Friday, October 17, 2008

Time for Week #9 of Friday Nights Lights : ESPN heads to Buffalo Gap @ Wilson-Memorial

FISHERSVILLE- Chip Crabill and I are heading down to Wilson Memorial tonight for a Shenandoah District Match-Up between the visiting Buffalo Gap Bison and the home standing Green Hornets.

The Green Hornets (2-4,0-1) are coached by Derek McDaniel (Waynesboro Generals) and the Bison are as we say - ON A ROLL! The Gap (6-0,1-0) picked up right where they left off last year when they ran the table on the way to the Class A State Championship.

We will be on the Air at 6:30 P.M. on ESPN-1240 (WTON) with our tail gate show. Jim Sacco has promised to stop by and be my interview for the segment where Chip heads upstairs right after 7:00. Kick-off is set for 7:30 and the weather promises to be a touch nippy (57 now, low of 34 later).

The game will be fun as we will get to watch another Head Coach try to cook up a defensive sceam to slow down Gap's Pickle Nuckols. Nuckols opened District play last week against Page County and finished with 285 yards on 25 carries (11.4 yards per) in the Bison's 55-28 victory.

Even if you can find a way to slow down Pickle you then have to deal with the other back in the Thunder and Lightning backfield, Michael Johnson. Johnson is to quick what Pickle is to strong.

The second Shenandoah District contest takes place in Shenandoah tonight where the Luray Bulldogs (3-3,1-0) come to town riding a 3-game winning streak. Page County (2-4, 0-1) will host LHS and look to slow down quarterback Willie Logan and Company. Last week the Bulldogs scored 21 points in the closing minutes of the game to defeat Stonewall Jackson 41-35.

The third and final match-up will have Riverheads (4-2, 1-0) travel up I-81 to Quicksburg to face Stonewall Jackson (3-3,0-1). Riverheads defeated Wilson Memorial last week 28-0 to open District play.

You still have time to check your local paper and find a High School Football Game to attend tonight!

While watching Boston's amazing comeback and listening to Jimmy Buffett's concert I have created Shenandoah District Volleyball Standings !

When you mess with numbers as much as I do, sometimes it can be tough to let go of a Math Problem and that was the case tonight. After locating a set of Bull Run District Standings I wondered how hard it could be to create a set for the Shenandoah District. I am sure that tomorrow someone will laugh at my work and tell me where the standings are available to the public.

At 7:00 P.M. Friday night Jim Sacco will join me for a segment of our Tail Gate show on ESPN-1240 and we always manage to sneak in a few minutes of Volleyball Talk. So I figured it would be fun to have the standings for the District that the two of us share ties with. Now, with that said....


Thursday October 16TH

@ Luray 3 , Riverheads 1
@ Stonewall Jackson 3, Buffalo Gap 1 ( gamer available at )
Wilson-Memorial over @ Page County 3-?

High School : ............District.............. GB.......... Overall
.......................................W L .....................................W L
Luray............................7.1.................... - ...............15 .3
Wilson-Memorial........ 7.1 ...................- ...............14. 3
Stonewall Jackson.......5.3 ....................2................. 9.. 9
Riverheads ..................2.6................... 5 ............... 8.10
Page County................ 1.6................... 5 1/2.........5 ..12
Buffalo Gap.................. 1.6...................5 1/2.........4.. 12

Games Remaining:

Monday 10/20:
Buffalo Gap @ Page County ---------------Page wins 3-1

Tuesday 10/21 :

Luray @ Wilson-Memorial
Buffalo Gap @ Riverheads
Stonewall Jackson @ Page County


Thursday 10/23 :

Luray @ Buffalo Gap
Wilson-Memorial @ Stonewall Jackson
Page County @ Riverheads

Next - District Tourney

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shenandoah District & Bull Run District Volleyball :Luray & Strasburg roll on with big wins!

LURAY - The Lady Bulldogs hosted Riverheads on Thursday night and following their Senior Night ceremony LHS defeated the Gladiators 3-1. The Shenandoah District victory keeps the Bulldogs on course for a showdown next week at Wilson-Memorial High School.

More to come later...

