NEW MARKET -- In the first of four scheduled engagements in the Valley League season's "Battle of I-81," the Woodstock River Bandits traveled 20 miles down the interstate to take on the New Market Rebels on Sunday night.
NEW MARKET -- Jordan Owen, the tying run, stood at third base, just 90 feet away. Joe Maloney, the potential game-winning run, was in the batter's box. Standing at the plate with his team trailing by one run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Maloney was New Market's last hope.
NEW MARKET -- Something had to give. Although New Market and Rockbridge both lamented identical one-win records heading into their Wednesday night game at Rebel Park, the teams were indeed polar opposites of each other.
WOODSTOCK -- Just before the ninth inning, Woodstock skipper Don Foltz went to starting pitcher Oscar Almeida in the dugout. The freshman from the University of New Mexico had already thrown eight scoreless innings, but had to get the green light from his coach before he could head back out to finish the game.
WINCHESTER -- In the top of the second inning during Sunday's Valley League contest between Front Royal and Winchester, the Cardinals had the bases loaded with no outs, and things looked grim for the Royals.
James Phillips can remember a time when the Valley Baseball League was nothing more than a Sunday sandlot activity. There were no expensive charter buses to ship the players from town to town, no lights to play games after dusk. Players would gather each weekend, most of them scrounged together from around the local town, and play baseball.
STRASBURG -- All aboard the Strasburg Express.
After sifting through suggestions from the Strasburg community the past several weeks, the town's newest addition to the Valley Baseball League will be nicknamed the Strasburg Express.
STRASBURG -- The Valley Baseball League announced Tuesday, when it released its 2010 schedule, that team owners have approved the purchase of the floundering Fauquier Gators franchise by Strasburg Community Baseball Inc.
NEW MARKET - Bruce Alger talks up the New Market Rebels for their stadium, Rebel Park, and a combination of the "mystique, mountains and moonlight" that brings people to Valley Baseball League games each summer.
WINCHESTER -- John Lowery has more than 40 years of experience coaching baseball. Whether serving as a coach in high school or as an assistant in the Valley League, he has spent four decades ensconced in the sport he loves to teach.
WINCHESTER -- For John Lowery Jr., his proudest moment as manager of the Winchester Royals wasn't when his team was on top of the Valley Baseball League. In fact, it was when his Royals weren't even playing .500 ball.
The Valley Baseball League finals are set.
Covington defeated Winchester and Haymarket took down New Market in the second game of both series on Friday night. Both series were sweeps, and the finals will be a showdown between the two lowest seeds in the eight-team tournament, which started earlier this week.