Key conference matchups a part of local sports week

Warren County third baseman Joseph Sorge fields a throw as William Monroe's R.J. Payne slides into third base. The play involved an infield fly ball which Warren allowed to drop. The runner at third advanced safely and the batter was ruled out. Rich Cooley/Daily

Several local high school sports teams will continue their drives deeper into conference play this week, meaning some key late-season matchups will take place on the baseball diamond that could impact playoff seedings.

One such game will happen Tuesday as Sherando hits the road to take on rival Millbrook in a head-to-head showdown of two of the top teams in Conference 21 West. Sherando (12-4), coming off a conference win at Woodgrove last Friday, has already beaten the Pioneers once this season, although Tuesday’s rematch will serve as the one that counts toward the conference tournament standings.

Skyline (9-3), which halted a two-game losing streak with a win over Sherando last week, will play two Conference 28 games on the road this week, including today’s game at Manassas Park and Friday’s at Brentsville. The Hawks also travel to Handley on Wednesday.

Central (5-10) also plays twice against conference competition this week, giving the Falcons a chance to strengthen their positioning in the Conference 35 race. The Falcons host Clarke County on Tuesday before traveling to George Mason on Thursday.

Warren County (9-3), which saw its six-game winning streak come to an end last Friday, won’t play any Conference 28 games this week but does get a pair of tough Bull Run District games at Strasburg on Tuesday and at home against Madison County on Thursday.

Strasburg (9-5), which is 4-4 over its last eight games, also hosts William Monroe on Saturday night as part of its two-game week.

Stonewall Jackson (6-7), which has lost four straight, will try to get back on track with Shenandoah District games at Wilson Memorial on Tuesday, at home against Stuarts Draft on Wednesday and at East Rockingham on Friday.

Softball

Skyline (10-3) enters the week ranked second in Conference 28 and has a chance to strengthen that positioning with a slate identical to the Hawks’ baseball team aside from today’s game at Manassas Park being a doubleheader instead of a single game. The Hawks will have a chance to avenge one of their three losses of the season with Friday’s rematch against Brentsville, another team challenging for the top spot in the conference.

Warren County, which dropped to 5-8 after losing for the fourth time in five games last Friday, has a chance to build some momentum with today’s home game against George Mason and Tuesday’s game at Strasburg before squaring off with Group 2A powerhouse Madison County on the road Thursday.

Wildcats head coach Justin Stock, whose banged-up team was down to just 11 healthy players last week, said the message to his players after last Friday’s loss to William Monroe was “most of all, get healthy.”

“Next week we play Mason, who’s winless on the season. Strasburg generally hits the ball well but we hit the ball off them the first time,” Stock said. “Hopefully we can kind of get back on a little streak here.”

Sherando (10-7), which plays two games in Conference 21 West play, travels to Harrisonburg on Wednesday before getting another shot at James Wood on Thursday. The Warriors fell to James Wood – which suffered its first loss of the season to Woodgrove over the weekend – at home 6-5 in their first meeting on April 13.

Central (8-7), which is 2-2 against Conference 35 competition this season, gets a chance to avenge an earlier loss to Clarke County in a rematch at home on Tuesday before traveling to George Mason on Thursday.

Strasburg (5-10) hosts William Monroe on Friday in addition to Tuesday’s home game against Warren County. Stonewall Jackson, still hunting its first win, plays district games at Wilson Memorial on Tuesday and East Rock on Friday.

Soccer

The Sherando-Millbrook rivalry will spill over onto the soccer field as well this week, as the teams will square off in boys and girls action on Tuesday. For Sherando’s boys (11-1), who have won 11 in a row, the road game against the Pioneers (8-3-2) – as well as Thursday’s road game at James Wood as part of a boys/girls doubleheader – gives the Warriors a chance to tighten its grip on the top spot in the Conference 21 West race.

Central’s boys and girls will take on Clarke County on Tuesday and George Mason on Thursday, with Thursday’s boys matchup being a key showdown in the Bull Run District/Conference 35 standings. Central’s boys (8-1-2) haven’t lost a match since their season opener at George Mason.

Strasburg and Warren County will meet in both boys and girls soccer on Tuesday in the week’s only local vs. local matchup.

Skyline’s boys and girls play Page County today and Handley on Wednesday. Stonewall’s boys travel to Buffalo Gap today, Wilson Memorial on Tuesday and East Rockingham on Thursday –  a boys/girls doubleheader, while the girls host Wilson on Tuesday.

Track and field

The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival’s weekend events leaves little in the way of track action this week, but Central, Stonewall and Strasburg will compete in the annual Shenandoah County meet at Central on Wednesday.

Stonewall will also host its home invitational, which will include Central, on Friday, while Skyline will travel to the Fauquier Invitational the same day.

Tennis

Central and Warren County meet in boys and girls tennis on Monday and Tuesday as part of a busy week for both schools. The Falcons’ boys and girls also play Broadway on Wednesday – the girls conclude a suspended match with Clarke County on Thursday –  while Warren County’s teams also take on Clarke County on Wednesday.

Sherando’s boys and girls play matches against Millbrook and James Wood, Skyline is scheduled for matches against Millbrook – boys only – and Handley and Stonewall’s girls will host Riverheads and Wilson Memorial.

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