 years of pro baseball. So I mean I’m looking at 15+ hours of trying to perfect the craft.”
So the guy knows what he’s talkin about.
And he decided to bestow some of that wisdom on me… (yikes.)
“This is like a fast ball… let the grip do the work…. Arik we’re gonna do a fast ball first…”
Blair also taught me about the two seam fast ball, the slider, and the change up.
And I made some attempts at throwing; but there’s a reason I didn’t make this team.
A team that is so anxious to get back on the diamond.
“We can’t wait to get started,” said Sikula. “My arm feels so good right now. The bullpen feels good. But how you perform in a game and how you practice is different. So we’ll see come game time.”