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Monday, August 21, 2017

#TheWrap: Monday August 21

(Scroll down for the Tuesday edition of #amRVA, available weekdays at 5am!)

FIELD HOCKEY:
Maggie Walker GS 4, James River 1
Mills Godwin 3, Atlee 0
Midlothian 1, Hanover 0

BOYS VOLLEYBALL:
Douglas Freeman 3, Matoaca 1
Hermitage 3, Meadowbrook 0

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL:
J.R Tucker 3, Manchester 1
Hermitage 3, Meadowbrook 0

*****
TUESDAY LIVE TWEET COVERAGE:

GOLF:
Atlee, Hanover, Lee-Davis vs. Patrick Henry, 1pm on @hanoversports

BOYS VOLLEYBALL:
Patrick Henry at Midlothian, 7pm on @hanoversports and @cfieldsports

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL:
Mills Godwin at Hanover, 7pm on @TaylorRVASN

#amRVA: Tuesday August 22

Mills Godwin, Midlothian and Maggie Walker all win field hockey openers, plus the latest on former Hermitage football standout Curtis Grant, and a look ahead to tons of high school action Tuesday, all on #amRVA! Listen weekdays after 5am to our exclusive morning mini-podcast by CLICKING HERE!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

#amRVA Returns!

CLICK HERE to listen to the return of the morning mini-podcast of The RVA Sports Network!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Field Hockey: Monday Jamboree Schedule Set

The biggest gathering of field hockey teams in the Richmond area happens in the preseason as squads play controlled scrimmages at River City SportsPlex, hosted by Clover Hill High School.

This year, the Jamboree is Monday, August 14th. The schedule of scrimmages is below!

**********

FIELD #7:

9am: Midlothian vs. Mills Godwin
9:35am: Patrick Henry vs. Cosby
10:10am: Monacan vs. Matoaca
10:45am: Mills Godwin vs. Cosby
11:20am: Monacan vs. Glen Allen
11:55am: Powhatan vs. Thomas Dale
12:30pm: Trinity Episcopal vs. Midlothian
1:05pm: Monacan vs. Hopewell
1:40pm: Patrick Henry vs. Midlothian
2:15pm: Matoaca vs. Glen Allen

FIELD #8:

9am: Powhatan vs. Trinity Episcopal
9:35am: Maggie Walker GS vs. Clover Hill
10:10am: Glen Allen vs. Hopewell
10:45am: Thomas Dale vs. Henrico
11:20am: Maggie Walker GS vs. Trinity Episcopal
11:55am: Matoaca vs. Hopewell
12:30pm: Henrico vs. Clover Hill
1:05pm: Cosby vs. Maggie Walker GS
1:40pm: Thomas Dale vs. Mills Godwin
2:15pm: Powhatan vs. Henrico
2:50pm: Patrick Henry vs. Clover Hill

NOTE: Expect a full photo gallery from the Jamboree on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rvasportsnetwork !

Friday, August 4, 2017

Recruiting: Dinwiddie's Pope Chooses Ohio State

K'Vaughan Pope, the rising senior standout from Dinwiddie, raved about Ohio State and all but said they were his choice in an interview published online in July.

But afterwards, the team said no decision would be forthcoming for awhile. That period ended Friday evening when, before family, friends and teammates in the Dinwiddie High School auditorium, Pope left no doubt his future home.

Pope has committed to Ohio State of the Big Ten Conference, choosing the Buckeyes over Georgia. There were many schools who came calling for the two-way General, who is expected to be a linebacker for head coach Urban Meyer's Buckeyes. But, in the end, Ohio State ran away with the recruiting win.

The usual National Signing Day period for football begins on February 7th, but there is a new "early window" this season, from December 20 to 22. We will see if Pope puts pen to paper prior to Christmas. But first things first. The Generals, who finished 14-1 and fell just short in the 4A State Championship Game last December, begin their quest for their first state title since 2013 on August 25th hosting Denbigh.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

SPECIAL REPORT: The New VHSL Configuration

Here we go again.