10:55 P.M. - Back at it. I am not surprised that Tampa Bay is going to advance to the World Series but I am taken back by the way that the Rays are dismanteling Boston. The score tonight is 7-0 in the bottom of the 7TH. 38-15 is the total score with 2+ 1/2 innings to play...

Strasburg added another road sweep tonight to push their win streak to 14 matches and the Rams have not played a 5TH game during their incredible run. Suzanne Mathias and her Rams return home for 2 matches next week and a victory in either match will secure the top spot in the Bull Run District Volleyball Tournament.

Current Bull Run Standings:

Strasburg........... 8/0............16/2
Rapp County.....5/2..............9/3
Clarke County..4/4...............8/7
Madison Co......4/4................6/12
Manassas Park.2/5..............8/7
George Mason.0/8...............0/13

Tuesday 10/21 : Manassas Park @ Strasburg
Thursday 10/23 : Rapp @ Strasburg

Back to Luray :

Riverheads.....25.....14.....19.....18 (1)
Luray..............23.....25.....25.....25 (3)

Let us start out with the five seniors that played their final Home Game in the Bulldog Gym Thursday night...

#1- Amber Turner 5'3 Setter / Libero (4TH year varsity)
#3- Lindsey Cummings 5'5 Setter / Libero (2ND year varsity)
#6- Morgan Wright 5'6 OH/LB (1ST year varsity)
#7 -Katie Cubbage 5'9 MH/MB (4TH year varsity)
#8-Rachel Goebel 5'10 RH/RB (1ST year varsity)

I had a chance to visit with LHS Head Coach Julie Rothgeb after the match and I asked her to share a thought with us about each of her five seniors...

Amber - Amber is a very unique person. She always keeps us on our toes.

Lindsey - Lindsey is a very spirited girl and that helps keep our team up.

Morgan -Morgan has enjoyed the game for as long as I have known her.

Katie - For Katie it is just plain out Love. Love of the game and she plays with passion.

Rachael- Rachael is a great young lady and has come a long way with her Volleyball...
Play of the night came during Game 4 with Luray trying to protect a 21-15 lead. Cubbage served the ball and was trying to get in position to reach a hard hit ball from Riverheads Tiffany Flesher. Flesher drilled the ball to the right of Cubbage but Katie was able to reach over and get her arm on the ball.

The play went from a "Dig" to a point winner when the ball crossed the net and fell to the floor for a Bulldog point. A few moments later Cubbage finished off the night with her 20TH kill of the match with this one coming from the back row. Turner and Cubbage simply looked like two young ladies that have been playing VB side by side for a long, long time. The ability of Turner to place the ball in perfect position for Cubbage in games 2,3 & 4 was fun to watch!

Linda was court side with me and was quick to point out how smart of a match that Junior Megan Hilliard played for the Bulldogs. Hilliard did a tremendous job of mixing up her kills with an equal share of power strokes and placed shots.
NOTE - BOSOX hung a 4 spot on T-Bay in the bottom of the 7TH and now trail just 7-4

NOTE 2- Jimmy Buffett has taken the stage out in San Diego, California for his "We're Still Here Tour". Sirius Radio hard at work!

Luray improves to 7-1 (15-3 overall) in the Shenandoah District and can now look forward to a big match next week down in Fishersville versus Wilson-Memorial. Tuesday night down in the Green Hornets gym !
Our friend Bill Meade (Page News & Courier) was in the gym covering the match and you can check out his story next Wednesday morning when the latest edition comes out. Bill was able to visit with both Katie & Amber and the story should be a good read.

11:37 P.M. - BoSox just posted 2 more runs in the bottom of the 8TH inning and now trail just 7-6 after J.D Drew homered...

11:50 P.M. - Co Co Crisp just singled in the tying run at the score is now 7-7 heading into the 9TH inning.

