WOODSTOCK -- A group of kids gathered just outside of the Woodstock dugout, baseballs in hand. They were waiting for River Bandits third baseman Mike Garza to get back from the post-game huddle in left field. They wanted him to sign their baseballs.
NEW MARKET -- As he stood up to dust himself off, his left foot anchored on first base, Kevin Brashears couldn't help but grin. The Winchester Royals center fielder realized he had just gotten away with a call from the umpire. After leading off the top of the first with a single, Brashears had dangled a bit too far off the bag, and appeared to have been tagged for the game's first out.
FRONT ROYAL -- With the way Front Royal had been hitting all game, the last thing Staunton probably expected in the eighth inning was to see the Cardinals drop a few bunts. And what a good time it was for Front Royal to catch the Braves off guard.
Outside Zach Cover's house, just a few feet from the grassy hill where the boy would run up and down, training chute and all, sits a batting tee and practice net. It's an ordinary batting tee, nestled in a small corner of the Cover's backyard. It's got its share of marks and scuffs, signs of a tool used to hit well over a thousand baseballs.
WOODSTOCK -- As a youngster, Brea Hinegardner went to a St. Louis Cardinals game and watched Albert Pujols during batting practice. Hinegardner not only watched, but studied his movements and his stance. And soon after, she decided to give his batting stance a try.
STEPHENS CITY -- Perhaps it was brashness that had Brittini Dennis, as a freshman, predicting her legacy at Sherando. A brashness that few freshman can properly exhibit; one that had Dennis, with no goals, with no assists, staring down school records.
STEPHENS CITY -- "Program" isn't the right word for it, but "family" fits perfectly.
When describing the Sherando girls soccer team, the word program exudes too many limitations. A soccer program begins in the spring, ends in the summer. It exists on the pitch, not off it. It measures its success with wins and losses.