Four years removed from the largest reclassification effort that the Virginia High School League (VHSL) had undertaken in over forty years, the league is making major adjustments to classifications, regions, the postseason structure and more.

As the 2017-18 high school season officially begins in full this week with all fall sports teams reporting for practices and tryouts, now is a good time to let you know what you can expect as a player and as a fan of your school, or alma mater, as sports get underway.

We will list the new Classes and Regions within the RVA Sports Network coverage area at the end of the article. First, let's review the major changes that are now in effect:

1) No Conferences, Just Regions: The four-year experiment of having "conferences" replace the formerly used "districts" for playoff purposes at the most "local" level have been eliminated. So no more Conference 3, Conference 11, etc. In theory, the conferences "replaced" the districts in the major reclassification effort of 2013, but, in reality, the districts never fully resolved, in that schools have continued to use districts for the basis of the bulk of all regular season sport schedules, and will continue to do so into the future. In case you are not familiar with your district, these are the four major districts that encompass most of the Metro Richmond area:

CAPITAL: Atlee, Armstrong, Hanover, Henrico, Highland Springs, Lee-Davis, Patrick Henry and Varina.
CENTRAL: Colonial Heights, Dinwiddie, Hopewell, Matoaca, Meadowbrook, Petersburg, Prince George, Thomas Dale
COLONIAL: Deep Run, Douglas Freeman, Glen Allen, Hermitage, J.R. Tucker, John Marshall, Mills Godwin, Thomas Jefferson, Maggie Walker Governors School
DOMINION: Clover Hill, Cosby, George Wythe, Huguenot, James River, L.C. Bird, Manchester, Midlothian, Monacan

When school begins September 5th, no classes in high school will have played sports under the old "Central Region" format; they've only known the Conference/Region/State model. Now, with conferences dissolved, sports will begin immediately at the region level, as football has done in the past.

2) Regions And Their Tournaments: Here's the murky part, currently. The VHSL has yet to officially announce all Region Tournament formats in most sports. For example, we still don't know how field hockey, volleyball, and competition cheer will work at the first level of the postseason (regionals) this fall. How many teams will qualify? Different regions have different numbers of teams (as you will see below).

We do know football doesn't change. The top eight teams will advance to the postseason in each region.

We do know that each classification now has four regions instead of two. When it comes to later rounds of the playoffs (State Quarterfinals and Semifinals), regions will be paired on a rotational basis. This year, the rotation places Region "A" and Region "B" together in one half of the bracket, Regions "C" and "D" in the other. As you'll see shortly, it means little change in football, but some changes elsewhere.

3) "Classes", Not "Groups", And "Goodbye 'A'": There are still six classifications, so six state champions crowned in various sports (save the few that aren't played statewide like boys volleyball and lacrosse). But they are no longer called "groups", so, "Group 6A", "Group 5A", etc, are dead.

The new names are "Class 6", "Class 5", "Class 4", "Class 3", "Class 2" and "Class 1". Each class has four regions named A, B, C and D respectively. So, for example, no more "5A South Region Champion", it will be the "Class 5, Region B Champion". These are simply semantics, but information everyone needs to know.

4) The Region Set Up: Below, you can find your team in their new region. The only school in Metropolitan Richmond that moved classification was Patrick Henry, going down from Class 5 to Class 4 (your Class is based on school enrollment, and they are updated every two years in odd-numbered years).