Trying to put together some standings for the Shenandoah District Volleyball- Stonewall Jackson has their site current until tonight's match versus Buffalo Gap. The Generals are 4-3 & 8-9 overall. The remaining games are:
10/16- Home with Buffalo Gap
10/21- @ Page County
10/23-Home with Wilson Memorial

Luray is now 7-1 / 15-3... Games remaining for Bulldogs - 10/21 @ Wilson & 10/23 @ Buffalo Gap

Page County (1-5, 5-11) heading into tonight:
10/16- H vs. Wilson
10/20- H vs. Buffalo Gap
10/21- H vs. Stonewall
10/23- A @ Riverheads

12:18 A.M.- Are you kidding me ? J.D Drew just singled in Kevin Youklis from second base and
the Red Sox just completed one of the most amazing Post Season comebacks in recent history!

Down to seven (7) outs and trailing 7-0, Boston scores 8 straight to win the game 8-7. The series will now return to Tampa Bay for Game 6 in a couple of days!

Apologies to Generals Sign Guy Mike - My bad for not posting our pics last week... Week #8

I met a large number of people this summer while running up and down the Valley and I would have to say that G-S-G Mike is near the top of list of the folks that I spent some time with. You have to love the loyalty that Mike has for his Generals, Redskins, UVA Cavs and the Atlanta Falcons.

When Bill Meade (PN & C) invited me to pick the football games with his group this year it gave me a way to keep in touch with Mike during the Valley off-season. I throw the picks out there in case anyone wants to play a long with us and Mike would always sent his back in. I got behind last week and forgot to add the games and I will now say - Sorry, Mike...

Big news from the PN & C- for the 1ST time in the 7 weeks this year I head into the week sitting at the top of the mountain! Two weeks running of going 4-0 on the High School games has allowed me to make up some of the lost ground...

The games slated for Week # 8 are as follows :
High School :

Luray Bulldogs @ Page County Panthers
Buffalo Gap Bison@ Wilson Memorial Green - Hornets (Our ESPN broadcast this week!)
Riverheads Gladiators@ Stonewall Jackson Generals
Rockbridge County @ Turner Ashby Knights

UNC- Chapel Hill Tar Heels @ UVA Cavilers
Virginia Tech Hokies @ Boston College Eagles
Missouri Tigers @ Texas Longhorns
Richmond Spiders @ U-Mass Minuteman

Cleveland Browns @ Washington Redskins
Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots (Monday)
Indianapolis Colts @ Green Bay Packers
New Orleans Saints @ Carlolina Panthers

Volleyball Updates : From Bradley University, Bridgewater College, Va. Tech, Strasburg & Luray High School

Courtesy of Bradley U.
LURAY - Just made it back from Bridgewater College where the Lady Eagles finally returned home after a lengthy road trip. BC did go 4-0 down in Danville this past week end while playing in the Averett Invitational.

The ladies were back in Niniger Hall to face the top team in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference as the Yellow Jackets of Randolph-Macon made it to town. R-MC brought a 16-5 overall mark (6-0 ODAC) into the match and BC came in at 17-5 (4-3 ODAC). Bridgewater was considerably short handed for the match with three starters out due to illness.

Setter Tricia Davis, mid-hitter Mandy Hill and outside hitter Brittney Wittmer were all absent from the gym at the start of play. The one good sign for the Lady Eagles was for the first time this season I noticed Blair Wampler (James Wood) on the bench without her crutches!

R-MC opened Game 1 on a tear, pushing its lead out to 9-2 before BC found a grove. The lead was down to 14-9 when the home team went on an impressive 7-1 run of their own to take a 16-15 lead. Ashliegh Foor finished the run with a service winner but the visitors answered with 6 straight points to put the opener out of reach. R-MC took game 1 by a final score of 25-18 behind the kills of Alix Macrae and Kendra Smith.

R-MC trailed just once in the second game at 2-1 as they rolled to a 25-13 victory to make it 2-0 for the match. Playing with four hitters standing 6'0 or taller it was easy to understand the Yellow Jackets 6-0 start in Conference Play but it was 5'9 Mallory James that lead the attack in game 2.

James scored four kills in a seven point stretch the lead R-MC to the 12 point victory. Trailing 2-0 with half of your starting line up not in uniform, it would of been an easy time to mail in an effort for game 3. The Lady Eagles did just the opposite by playing their best game of the match in the finale. Katie Baker (Strasburg) picked up 4 of her 7 kills in the 3RD game and Candice Guy (Wilson Memorial) added 3 kills to keep BC in the game.

