Front Royal first-year manager Brad Neffendorf chose left-hander Jake Harper as his starting pitcher for the Cardinals' season opener against Aldie back on May 30 because he felt Harper was the guy who could set the tone for Cardinals in the 2014 Valley Baseball League season.
Luray jumped ahead by two runs after a half inning of play, then used a grand slam by Nick Rickles in the eighth to defeat Winchester 10-4 on Sunday in an emotional second game of their Valley League semifinal matchup.
WINCHESTER -- After swapping 8-4 wins over the last two days, Winchester and Harrisonburg squared off for a trip to the semifinals of the Valley League playoffs. Regardless of the results, however, it was the last game for Winchester's Evan Cox and Cory Spangenberg, who will be heading home today.
NEW MARKET -- After an up and down season, New Market saw its season prolonged for two hours Wednesday night only to come to a close quickly once play began in the second game of their Valley Baseball League first-round playoff series against the regular season champion Haymarket Senators.
FRONT ROYAL -- The Cardinals opened the Valley Baseball League postseason Tuesday night, beginning a series at home against the Waynesboro Generals, and Front Royal played one of its best games of the season to start the postseason with a win, outlasting the Generals, 6-2.
WINCHESTER -- Nathan Minnich crushed three home runs, including a third-inning grand slam, to lift Winchester to a convincing 20-6 win over Woodstock Monday in each team's last regular season Valley League game.
NEW MARKET -- With eligibility for postseason play hanging in the balance, the New Market Rebels had to play first-place Haymarket in their next-to-last game of the regular season in a Sunday night Valley League contest.
FRONT ROYAL -- Cory Spangenburg has been able to spray hits throughout the season in the Valley Baseball League. In fact, the Winchester shortstop entered Sunday night's key late-season matchup with rival Front Royal with a league-best .400 batting average.
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.
NEW MARKET -- The Haymarket Senators rolled into Rebel Stadium and took the field by storm, connecting for 15 hits against eight different New Market pitchers as they cruised comfortably to a 13-4 victory Friday night.
FRONT ROYAL -- Blake Ford had confidence that he could come out with a better pitching start than last time, and the tall right-hander had just as much trust that his defense would make plays behind him.
WOODSTOCK -- The Front Royal Cardinals confirmed their turnaround from a seven-game losing streak with their second win in row, riding a five-run sixth inning to top the host Woodstock River Bandits, 6-3, in Wednesday night Valley League action.