CLASS 6:

REGION A (12 Teams): Bayside, Frank Cox, First Colonial, Granby, Grassfield, Floyd Kellam, Landstown, Ocean Lakes, Oscar Smith, Tallwood, Western Branch, Woodside

REGION B (8 Teams): Clover Hill, Colonial Forge, Cosby, Thomas Dale, Franklin County, James River, Manchester, Riverbend

REGION C (18 Teams): Annandale, Charles Colgan, Fairfax, Forest Park, Freedom-PW, Gar-Field, Hayfield, CD Hylton, Lake Braddock, Mount Vernon, Robinson, South County, JEB Stuart, West Potomac, West Springfield, TC Williams, Woodbridge, WT Woodson

REGION D (17 Teams): Battlefield, Centreville, Chantilly, Herndon, Stonewall Jackson-PW, Langley, James Madison, George Marshall, McLean, Oakton, Osbourn, Osbourn Park, Patriot, South Lakes, Washington & Lee, Westfield, Yorktown

CLASS 5:

REGION A (15 Teams): Bethel, Gloucester, Green Run, Hampton, Hickory, Indian River, Kecoughtan, Kempsville, Maury, Menchville, Nansemond River, Norview, Princess Anne, Salem, Warwick

REGION B (15 Teams): Atlee, L.C. Bird, Deep Run, Douglas Freeman, Glen Allen, Mills Godwin, Henrico, Hermitage, Highland Springs, Lee-Davis, Matoaca, Meadowbrook, Prince George, J.R. Tucker, Varina

REGION C (13 Teams): Briar Woods, Broad Run, John Champe, Thomas Edison, Falls Church, Freedom-LC, Thomas Jefferson S&T, RE Lee-SP, Potomac Falls, Rock Ridge, Stone Bridge, Tuscarora, Wakefield

REGION D (12 Teams): Albemarle, Brooke Point, William Fleming, Halifax, Harrisonburg, Patrick Henry-Roanoke, Massaponax, Mountain View, North Stafford, Orange, Potomac, Stafford

CLASS 4:

REGION A (13 Teams): Churchland, Deep Creek, Denbigh, Grafton, Great Bridge, Heritage-Newport News, Jamestown, King's Fork, Lafayette, Lake Taylor, Smithfield, Warhill, Woodrow Wilson

REGION B (13 Teams): Caroline, Chancellor, Courtland, Dinwiddie, Eastern View, Hanover, Patrick Henry (Ashland), Huguenot, King George, Louisa, Midlothian, Monacan, Powhatan

REGION C (14 Teams): Dominion, Fauquier, John Handley, Heritage (Leesburg), Kettle Run, Liberty-Bealeton, Loudoun County, Loudoun Valley, Millbrook, Park View-ST, Riverside, Sherando, James Wood, Woodgrove

REGION D (12 Teams): Amherst, Bassett, Blacksburg, William Byrd, Carroll County, Charlottesville, EC Glass, Jefferson Forest, Liberty Christian, Pulaski, Salem, George Washington-Danville

CLASS 3:

REGION A (12 Teams): Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Lakeland, New Kent, IC Norcom, Park View-South Hill, Petersburg, Phoebus, Southampton, Tabb, Booker T Washington, York

REGION B (12 Teams): Armstrong, Brentsville District, Culpeper, Thomas Jefferson, Manassas Park, John Marshall, James Monroe, William Monroe, Skyline, Spotsylvania, Warren County, George Wythe

REGION C (13 Teams): Broadway, Brookville, Fluvanna, Fort Defiance, Heritage (Lynchburg), Liberty (Bedford), Monticello, Rockbridge County, Rustburg, Spotswood, Turner Ashby, Waynesboro, Western Albemarle

REGION D (11 Teams): Abingdon, Alleghany, Cave Spring, Christiansburg, Hidden Valley, Lord Botetourt, Magna Vista, Northside, Patrick County, Staunton River, Tunstall

CLASS 2:

REGION A (14 Teams): Amelia, Arcadia, Bluestone, Bruton, Brunswick, Goochland, Greensville, King William, Nandua, Nottoway, Poquoson, Prince Edward, Randolph-Henry, Maggie Walker GS

