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August 24, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Just weeks after Shenandoah football coach Paul Barnes declared that senior tailback Kevin Roberts would miss the 2009 season because of health issues, the Hornets have lost another key member of their backfield.

August 17, 2009

About five years ago, Ryan Rettberg took up golf at the encouragement of his future teammate's family. Rettberg, now a senior at Skyline, and Zack Henry, a junior, have been going at it on the links ever since. That competition is breeding excellence, as Rettberg and Henry form the area's most-feared duo at the top of the Hawks' lineup.

August 15, 2009

MIDDLETOWN -- It's difficult to tell whether the pair of soccer goals, chained together at their mouths, stand as a beacon for some distant soccer field at Lord Fairfax Community College, or if they were simply cast off to some vacant plot of land.

August 14, 2009

MIDDLETOWN -- The heat is stifling. The already dry August air, further incubated inside the walls of a two-door storage shed at Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown, nearly suffocates the lungs.

August 10, 2009

WINCHESTER -- The Valley Baseball League seasons of Winchester and New Market ended Friday, as both teams were on the wrong end of sweeps in the playoff semifinals.

August 8, 2009

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.

August 7, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Two nights ago, the Winchester Royals won a game that had many fans at Bridgeforth Field scratching their heads.

NEW MARKET -- Rested after two days off, Haymarket pitchers dominated New Market, 6-0, in Game 1 of the Valley Baseball League semifinals on Thursday.

August 5, 2009

WINCHESTER -- With the way the Winchester Royals have hit this season, they could be a threat no matter who they face in the Valley Baseball League playoffs.

NEW MARKET -- The Rebels gave up two unearned runs in the first three innings and were unable to overcome those mistakes, losing to the Luray Wranglers, 5-4, in Game 2 of the Valley Baseball League quarterfinals.

FRONT ROYAL -- In the back of his mind, Covington outfielder Lammar Guy still believed the Lumberjacks had one more rally left.

August 4, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- The fourth-seeded Woodstock River Bandits hosted the fifth-seeded Winchester Royals in the first round of the Valley Baseball League playoffs Monday night.

LURAY -- It took four double plays, three pitchers and 11 innings, but New Market finally overcame Luray, 5-4, on Monday in the quarterfinals of the Valley Baseball League playoffs.

August 3, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- Never count Covington out once it gets to the playoffs. The Lumberjacks pulled off a stunner in their opening-round Valley Baseball League series with top-seed Front Royal, scoring two unearned runs and getting a complete game performance from Daniel DeSimone to beat the Cardinals 2-1 on Sunday night.

August 1, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Making his third start since joining Front Royal's rotation, Matt Bowling had to be right on with his pitches Friday night at Winchester.

NEW MARKET -- The New Market Rebels were looking to end their four game losing streak and take charge of their own fate regarding a post-season playoff spot when they hosted the Harrisonburg Turks in Valley Baseball League action Friday night.

July 31, 2009

NEW MARKET -- Woodstock continued its hot streak Thursday night against New Market. The River Bandits stormed Rebel field using a four-run first inning to give another blow to the Rebels' playoff hopes in a 5-2 victory.

WINCHESTER -- Haymarket looked every bit like a team still battling for its postseason life Thursday night at Bridgeforth Field.

July 30, 2009

MAURERTOWN -- This won't be the first time 14-year-old Amber Hawkins has competed in the Hershey Track and Field North American Final; nor will it be the first time she expects herself to be one of the fastest distance runners at the meet.

WOODSTOCK -- Despite one bad inning, Woodstock dominated Luray on Wednesday, defeating the Wranglers 7-5 and securing the River Bandits a spot in the upcoming Valley Baseball League playoffs.

WINCHESTER -- Victimized by walk-offs the last two nights, the Winchester Royals used a little late-game magic of their own Wednesday night to edge North Division rival Fauquier 6-5 in the first game of a Valley Baseball League doubleheader at Bridgeforth Field.

GLEN ALLEN -- Front Royal Post 53 stayed alive at the American Legion State Baseball Tournament on Wednesday by defeating Glouchester Post 75, 13-6, in an elimination game. Post 53 lost to Norfolk Post 60 in the opening round on Tuesday, 2-0, to drop to...

