The calender on the computer was jammed full of baseball related events on Wednesday evening so my daughter Rebecca and I set out to catch as much of the action as possible. The
number of items was 5 so lets get right to it!
5:00 p.m.-Head Coach Alan Knight and his Page County Panthers hosted Gretna in a Region-B softball semi-final in Shenandoah.
6:00 p.m.- First pitch is set for the Region-B baseball semi-final between host Luray and the visiting Cavilers from Chatham.
6:30 p.m.- Diane Buckley and Bill Turner roll out the red carpet at Imagination Station for the annual meet and greet that is "Meet The Wranglers".
7:00 p.m.- Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Alger and company prepare a huge dinner for the "Meet The Rebels" which is to be followed by an exhibition game versus the RCBL's New Market Shockers.
7:00 p.m.- Dateline Strasburg- Appomattox and Strasburg begin play in the second Region-B
semi-final with the winner hosting the Luray- Chatham winner.
I will break up the stories from here and we will post pictures with the stories and try and regroup for tomorrow night when Waynesboro Little Giants travel to Amherst (vs.Jefferson Forest @ 5:00 p.m.) for their next round game, the Luray Wranglers travel to Clover Hill for an exhibition game and Winchester welcomes the Hagerstown Mud Cats to their park.
Stories and pictures from tonight will now follow!
Page County Softball
Page News and Courier Sports editor Bill Meade was once again trying to do double duty and his day began at PCHS. Little did he know that he would end up watching an epic softball game for the next 2+ hours. Gretna finally captured the game in the top of the 12th inning, much to the dismay of the Panther faithful. The Panthers completed another outstanding season under their long time skipper. Please read Bill's story in the next edition of the Page News and Courier!
Luray vs. Chatham
I'm not sure which part of the story to tell first- the great high school baseball game I witnessed or the group of people I watched it with.
Let's go to the action first- Luray righty Jeremy Leake struck out the side in the top of the first inning and the Bulldogs hit back to back doubles off Chatham starter Matt Bray. Leake sent the next pitch Bray offered to the wall in dead center field but Drew Kirks made a great running catch to keep the score 1-0. After just six batters the game looked pretty easy from a Bulldog point of view.
Kirks quickly tied the score at 1-1 with a lead off home run to left field in the top of the second but Luray answered with a run in the bottom of the second thanks to a lead off double by Bradley Painter.
Chatham broke loose for 4 runs in the top of the third inning off Leake to take a 5-2 lead. Once again a Caviler led off the inning with a Home Run, this time #9 hitter Brent Shelton doing the damage. But unlike the second inning when Leake shut down the visitors, Chatham kept plugging away. Jacob Yates walked and Tyler Younger singled before Leake recorded the first out of the frame. Kirks walked to load the bases and all three runners came around to score on a single, HBP and a ground out.
Leake kept the Bulldogs in the game by retiring Andrew Redd on a fly out to center fielder Johnny VanWyck with two runners in scoring position. Billy Foley turned a walk into a run for Luray in the bottom of the inning but LHS still trailed 5-3.
The teams traded single runs in the fourth inning with Shelton once again doing the damage for the Cavilers. Shelton doubled to lead off and came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Younger and Luray answered with VanWyck stealing a run to close the gap to 6-4. VanWyck reached on an infield single and stole second base. Leake help his own cause by stroking a single to plate the speedy VanWyck.
LHS coach Steve Griffith went to the bullpen in the fifth inning after Lee Herndon led off with a single. Richard Galindez came into the game (Galindez won the quarter-final game vs. George Mason) and held Chatham scoreless for the remainder of the evening.