REGION B (12 Teams): Buffalo Gap, Central-Woodstock, Clarke County, East Rockingham, RE Lee-Staunton, Luray, Madison County, George Mason, Page County, Strasburg, Stuarts Draft, Wilson Memorial

REGION C (13 Teams): Appomattox, Buckingham, Chatham, Dan River, Floyd County, Fort Chiswell, Giles, Glenvar, Gretna, James River-Buchanan, Nelson County, Martinsville, Radford

REGION D (13 Teams): John Battle, Central-Wise, Gate City, Graham, Grayson, Lebanon, Lee, Marion, Richlands, Ridgeview, Tazewell, Union, Virginia

CLASS 1:

REGION A (17 Teams): Colonial Beach, Charles City, Chincoteague, Essex, Franklin, King & Queen, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Northampton, Northumberland, Rappahannock, Surry, Sussex, Washington & Lee, West Point, Windsor

REGION B (10 Teams): Altavista, Appomattox Regional GS, William Campbell, Carver College & Career Academy, Central-Lunenburg, Cumberland, Galileo, Stonewall Jackson (Q), Rappahannock County, Riverheads

REGION C (12 Teams): Auburn, Bath County, Bland County, Covington, Craig County, Eastern Montgomery, Galax, Highland County, Parry McCluer, Narrows, Rural Retreat, George Wythe (W)

REGION D (15 Teams): J.I. Burton, Castlewood, Chilhowie, Council, Eastside, Grundy, Patrick Henry Glade Spring, Holston, Honaker, Hurley, Northwood, Rye Cove, Twin Springs, Twin Valley, Thomas Walker

NOTES:

1) The VHSL is scheduled to launch a new website on August 1st. We are hoping that, at that time, playoff formats for all fall sports will be available and we can better help everyone understand what to expect later this fall sports season and beyond. Golf is the first sport to be affected.

2) The State Quarterfinal round, which has already returned to basketball, but has not been seen outside football in other sports since the Spring of 2013, will return in most sports. Thus, on state championship week, teams can expect a quarterfinal early in the week (by Tuesday), and, with a win, will advance to the usual neutral site for state semifinals and championship games.

Have questions? Send them to robwitham1@gmail.com and we'll do our best to answer them. The road to a trophy is different. Again.





Friday, July 14, 2017

Top 10 Moment/Game/Team Of 2016-17: #1: Highland Springs Is #AngieStrong In Football Repeat

After finally winning their first on the field state football championship in 2015, the target was squarely on the backs of the Highland Springs Springers entering 2016. L.C. Bird, Hermitage both loomed large, as usual, the Springers getting the best of the Panthers in their season opener.

A few weeks later, a scare for the Springers when quarterback Juwan Carter exited their game against Meadowbrook, and they suffered an 8-7 upset loss to the Monarchs. But Carter returned, and things returned to normal as Highland Springs dealt with Capital District play, getting big wins against Atlee, Hanover and Lee-Davis.

But as November, and the postseason, loomed, real life interrupted. One of the team's biggest supporters, not just in 2016, but for years, Angie Johnson, the mother of wide receiver Chris Thaxton, battled her final stages of cancer. Some team members had known Johnson for almost as many years as they could remember.

Angie, amazingly, rallied the strength and courage to attend the October 28th Senior Night against Patrick Henry, walking with Chris onto the field.

Springer Nation lost Johnson just two weeks later, November 12th, a day after their opening postseason win over Deep Run. The black and gold added purple to their uniform colors. An entire team lifted their teammate, strengthening each other in their grief and time of loss.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, after a cloudy, gloomy sky dominated Kreiter Stadium during warm-ups for their 5A South Region Semifinal showdown with L.C. Bird, just as the game began, the sun suddenly appeared, brilliantly bright for a chilly November day. Springer fans knew who made that happen.

A win over the Skyhawks, then a last-minute win in the state semifinal over Norview, 28-25, setting up a rematch with Stone Bridge, this time at Hampton University, for the 5A State Championship on December 10th. The 2015 matchup was an all-Highland Springs affair, a coronation for a team, a program, who had waited for so long.