July 29, 2009

NEW MARKET -- It came without warning. A fastball to the head of New Market outfielder Kenny Mickens only two pitches into the Rebels' game at Woodstock on Monday night.

FRONT ROYAL -- Steven Rivera was masterful again. The Winchester right-hander was doing everything right, baffling Front Royal's bats inning after inning, just like he did last week in a complete game shutout of the Valley Baseball League's top team.

FRONT ROYAL -- Skyline has filled its girls basketball head coaching position, but now has an even larger void to fill.

NEW MARKET -- The Luray Wranglers and New Market Rebels have traded first place in the Central Division in the last two days and they entered a bit of a time warp in their Valley Baseball League engagement Tuesday night.

WOODSTOCK -- The River Bandits wasted little time coming out of the gates Tuesday night when they hosted Harrisonburg.

July 28, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- The last time an American Legion baseball team from Front Royal celebrated a state championship was 1963.

WOODSTOCK -- The New Market Rebels and Woodstock River Bandits were a bit roughed up on the way to their Valley Baseball League contest Monday night and the tiredness showed.

WINCHESTER -- Millbrook athletic director Chris Garber wanted to find someone who would be just as dedicated to the wrestling program has Chris Haines had been.

As I swept the loose gravel from my bloody elbow and readjusted the jumbled chain on my 10-year old yellow Mongoose mountain bike, the old adage that something could be "as easy as riding a bike" no longer held any meaning to me.

July 27, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- Haymarket did not follow the scouting report on Front Royal slugger Dan Evatt very well.

July 25, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- If the Valley Baseball League's Central Division needs a nickname, Woodstock manager Donn Foltz has one ready.

July 24, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- Game after game, Jesse Henry itched to get back on the field. Though in uniform for the Front Royal Cardinals, Henry often watched from the top step of the dugout, having to rest a torn tendon in one of his wrists. Missing 15 of 16 games between June 16 and July 5 was a downer for Henry, largely because he was not getting to join in the fun with his summer teammates.

July 23, 2009

NEW MARKET -- Rebel Park, in the morning's waking hours, is one of the most serene sights New Market has to offer.

FRONT ROYAL -- The game before, Winchester manager John Lowery, Jr. had used a bevy of left-handers to handcuff Fauquier's batters.

NEW MARKET -- For the second time this week, New Market has had a Valley League game called because of weather.

July 22, 2009

WINCHESTER -- The way Winchester is playing these days, the Fauquier Gators may soon find themselves the answer to a tricky little trivia question.

FRONT ROYAL -- For the first time in two weeks, Steve McQuail hit a meaningful home run. Two of them, in fact.

It has its flaws and inaccuracies, but former Sherando football standout Ross Metheny is pleased with the video game version of himself.

July 20, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- Aaron Swenson sure looked like one of the Valley Baseball League's top pitchers through the early innings Sunday night.

WOODSTOCK -- The River Bandits' closer held a sticky brown glob on his throwing hand after Sunday night's 10-inning 8-7 win over Rockbridge in Valley Baseball League action.

July 17, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- The River Bandits rallied from an early deficit Thursday to begin the second half of the Valley League season with a victory.

WINCHESTER -- Right-handed pitcher Jorge Madsen took the mound to begin the fifth and gave the Winchester Royals five quality innings of relief to help lead the team to its seventh win in as many games.

July 15, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- Dan Evatt's home run hitting prowess in batting practice is a thing of legend around the Front Royal Cardinals dugout.

WINCHESTER -- The Winchester Royals' Valley Baseball League season has been one full of streaks -- four wins here, four losses there.

July 13, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- The first few innings went like clockwork at Central High School. First, Woodstock pitcher Ian Marshall retired the side for the North, then New Market's Eric Alessio returned the favor pitching for the South.

July 11, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- Find the barrel of the bat, hit the ball hard. The thought darts through Front Royal cleanup hitter Steve McQuail's head as he looms over home plate, watching as the pitcher twists into his windup.

