Rivalry matchups fill local sports week

Sherando's Tyler Tinsman fires a pitch during a game against Central earlier this season. The Warriors play Millbrook on Tuesday to kick off a local sports week filled with rivalry matchups. Rich Cooley/Daily

Consider the next five days an unofficial rivalry week for local high school sports teams.

Eighteen athletic contests are scheduled between rival schools, including head-to-head matchups between Central and Strasburg, and Skyline and Warren County in all sports later in the week.

Kicking off the rivalry theme on Tuesday will be 4:30 p.m. baseball/softball contests between Massanutten Military Academy and Randolph-Macon Academy. Later that same day, Sherando will take on Northwestern District/Conference 21 West rival Millbrook in baseball, softball, boys/girls soccer and boys/girls tennis.

Sherando’s baseball team (8-3) ended a six-game losing streak to the Pioneers (9-2) last season by handing them just their third loss and knocking them out of the conference tournament.

Sherando’s softball team won all three meetings with the Pioneers last season. The Warriors’ boys soccer team beat Millbrook 2-1 earlier this season, while Sherando’s girls – who haven’t played since April 8 – are looking to avenge a 1-0 loss to the Pioneers on March 29. Sherando’s girls tennis team, which has won three in a row and nine of their first 10 matches to start the season, owns a five-game winning streak over Millbrook.

The Warriors’ softball team also plays Clarke County today, while Sherando plays James Wood in all sports on Wednesday.

Cross-town rivals Skyline and Warren County will keep the rivalry train rolling on Thursday with head-to-head Conference 28 matchups in baseball, softball, soccer and tennis, all rematches of the schools’ first meeting of the season on March 30.

On the softball diamond, Skyline (4-5) trounced the Wildcats (5-5), 10-1, in that first matchup, while Warren County’s baseball team (8-2) topped the Hawks (5-5), 7-2. Skyline’s baseball team won four straight after its loss to the Wildcats before falling to Sherando last Thursday, while Warren County is on a three-game winning streak to start the week.

“(The Hawks are) playing very good ball right now,” Warren County baseball coach Michael Minch said. “… Halfway through the season, we’re proud of the guys, the way that we’re competing. But we know we’ve still got a lot of work to do. The kids know that and they know what we’re trying to do. I think we’re making strides in the right direction.”

The Wildcats swept Skyline in boys and girls soccer in their first meetings by a combined score of 8-1, while the two schools split a pair of 9-0 matches in boys and girls tennis. Warren County’s girls tennis team is 6-0 and will look to continue that streak in two matches this week.

Warren County has a full week with games also scheduled against Clarke County (Tuesday) and Rappahannock County (Friday) in baseball, softball and soccer.

Skyline baseball and softball plays Manassas Park today, while the Hawks take on Handley in all sports on Tuesday.

Friday will feature the Central-Strasburg rivalry in baseball, softball and soccer, the first matchups of the spring season between the two Conference 35/Bull Run District schools.

Heading into the week, Central’s baseball team (4-7) has lost six of its last eight games, while Strasburg (6-4) has lost two straight after winning six in a row. Strasburg owns a five-game winning streak over the Falcons dating back to 2013.

Central’s softball team is 10-1 entering the week, while Strasburg is 4-6 after losing two straight.

The girls soccer matchup between the Falcons and the Rams will feature an extra rivalry factor for Central coach Kim Dellinger, whose daughter, Grace, plays for Strasburg, which is still seeking its first win of the season.

“I keep telling her, I’m edging her on as the week goes on,” Dellinger said with a laugh. “And I’ve got girls that I’ve coached on that team as well, so I’m not unfamiliar with a lot of them. I think next week will be a very exciting game. It doesn’t matter what the records are whenever it comes to Strasburg and Central, it’s usually a good game every time.”

Central’s boys soccer team is 6-1 and holds a three-game winning streak over the Rams (3-4).

Central also takes on Madison County in conference/district matchups in baseball, softball and soccer on Tuesday.

Strasburg plays Rappahannock County in all sports on Tuesday, while the Rams’ baseball and softball teams also play Moorefield,  West Virginia,  on Wednesday.

Stonewall Jackson will play key games against Conference 44/Shenandoah District foes Riverheads (Tuesday) and Luray (Friday) in baseball, softball and soccer this week.

In high school track and field, the Apple Blossom Invitational will be held Saturday and will include Sherando, Skyline, Strasburg and Warren County.

In college baseball, Shenandoah University (26-8) wraps up its regular season with four games this week. The Hornets play their final home game of the season against Eastern Mennonite on Tuesday before traveling to Elizabethtown on Wednesday and Lynchburg for an ODAC doubleheader on Saturday.

JMU’s baseball team (15-20) travels to George Mason on Tuesday before traveling to the College of Charleston for a three-game weekend series.

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