The Bulldogs remembered, and the 2016 game was much, much different. The early lead this time went to Stone Bridge, 13-0, while the Springer offense sputtered before finally starting to strike, taking their first lead at 14-13 with 3:17 left in the third quarter on a Carter pass to Isaiah Winstead.

Stone Bridge took the lead at 29-28 with less than ninety seconds left. But a short kickoff was taken back to the Stone Bridge 34 by Billy Kemp. After a false start penalty, Carter runs for six yards, then finds Thaxton for 12 and a first down with the final minute underway.

Here's how our article at HenricoCountySports.net picked up the final moments (CLICK HERE to read it).

"Then, in a play Carter said after the contest was designed to go elsewhere, he saw an advantage.

'I saw they had one on one coverage with my man, and I knew if I put it up, he'd get it,' Carter said.

'He' was Winstead, who caught the jump ball at the three-yard line. It's first and goal with 30.5 seconds left. The time had come for a final appearance from the spirit of Angie Johnson.

On a day bathed in sunshine at Hampton University, Carter went back to pass, and found a second option, a streak of purple appeared in the middle of the end zone. It was Chris Thaxton. Carter threw a fastball, and Thaxton squeezed the football like he never had before. Touchdown Highland Springs with 26 seconds left.

Springer fans experienced cheers and tears in unison as the storybook ending unfolded. But there was one chapter left to be written. Stone Bridge began their final drive at their 40, but forced to do what they aren't comfortable doing: pass the football. It took over 31 1/2 minutes for the Springers to force Stone Bridge into a corner, but when they did the seized the opportunity.

After an intentional grounding call, a pass to midfield was easily intercepted by Billy Kemp. Sheer elation engulfed Springer Nation as Bulldog fans fell to the seats in disbelief. The Springers jumped, danced, even a backflip once the clock hit 0:00."

Angie's son, Chris, scores the winning touchdown, four weeks to the day she passed away. The Springers were champions again, and no one more deserving than Thaxton.

In the months since that Saturday in Hampton, the crowds have dispersed, the cheering faded, graduation has come and gone. But we sincerely hope, for the rest of Chris' life, his heart, on good days and on tough days, will be carried by not just the events of December 10, 2016, not just securing the catch of a lifetime, but in knowing all the love that will always be there for him, for his teammates.

A love that will forever be #AngieStrong.

CLICK HERE to see the championship-clinching touchdown as it was tweeted live on @henricosports from Hampton.







American Legion Baseball District Tournament Headquarters


FINAL REGULAR SEASON STANDINGS:

South Richmond Post 137:    12-2 (win tiebreaker over 175)
Mechanicsville Post 175:       12-2
West End Post 361:                  9-5
Lakeside Post 125:                   8-6
Powhatan Post 201:                 7-7
Colonial Heights Post 284B:   5-9
Midlothian Post 186:               2-12
Colonial Heights Post 284P:   1-13

DISTRICT 11 TOURNAMENT:

FIRST ROUND (Sunday July 16):

GAME 1: #1 South Richmond Post 137 d. #8 Colonial Heights Post 284P via forfeit
GAME 2: #5 Powhatan Post 201 5, #4 Lakeside Post 125 4
GAME 3: #2 Mechanicsville Post 175 10, #7 Midlothian Post 186 2
GAME 4: #6 Colonial Heights Post 284B 10, #3 West End Post 361 3

SECOND ROUND (Monday July 17 at Higher Seed):

GAME 5: #1 South Richmond Post 137 15, #5 Powhatan Post 201 5
GAME 6: #2 Mechanicsville Post 175 11, #6 Colonial Heights Post 284B 1
GAME 7: #4 Lakeside Post 125 d. #8 Colonial Heights Post 284P via forfeit
GAME 8: #3 West End Post 361 d. #7 Midlothian Post 186 via forfeit