NEW MARKET -- The Harrisonburg Turks and the New Market Rebels scored all their runs in the first two innings Friday night. The Turks scored twice in the first and held on for a 2-1 win in Valley Baseball League action.

WOODSTOCK -- After barely avoiding a late-inning collapse Thursday against New Market, Winchester put together nine solid innings of pitching on Friday to defeat Woodstock 4-1 on the road and extend its winning streak to four games in Valley Baseball League play.

July 10, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- Ross Speed had to keep pounding the strike zone. Par for the course during Thursday night's start against Waynesboro, Speed would start innings well for the Cardinals, let the Generals get runners on base, and work his way out of trouble.

WINCHESTER -- Jordan Steranka doubled to center in the bottom of the 10th scoring Steven Sabins from first to propel the Winchester Royals to a 10-inning 9-8 win over New Market on Thursday at Bridgeforth Field.

Player: Matt Blow Position: First base Team: Woodstock River Bandits Age: 21 Hometown: Richmond College: Virginia Tech Q: What is your favorite baseball memory? A: I'd have to say being at Virginia Tech. We had some pretty big games. We play in a real good...

July 9, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- Cory Tilton was in a good spot to be successful. Hitting eighth in Woodstock's batting order, Tilton knew he was going to get pitches to hit from Front Royal starting pitcher Shane Galloway, who twice found himself in jams during Wednesday night's Valley Baseball League game.

WINCHESTER -- After a five-game losing streak, the Winchester Royals have come storming back to take two Valley Baseball League games in a row. After beating Waynesboro by 10 runs Tuesday, the Royals dominated Covington on Wednesday 8-2 at Bridgeforth Field.

NEW MARKET -- The New Market Rebels brought a three-game winning streak to their Valley Baseball League game against the Haymarket Senators on Wednesday night.

July 8, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Mired in a season-long five-game losing streak, the Winchester Royals needed a spark Tuesday night.

FRONT ROYAL -- Greg Van Sickler will take this kind of run support any day of the week.

July 7, 2009

NEW MARKET -- New Market's 6-foot-9 starting pitcher Steve Owens allowed only one hit in six innings to help lead the Rebels to a 5-3 win over Harrisonburg on Monday night in Valley Baseball League action.

July 6, 2009

FRONT ROYAL --Last season the Front Royal Cardinals might have lost a game like this. Twice on Sunday night, Winchester came back to trail the Cardinals by a run. And each time, North Division leader Front Royal had an answer.

July 1, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- The Cardinals are finally beginning to come together as a team.

WOODSTOCK -- The River Bandits continued their most recent win streak against the visiting Harrisonburg Turks on Tuesday, scoring five runs in the seventh inning to blow the game open in a 6-1 victory.

June 30, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- The Woodstock River Bandits sent eight batters to the plate in three innings -- and scored three runs each time -- in a 9-4 win over Central Division rival New Market Rebels on Monday.

June 29, 2009

WINCHESTER -- The Winchester Royals faced a daunting challenge Sunday when Haymarket, the North Division leader, came to Bridgeforth Field for a pair of games. The Royals, who were in last place and 2 1/2 games behind the Senators, used the challenge to make up ground with a doubleheader sweep (3-2, 11-8).

June 19, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Front Royal ended its five-game losing streak in a big way Thursday night.

NEW MARKET -- After a slow start in Valley League play, New Market played superbly in every phase of the game Friday, dominating Luray, 8-1, at Rebel Park.

June 17, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- One swing of the bat accounted for all the scoring as two starting left-handed pitchers dueled for seven innings, each giving up five hits, and the Woodstock River Bandits took a 1-0 squeaker over the New Market Rebels on Tuesday night.

June 16, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Haymarket leadoff hitter Andrew Lawrence insists he harbors no ill will toward his former team.

FRONT ROYAL -- Just two pitches into the game, the tone was set. Dropping a bunt down the third-base side, Fauquier's Chad Oberacker forced Front Royal pitcher Shane Galloway to rush to field and make a wild throw to first, resulting in a three-base error.

NEW MARKET -- The Woodstock River Bandits three-game road winning streak was brought to an abrupt halt as the New Market Rebels broke open a tight game with four runs on five hits in the seventh, on the way to a convincing 7-2 win, in a Valley League contest.