Bridgewater took the lead at 6-5, 8-6, 11-10 and for the final time at 16-15 on a kill from Foor but Smith answered for R-MC each time. Baker pulled BC to within 20-19 with her final kill but two big blocks from Smith allowed the Yellow Jackets to take Game 3 by a score of 25-21.

BC returns to action on Saturday with a pair of matches down at Sweet Briar College (Just North of Lynchburg). They will face Sweet Briar in an ODAC match at 11:00 A.M. and then play a non-conference match versus Mary Baldwin in the same gym at 1:00 P.M.

* There was a nice crowd at Niniger Hall to welcome the Lady Eagles home for the 1ST time in 18 days. BC will be back at home on 10/22 and 10/30 and will play in the ODAC tourney down at Hollins on 11/7 & 11/8.


Strasburg made it 13 straight Tuesday night at home with a 3-0 sweep over Madison County. The victory over the Mountaineers moves the Rams up to 7-0 in the Bull Run District and 15-2 overall. You can check out the gamer on the match over at . Strasburg plays its final road match of the regular season Thursday night (10/16) at George Mason High School. After the match with the Mustangs, Strasburg returns to 250 Rams Drive to close out their Bull Run Schedule with a pair of matches, including one versus Rapp.


News from Blacksburg (Va. Tech ) - The Va Tech Women's Club Volleyball team is in the process of updating their site. The rosters are now up and you can see where Kaitlin Smoot (Strasburg) is one of the 12 young ladies to make the Orange Team for 2008-2009.

Next week-end is the dates (Sat-10/25 & Sun 10/26) for the home tournament that will include 30+ teams from around the country. We will include more tourney info as soon as it is available.

Congrats to Kaitlin !

Luray's Volleyball team bounced back from a disappointing 3-0 loss last week at Stonewall Jackson with a 3-0 sweep of Page County at home. Bill Meade's story has the Lady Bulldogs at 14-3 overall and 6-1 in the Shenandoah District. Head Coach Julie Rothgeb and her team is in a two team race with Wilson Memorial for the top spot in the district.

Luray's JV squad improved to 14-3 with their victory over Page. Luray hosts Riverheads on Thursday night and Wilson is at Page County. The final Luray-Wilson match is set for Tuesday night 10/21 @ Wilson Memorial.


The Bradley University Volleyball team is hosting a Dig for the Cure Event on October 23RD . The Lady Braves will be hosting their I-74 rival Illinois State. The team will cap off a month long fund raiser with the match and you can learn more by checking out or . The team photo above is Courtesy of Bradley University. I hope this will start a trend for fund raising in the battle against Breast Cancer.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

11:38 P.M. - Phils eliminate Dodgers in 5 games - Now Head to World Series/ Maddux heads home

LOS ANGLES - Philadelphia just eliminated Los Angles by a final score of 5-1 while I was typing the Bridgewater Volleyball story. While I happy for both John Leonard (All Things Valley League) and Damon Dillman (TV-3 in H'Burg) as the pair are long time Phils fans, I am a bit sadden that Greg Maddux has pitched for the final time in the 2008 campaign.

Tonight was a typical night in a very odd season for MY BASEBALL HERO. Maddux pitched just 1 scoreless inning against the Cubs (9TH inning of Game #1) and just one inning before tonight against the Phils. Maddux came in tonight with L.A down 3-0 in the top of the fourth inning.

Maddux retired the side in the fourth inning and picked up 2 strike outs in doing it. Now the 1ST one was the opposing pitcher but the second one was Jimmy Rollins who had homered to start the game.

Now the fifth inning was pretty interesting for Maddux and LA. Werth singled thru the left side but was retired on a fielders choice off the bat of Chase Utley. Ryan Howard singled to right to put runners on 1ST and 2ND and had Maddux looking for a double play ground ball. Three ground balls and three errors later (All by the same nameless Dodger), the Phils had added a pair of UN-Earned runs off Maddux to make the lead 5-0.