THIRD ROUND (Tuesday July 18 at Higher Seed)

GAME 9:  #1 South Richmond Post 137 9, #2 Mechanicsville Post 175 2
GAME 10: #4 Lakeside Post 125 11, #6 Colonial Heights Post 284B 9
GAME 11: #5 Powhatan Post 201 9, #3 West End Post 361 5

SEMIFINAL ROUND (Wednesday July 19, Shepherd Stadium, Colonial Heights)

GAME 12: #4 Lakeside Post 125 13, #5 Powhatan Post 201 11

SEMIFINAL ROUND (Thursday July 20, Shepherd Stadium, Colonial Heights)

GAME 13: #4 Lakeside Post 125 9, #2 Mechanicsville Post 175 5

CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND (Friday July 21, Shepherd Stadium, Colonial Heights)

GAME 14: #1 South Richmond Post 137 12, #4 Lakeside Post 125 2

South Richmond Post 137 represents District 11 at the 2017 Virginia State Tournament beginning Tuesday in Winchester.





Thursday, July 13, 2017

Top 10 Teams: #2: Monacan Girls Basketball

Expected to win.
Expected to go unbeaten.
Expected to dominate every game.

Those are heady expectations for any team at any level. In the end, Monacan girls basketball earned two out of three expectations, but much more importantly, three state championships.

The Chiefs didn't set out to cruise to the Siegel Center. They participated in two major tournaments in December outside Richmond, played in the StatVa.com Classic, and were battle tested come playoff time.

That experience came in handy when they found themselves in an unexpected battle with King's Fork in the 4A State Championship, trailing by eleven after three periods. Scroll down below to read the story of how the Chiefs rallied to win in the final seconds.

It may be a very long time before we see a team this talented, and this successful, again. And, if we do, they can expect to be immediately compared to the Monacan Chiefs.

Top 10 Games: #2: Monacan 60, King's Fork 59

As we mentioned Wednesday in our #3 Moment of 2016-17, the 4A State Girls Basketball Championship was supposed to be a formality.

Driving towards what everyone thought would be an inevitable third straight state title, Monacan arrived at the Siegel Center already with a win over King's Fork in hand in regional play, 74-65. But most everyone forgot one important thing: with losing comes the ability to make adjustments in case you get that second chance. And that can be a dangerous thing.

So, when the scoreboard read King's Fork 43, Monacan 32 after the third quarter, Chief fans were in shock, and, from the actual play on the floor, there was little proof that a major comeback was imminent. But, a closer look beyond that gave Monacan fans all the hope they needed, and that was looking to the bench during the timeout and remembering, that's right, she's on our team.

Megan Walker is not the sole reason why Monacan has been so successful the past three seasons. Yes, as the #1 recruit in her class nationwide, she has grabbed the lion's share of attention. But it never fazed or changed her, as she always worked within the team framework. Decades from now, we'll look back at the roster that included Jaiden Morris, Jasmine Norman, Abby Oguich, Shalonda Wilkins, and Alex Parson, whose older sister Micaela helped start the Monacan drive to the top before being shocked, knocked early out of the 2014 playoffs.

Since then, the Chiefs had won two state titles, but a third was growing out of reach. Walker and her teammates did not lose hope, and, as a top player will do under such circumstances, Megan raised her game. Parson began the fourth with a three to cut the deficit to single digits. Back and forth the teams went, King's Fork showing no interest in letting the upset slip away.

Then came the final twenty seconds, when the Chiefs fed Walker in the paint, and she did what she does best, find the basket. Monacan finally took the lead at 60-59, but needed a defensive stop, and a little luck with the clock, to make the lead hold.

Norman did the defensive work, denying a would-be game winner. A battle for the loose ball knocked it out of bounds, and the horn sounded. Monacan began to celebrate, but the officials said otherwise. There were still three tenths of a second on the clock, enough time to try to tip an inbounds pass towards the basket for a miracle finish.