June 15, 2009

WINCHESTER -- The Winchester Royals began the season with a trend that was anything but promising. Falling behind early, the Royals would come back to take the lead, then be unable to hold it in the late innings.

June 13, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- A team that arrives back home in the early-morning hours after an extra-innings loss is not supposed to come out and swing the bats well early in its next game.

WINCHESTER -- After trailing early, Winchester made a dramatic comeback in the late innings only to fall short, losing to Luray 11-9 in Valley League play Friday at Bridgeforth Field.

June 12, 2009

NEW MARKET -- The Fauquier Gators and the New Market Rebels played their first inter-divisional Valley Baseball League game Thursday night.

June 10, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- With the way he has been swinging the bat, any pitch up in Steve McQuail's wheelhouse is capable of leaving the park.

June 8, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Front Royal got a pair of solo homers from Jared Simon and another from Stephen McQuail, then fought off a late-inning rally to defeat Winchester, 4-3, on Sunday in the Royals' VBL home opener.

June 5, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- For first-year Valley League head coach Joe Scarano, this season could be the one in which the Front Royal Cardinals change their losing ways.

May 27, 2009

WINCHESTER -- A measure that keeps middle school sports alive in Frederick County may leave other jurisdictions on the sidelines.

May 26, 2009

GRAND CHUTE, Wis. -- Shenandoah University defied the odds all season. A trip to the Division 3 World Series was an unlikely accomplishment. So were the chances of coming back from a five-run deficit to start the bottom of the fifth inning.

May 23, 2009

APPLETON, Wis. -- "Ouch." That was the first word uttered by Farmingdale State College coach Keith Osik about the dominance of Shenandoah University in the Hornets' 12-2 opening-round win in the Division 3 World Series on Friday.

APPLETON, Wis. -- With Friday's 12-2 win against Farmingdale State College, the Shenandoah Hornets now have 31 games with double-digit hits. They also have scored 10 or more runs in 20 games this season.

May 22, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Don't blink or you could miss it. The handshake between Shenandoah outfielder Kevin Brashears and pitcher Matt Davis, a blur of one set of fingers slithering its way through the nooks and crannies of the other lasts only a moment, but it's a moment the two believe can provide the Hornets with a hint of magic for an entire inning.

Almost two years ago to the day, Jordan Zimmermann, now a rookie for the Washington Nationals, toed the rubber at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wis., pitching for Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the Division 3 World Series.

May 21, 2009

WINCHESTER -- It's a cold and breezy night in Salisbury, Md. The field lights at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium flicker off and on in the waning innings of Shenandoah's Division III regional championships quarterfinal game against York, and the threat of rain is ever-looming.

May 20, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Everything happens for a reason. Or so says Shenandoah University left fielder Jasen Eberz. There's a reason Eberz had two strikeouts and committed two errors in the Division 3 South Regional championship game against Johns Hopkins on Saturday; and there's a reason why, as sophomore at Shenandoah, Eberz dove awkwardly into first base in a scrimmage and nearly tore his shoulder out of it's socket.

May 18, 2009

SALISBURY, Md. -- Some of Shenandoah University's baseball players probably thought back to late January, when the USA-South preseason poll was released and had the Hornets picked to finish fifth in the seven-team league.

SALISBURY, Md. -- Last chances. It was for outfielder Jason Eberz, in his fifth season (counting a red-shirt) with the Shenandoah University baseball team. A likable teammate, Eberz, despite seeing limited time on the field before this season, has always been there to cheer the others on.

May 16, 2009

SALISBURY, Md. -- Kevin Anderson made probably his most crucial move to date in this record-breaking season for Shenandoah University's baseball team.

May 15, 2009

SALISBURY, Md. -- In the second round of the NCAA Division 3 Baseball Championships against the York Spartans on Thursday night, the Shenandoah Hornets picked up where they left off with their defeat of Johns Hopkins in the first round.