The Bulldogs trailed 6-4 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning and their dream season was in danger. Chad Duncan led off with a single and Jordan Sullivan followed with another to put the tying runs on base. Dickson bunted the ball in an attempt to move the runners up but Kirks (now pitching to his first batter) made a diving catch of the ball. Sullivan was running on the play and would of been an easy double play but the throw got away from the Chatham first baseman. Both Duncan and Sullivan advanced on the error to put the tying runs into scoring position. The gentleman sitting to my left (I will get back to him later) quickly noted- just turned out to be a routine sac bunt!
VanWyck lined a single off the pitchers mound for his third hit of the game. The junior only picked up 1 RBI because Sullivan was held at third base. Still trailing 6-5 but with two runners on, the Bulldogs benefited from a second Caviler miscue of the inning. An errant attempt to pick Sullivan off third base allowed the tying run to score and VanWyck to move to second base.
The distinguished gentleman to my left looked at the score board and noted it was the Devil's scoreboard- 6 to 6 in the 6th inning. My daughter quickly added the count was 3-2 with 1 out (yes-equals 6) when Foley lined the game winning single to left field to plate VanWyck. Galindez came out to pitch the seventh inning and pick up his second win of the week after Ryan
Carroll made a over the shoulder catch of a pop-up at third base.
The Bulldogs live to play another day but now it is 8:05 p.m.
Pictures of the great people we got to watch the game with:
Meet The Wranglers
I was trying to hold the fort down for Bill Meade until he arrived from PCHS but with the 12 inning affair the Panthers were playing.... Bill made it in time to see the final outs and about that time Diane was pulling up in her SUV and the players were coming back for their first practice. I will try and get some details on how that went!
Strasburg v. Appomattox
Strasburg led 4-3 after two innings and the Rams would go on to capture a 7-4 victory over Appomattox. You can always count on Matt Hiserman (AD) to update the website as soon as possible- Strasburg is heading to its 3rd straight state tourney- but this time they are taking the Luray Bulldogs with them. The two will meet Friday night at 7:00 p.m. in Strasburg. Congrats to Coach Smoot as the Rams and if you have a chance check out the coverage in the Saturday edition of the Northern Virginia Daily.
Meet the Rebels
We raced over to New Market to visit with Bruce Alger and company as the Rebels took the field for the first time. Bruce was the gracious host that he always is and gave glowing reports of the pre-game meal.
"It was the biggest turn out we have ever had," Alger said. "We had somewhere around 175 fans show up for the dinner. The way this community continues to show up and support our club is what makes it all so special."
It gave me a opportunity to visit with three of the four Rebel web-casters I cover the games with. Dallas Alkire was there with his lovely wife but I think Tony Mowat was home watching his beloved Pens try and figure out the Red Wings (hockey- for those scoring at home).
Jay and Charlie were also there as was Charlie's wife (Mrs. Charlie is amongst the most die-hard Rebel fans). I received great news in that one of my favorite players from last season - Ross Fetterly will be returning to New Market for another season with the Rebels. Ross and I both grew up in the Tidewater area and hit it off immediately last season when I was covering him for the NVD.
We visited and watched the middle innings of the game with Bruce, Mo and company before heading back to Luray in hopes of catching Mike Bocock and the Wranglers at the end of practice... Time of departure- 10:12 p.m.
We managed the 14.4 mile drive back to the other side of the mountain in 20 minutes and found both Bill Turner and skipper Mike in a good mood. Well, as good of a mood as you could be when you are missing 1/2 of your roster. Bocock brought something to my attention about the number of missing players around the league.
"We are starting earlier this season than we have in the past," Bocock said. "We would usually start the week between the regionals (64 teams) and the super-regionals (16 teams). It makes
a big difference to how many players are available when you have four times as many teams still playing."
Despite only having about 1/2 of his roster available, Bocock was upbeat about the players we had practicing in front of him.
"My first impression is the they are very good and they can really hit the ball," Bocock added. "I am excited about having Jimmy Hamilton (Former Turner Ashby star) as our pitching
coach as well as Randy being back for a 3rd year. I also think the kids will enjoy playing tomorrow night at Clover Hill."