Maddux will finish with a line of 2.0 IP/2 hits / 2 runs / 0 Earned Runs / 1 walk / 3 K's and will complete the post season with an ERA of 0.00 for his 4 innings of work. I know that my guy isn't the same dominant pitcher that ruled the 1990's but how do you play 8 playoff games and have him pitch just 4.0 innings?

It was easy for me to pull against Joe Torre when he managed for the Evil Empire but this year I found myself pulling for him because of the late season trade that took Maddux from San Diego to Los Angles. But now I can say I hope that Greg jumps back on the I-5 Expressway and heads back down to Bud Black and the San Diego Padres for the 2009 season.

I do want to add one final note on the 4-1 series victory for the Phils-

Manny Ramirez went 2 for 3 with a Home Run in the game tonight and finished with a batting average of .533 and Loney ended at .438.

Congrats Phils!

One final look at the All Time Wins List:

1. Cy Young....................511
2.Walter Johnson..........417
T3. Grover Alexander..373
T3.Christy Mathewson.373

5. Pud Galvin................364
6.Warren Spahn...........363
7.Kid Nichols.................361
8.Greg Maddux...........355

If Maddux comes back and Wins 10 games in 2009 he will move up to #5 All Time !

Thanks Greg - For another Classy Year despite a number of things not going your way!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

4 Posts on an Evening with the Rebel Family

NEW MARKET- I hope you enjoy the 4 different looks at Monday night at Rebel Park. Lucas Jones is the new Head Coach of the Rebels and we were able to share in the big moment!

A Look inside the baseball journey for Mr. Lucas Jones

NEW MARKET - It is time to mix in some numbers for the more serious media outlets that will report on the new skipper of the New Market Rebels. As I mentioned to Lucas last night during our conversation, I tend to want to focus on the journey but I do know that there are people who are just in need of the facts so let us take a look at the path of Jones.
Photo is curtosey of Randolph-Macon College.

Full Name - Lucas Edwin Jones
Age - 26
Hometown - Lynchburg, Virginia
High School- Heritage High School (Class of 2001)
Played 3 years of Varsity baseball for the Pioneers in the Seminole District.
Lucas played Short Stop all three seasons at Heritage.
1ST College stop - Lenoir- Rhyne University Bears (Hickory, N.C)
*Played 2 seasons for the Bears- medical red shirt as Freshman
*Played Short Stop and 2ND Base
2ND College Stop - Lynchburg College (Lynchburg, Va.- Old Dominion Athletic Conference)

* Played both 1ST Base & 3RD Base for the Hornets during his 3 seasons
* Hit .426 during his career at LC
* Played in all 121 games during his 3 seasons at LC
* In 2005 Jones earned the ODAC, State and Regional Player of the Year Awards
* Graduated in May 2005 with a 3.76 GPA
* Named both 1ST team All-American and Academic All-American
3RD College Stop - Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, Va.)
* Earned his Masters degree in 2007 (4.0 GPA)
* Served as a volunteer assistant coach for the Rams under Paul Keyes
* Team captured CAA crown and earned birth in NCAA play
*Spent summer of 2007 with the Winchester Royals
Fall of 2007 - Replaced Evan Brannon on the staff of the Randolph-Macon College baseball team.
Yellow Jackets captured first ODAC crown since in 1987 and played in D-III NCAA tourney for 1ST time since 1977.

Fun Notes :

Favorite Baseball Player : Mike Piazza
Favorite Baseball Team : Chicago Cubs (From watching their games on WGN)

The word that came up more than once during our talk was Passionate and the formula used by Lou Holtz (Trust, Love and Commitment)...

Once again it would appear that Bruce Alger has landed a rising star in the baseball world to come to the town of New Market in hopes of having his Rebels return to the top of the VBL- both on and off the diamond.

Bruce - Thanks for the invite
Lucas- Thanks for your time
Best of Luck to Both of You!
Note : If there is anyone out there who would like more info on the hiring - Please let me know.

60 Quality Minutes Inside the New Market Baseball Family: Rebels ink 2009 Skipper- Mr. Lucas Jones

NEW MARKET - Rebels General Manager Bruce Alger hosted a small gathering Monday night at Rebel Park to introduce Randolph-Macon's Lucas Jones to the New Market family. Alger had been working to replace 2008 skipper Nolan Neiman for three weeks now after finding out that Nolan's new position as assistant Head Coach at Florida Gulf Coast University would not allow Neiman to return to the Rebels.