May 14, 2009

SALISBURY, Md. -- The stands in Arthur W. Perdue Stadium, speckled with the few fans who could make the trip from Baltimore, Md., and Winchester for the NCAA Division 3 Baseball Championships South Regional game between Johns Hopkins and Shenandoah, were silent as Blue Jays leadoff hitter James Teta rounded the bases with relative ease in the first inning.

Kelley Washington is coming home. Or at least "right around the corner" from it. Washington, a Stephens City native entering his seventh year in the NFL, will sign with the Baltimore Ravens on Friday pending a physical. Washington had contract offers from the Ravens and Washington Redskins, but chose Baltimore after participating in its mini-camp this past weekend.

May 13, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Shenandoah outfielder Scott Lambert and five others, also on the baseball team, huddled around a computer on Sunday night in the Winchester home they share.

May 12, 2009

WINCHESTER -- For the first time ever, the Shenandoah baseball team will be competing in the NCAA Division 3 Baseball Championships.

FRONT ROYAL -- The number of parking spaces for people visiting the Skyline Soccerplex has been scarce, and town and Warren County officials are working together to provide more options and eliminate street congestion during sporting events.

May 11, 2009

WINCHESTER -- The ring announcer took his time, building suspense before he read the score from the decisive third judge.

I've been restless lately. With all the rain driving me stir crazy and the anticipation of the weeks to come, sleep has taken a backseat. I'm always like a little kid at Christmas at this point in the season, but the delay to the start of the postseason is making me even more antsy this year.

May 9, 2009

FORT VALLEY -- His body doesn't forgive him like it used to. After a sparring session on Tuesday, Scotty Hosaflook parked his 45-year-old body on a wooden bench, rested his elbows on his knees and looked up at his trainer, Scott Farmer.
Audio slideshow: Blessed to be back in the ring

May 8, 2009

FORT VALLEY -- Nearly eight miles up Fort Valley Road sits a boxing gym. From the outside it looks modest, appearing sort of like a garage without a garage door. It's surrounded by uncut grass, with mammoth green mountains serving as the backdrop.

May 4, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Two former Washington Redskins, Mark Moseley and Joe Jacoby, marched down the aisle of the Moose Lodge in Winchester and took their seats at center stage to applause to begin the Apple Blossom Festival Sports Breakfast on Saturday.

WINCHESTER -- On a gloomy Saturday morning, 1,038 runners took off in the 28th running of the Apple Blossom 10K in a slight drizzle. As the weather cleared, Alene Reta dashed across the finish line, winning the race with a course-shattering time of 29.03.

May 2, 2009

WINCHESTER -- ESPN played it over and over and over. The highlight of L.A. Galaxy midfielder David Beckham's first Major League Soccer goal.

WINCHESTER -- Ward Burton has seen his sport change -- and in his mind not for the better.

WINCHESTER -- Mark Moseley and Joe Jacoby have a theory. A simple theory concerning former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs' second chapter in D.C. from 2004 to 2008, and why it wasn't nearly as successful as his Hall of Fame-worthy stint, which spanned from 1981 to 1993 and garnered three Super Bowl championships.

WINCHESTER -- Curtis Fleming was a teacher and counselor at Timber Ridge School in Winchester for 15 years, but he never dreamed that he would one day be invited to the Apple Blossom Festival as a celebrity. A television fishing show changed that.

April 30, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- Some golfers were decked out in rain gear from head to toe, while others toted an umbrella in one hand and their trusty club in the other as steady rain fell at Shenandoah Valley Golf Club on Wednesday.

April 29, 2009

NOKESVILLE -- Central hung tough with Brentsville this time around. The Falcons got a solid outing from pitcher Brea Hinegardner and another homer from Ashley Ebersole, but still fell to the Tigers, 4-1, on Tuesday in Northwestern District softball action. The two teams met last week and the Tigers came away with a 14-3 win.

April 27, 2009

WINCHESTER -- The host Colonels haven't won the Apple Blossom Invitational in so long that not one James Wood coach could remember how many years it's been.

April 25, 2009

Call it "May Madness." Next Sunday, May 3, the Shenandoah University baseball team will anxiously await its postseason fate. Just like the NCAA basketball tournament that comes along every March, the Division III baseball tournament, made up of 54 teams, will have a selection process to determine which teams get in.


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