The park will be a hopping tonight at Bulldog Field in Luray as the New Market Rebels (6-10) travel across New Market Gap to face the Luray Wranglers. I have said from the beginning of my stay in the Valley that this is the Duke-UNC or Alabama-Auburn clash of the VBL. The best game on the slate anytime it gets played and tonight will be no exception.
Luray (8-6) edged New Market 4-3 back on June 6TH in Rebel Park on the strength of two home runs from catcher Cory Johnson and the pitching of 3-0 Travis Smink. New Market comes into the game riding a 2 game winning streak after home victories over Covington (16-9) and Front Royal (5-0). The Wranglers will be trying to shake off the effects of back-to-back losses to Waynesboro on Monday and Tuesday before having a day off yesterday.
Smink will be back on the mound in search of victory #4 on the young season and he will be facing a Rebel line up that now includes NC State's Nick Stanley. Tony Mowat, my broadcast partner on the Rebels side of the mountain tries to make sure I don't let things get to one sided in the direction of the Wranglers.
Tony jotted down a few reasons that life is better on the New Market side of the New Market Gap(I question if anyone living in Luray calls it the New Market Gap?)
Tony's reason #10- Luray is East of New Market and everyone knows the further East you go the stranger the people are.
Tony's reason #9- It takes longer to get from Luray to New Market than it does to get from New Market to Luray- Think I'm kidding- Time it.
Tony's reason #4- The infield dirt at Rebel Park was imported from Camden Yards
Tony's reason #2- Rebel Park can seat 126,000 all the while maintaining an intimate atmosphere. Wrangler park seats what, 500?
Tony had listed at #1- Mo Weber- Legend of the Valley but Mo is now back living on our side of the mountain so that one is a draw. I believe Bill Turner Inc. 4 is celebrating its New Market grand opening this week-end so I am going to guess that Bill will be pulling for a Wrangler victory by the slimest margin possible.
I know that the atmosphere tonight will be electric and the bleachers on both foul lines will be stuffed full of fans. Melissa Dodge will be there with her Rebel Cow Bell to lead the NM charge and plenty of Luray faithful will be there to match the effort. I can only hope that the poor fella working the PA is up to the challenge of calling the GREATEST GAME THE VBL HAS- BAR NONE.
I am willing to give equal time to any fan of one of the other 9 teams that can tell me why their arch rival game could be any more fun- just let me know.
Only 14 hours until it's time for the 1ST pitch......