The 7:30 P.M. signing ceremony made it official as Jones inked his new contract and met a number of the people that play a big part of making New Market on of the Valley Baseball League's model organizations. The guest list included the Alger family, Vice President Jim Weissenborn , board members Dave Beaver and Jay Hafner.

Mr. & Mrs. Mo Weber (The Legend of the Valley), Katie Getz, Abigale Hansberger and the Barb family also joined in to welcome Jones into the fold as did the Carter family. Rebecca has already posted some pictures from the evening, including the Welcome message on the scoreboard that lit up the beautiful fall sky at the ballpark.

Bringing Jones into the fold to lead the Rebels next summer continues the recent trend of hiring for the New Market club. Starting with Blaine Brown back in 2004, Alger has always looked for the perfect balance between baseball knowledge and character in choosing his Field General. After Brown moved up at Maryland-College Park, Alger looked inside the extended Rebel family for 2007 Manager Evan Brannon.

Brannon was the assistant baseball coach at Randolph-Macon back in 2007, working with Head Coach Ray Hedrick. Hedrick led the Rebels from 2001 to 2003 and remains a big part of the New Market organization. This will be the second time that the assistant coach for Hedrick's Yellow Jackets will be leading the way for the Rebels.

Brannon was unable to return for the 2008 season after accepting a position with the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Evan is the area scouting supervisor with the Rays down in the Tampa-St.Pete area but Alger didn't have to look far to find Nolan Neiman for the 2008 campaign.

Neiman was on the staff with Brown back in 2006 with the Rebels ran away from the VBL during the regular season. Bringing Nolan back to lead the Rebels last season was a natural move for Alger and company. A up and coming baseball mind that understands the Rebel way of conducting business both on and off the field. Neiman made the move from D-III DeSales University up to D-I FGCU and that promotion opened the door for Jones to take over the Rebels for 2009.

Jones spent the summer of 2007 working in the Valley Baseball League as a member of the coaching staff of the Winchester Royals. Spending a season as the assistant coach for skipper John Lowery offered Jones another opportunity to absorb baseball knowledge from one of the most respected team leaders in the VBL.

Now that Jones has been introduced to the New Market family, he will team up with Alger to search out the remainder of players needed to fill out the Rebel roster for next summer.

"We will be looking at a number of things as we search out our ball players," Jones said. "We want to know how they are as people and beyond everything else, their ability to listen. It is about more than talent, it is about buying into our overall goals."

I will have plenty more about Jones in a seperate press release but first I wanted to retrace the steps that brought this amazing young man to the Community of New Market.

Lucas- Welcome to the Family !

Monday, October 13, 2008

Around the Rebel Office:

While we were hanging out with Bruce, Mo, Lucas and the gang, I had the opportunity to take a few snapshots of the office...

Meeting the Man: Lucas Jones

Our night meeting the new Head Coach for the New Market Rebels! Story and information to follow!

Once you take the pen, there's no going back.

The smile of a man who is excited about what he's doing!

I love that it looks like Bruce is critiquing his signature in this shot. Ha.
"Well I missed the day where we went over the cursive S."

First shot post-signature. Certainly going to be the first of many pictures to follow of the Rebels' dream team.

The myth. The man. The legend. Mo Weber.

A close-up shot of Mr. Jones.

The whole Rebel family was there to partake in the festivities. Everyone had a good time talking and relaxing. Valley League Baseball doesn't end when the championship is over - these family ties are year-round!

Classic CB. Nice face!

Jay is one of the nicest men you'll meet. (The young lady in front of him isn't too bad, either.)

"She told me she would be really upset if you didn't get a good shot of her before she left."
"I love you, Jerry."
"Yeah that's what she says in front of all of you..."

Getting to know Mr. Jones a little better once the rowdy crowd died down.

At the end of the night, this Lynchburg College grad got to see his name up in lights at Rebel Park...

Breaking News from John Leonard at All Things Valley League

Just finished reading a nice story over at John's sight about the VBL. Head over and take a look at .