Rivalry matchup with Hawks anchors full sports week for Wildcats

Skyline pitcher Tamara Grayson fires a pitch during a game against Brentsville on March 18 at Skyline High School. The Hawks play rival Warren County in a key Conference 28 matchup Wednesday night. Rich Cooley/Daily

With just one game each in the high school spring season’s first two weeks, it’s been a slow go for Warren County’s baseball and softball teams. Things figure to pick up this week for the Wildcats.

Warren County’s baseball and softball teams are each scheduled to play three games over the next five days, including two conference/district contests, highlighted by a midweek rivalry matchup with cross-town rival Skyline.

“It’s been kind of frustrating, just the way the schedule worked out,” said Wildcats softball coach Justin Stock, who added that he tried to move some things around to get his team into more games last week, but to no avail. “… Hopefully if the weather cooperates it’ll be nice to get a little bit of a groove. It’s just been getting a little monotonous here recently.”

The Wildcats will host Handley in both baseball and softball on today before taking on Skyline on Wednesday. Warren County will close the week with home baseball/softball games against Bull Run District foe George Mason on Friday.

Skyline’s softball team (2-2), the away team in Wednesday’s Conference 28 matchup, has won five of the last six meetings with Warren County and is coming off a 2-1 win over William Monroe early last week.

“We watched Skyline play Brentsville (on March 18) and they’ve played a tough schedule so far and have done very well, so I think it should be a tight matchup,” said Stock, whose team was a 6-2 winner over James Wood last week. “I think they’re pretty good and we’re both kind of battling for one of the top spots in the conference, so very important for both teams.”

Skyline’s baseball team (1-3), in the midst of a three-game losing streak, will be looking to get back on track in Wednesday’s game against the Wildcats (1-0) at Bing Crosby Stadium. The Hawks (who also travel to James Wood in baseball and softball on Friday) fell to 0-2 in conference play with a 5-3 loss at William Monroe last Tuesday but head coach Jay Barnes said his team showed improvement.

“I think we’re trying to go out and play better defense than we have. We definitely made a step towards that in the Monroe game,” Barnes said. “Our defense improved a lot last week and I think during this break in our games we’re kind of putting our focus on our approach at the plate and making sure that we’re going into our at-bats with the right mindset and trying to get the best out of each situation.”

The Wildcats and the Hawks will also meet on the soccer field Wednesday in what will be the season-openers for Warren County’s soccer teams. The boys play at Warren County, while the girls are at Skyline (3-1).

In keeping with the rivalry theme, Strasburg will host Shenandoah County rival Stonewall Jackson in baseball, softball and girls soccer on Tuesday, while the Generals host the Rams in boys soccer. Stonewall Jackson’s baseball team, coming off a walk-off win over Central and a victory over Rappahannock County, has won three straight games, including a 7-6 walk-off over Strasburg in their first meeting of the season. The Rams are 2-2 after wins over Moorefield (West Virginia) and Page County last week.

Strasburg’s softball team (2-2) blanked Stonewall, 14-0, in their first meeting earlier this season. The Generals (1-3) are coming off their first victory in four years, a 12-11 walk-off against Rappahannock County last Wednesday.

“This could help them get over that edge, which is what I’ve been waiting to do,” Stonewall softball coach Sue Rubenstein said after the win. “As head coach … we tried a different approach – basics, just going back to basics. And it seems to be working.”

Stonewall’s baseball and softball teams will also travel to Rappahannock County on Wednesday, and the Generals host Page County in boys/girls soccer (Thursday) and baseball/softball (Friday) in Shenandoah District action later this week. Strasburg will host Clarke County on Friday in baseball/softball/girls soccer Bull Run District matchups, while the boys soccer team will be on the road against the Eagles.

Sherando’s softball team (2-2), riding a two-game winning streak, plays four games this week with matchups against Martinsburg (today), Central (Tuesday), Clarke County (Thursday) and Turner Ashby (Saturday). The Warriors’ baseball team hosts Central on Tuesday and travels to Turner Ashby on Saturday.

Sherando beat Central (2-3) 8-4 in baseball earlier this season, while Central’s softball team (5-0) beat the Warriors 3-0.

Sherando’s boys soccer team will compete in a tournament at James Wood on Tuesday and Thursday, beginning with a match against rival Millbrook, before traveling to Turner Ashby on Saturday. The Warriors’ girls soccer team will participate in a tournament at Handley on Tuesday (vs. Millbrook) and Thursday and will host TA on Saturday.

In high school track, Strasburg will host the Ram Country Invitational on Saturday, which will also include Central, Skyline and Warren County.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com