King's Fork inbounded the ball, and it went into the basket, and for a second, they thought the slipper fit. But officials waved off the basket, since the ball was caught ever so briefly before launched towards the hoop, and, by rule, with so little time left, there's no time to do that. The horn beat the ball, and Monacan survived, a script none of us saw coming earlier in the evening.

Monacan became the second Chesterfield County girls basketball team this decade to win three straight state titles, joining Cosby (2014-16), Walker and her senior teammates leaving a mark in Smoketree that will never be forgotten, and possibly never duplicated.

CLICK HERE to read our #3 Moment of The Year with video of Walker's game-winner.


Top 10 Moments: #2: #WeLoveArt

The RVA Sports Network lost a dear friend, and Deep Run High School lost one of its greatest supporters ever when Art Washburn passed away suddenly last February, a day after doing what he did best, watching his son compete in the Conference 11 Boys Basketball Tournament.

In his final message to me on Twitter after the Wildcats won their first round game Saturday, he was already trying to figure out how to handle an out of town trip the following week and still be able to get to the tournament semifinals that Wednesday.

In the immediate aftermath, the Deep Run family began to rally, making plans to honor Art and his contributions to the school, and in no time, other schools, usual rivals, came to their assistance, wanting to salute a man who could handle concessions, announce at soccer games, and, most importantly, be in those stands to support his sons.

#WeLoveArt became the social media rallying cry, and the following Wednesday at the Conference 11 Semifinals, a sea of white appeared, hundreds in t-shirts all in salute to Art, and in solidarity of support to his family.

Most of all, the sea of support swelled when Zack Washburn appeared on the court to play in the semifinals with his Wildcat teammates. It was, perhaps, Zack's finest hour, as people marveled at his ability to play, and play very, very well, under such circumstances.

But, in retrospect, it was no surprise, because Zack's parents prepared him for life and its challenges. And there's no doubt that the proudest person that evening was watching from a special seat in a special place.

Thank you Zack, for your courage on that night, and thank you to the Washburn family for sharing Art with us. He will never, ever be forgotten.

#WeLoveArt. Always.

--Rob Witham, RVA Sports Network







Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Top 10 Teams: #3: Atlee Softball

Big graduation losses left softball fans wondering, could the Atlee Raiders navigate the talented 5A waters and earn their third straight state title in 2017?

The answer was an emphatic yes.

With an historic season in the circle from senior Peyton St. George, Atlee allowed just single digit runs....for the year. No one scored more than one run in any game against them, their lone loss in nine innings to eventual 3A State Champion Warhill, 1-0.

At 24-1, the Raiders defeated Nansemond River, then, in the title game in a first ever all-Hanover County championship, used the same script as they used in a 1-0 win over Lee-Davis April 28th: a Peyton St. George solo home run and keeping Lee-Davis from striking late in the game, becoming the fourth team in Virginia High School League (VHSL) history to win three straight softball championships.

Congratulations to Atlee Softball, joining Monacan Girls Basketball and Cosby Girls Basketball this decade as girls' teams in the RVA to win three straight crowns in this decade!




Top 10 Games: #3: Hanover 2, Jamestown 1 (13 innings)

Both teams were 20-2, and Jamestown entered the 4A East Region Semifinal at defending champion Hanover on a twenty-game winning streak.

Jamestown took the lead at 1-0, the Hawks finding a way to scratch a run home in the fifth inning to tie the game at 1-1 and set up the narrative for the rest of the night. A long, tense, exciting night.

Having no clue his relief stint would be eight innings, Antonio Balducci entered in the top of the sixth, kept Jamestown off the scoreboard, even after they loaded the bases in the tenth inning, and kept the Hawks in the game until back to back 13th inning doubles by Brian Sisson and Will Lopez, Sisson accounting for both the tying run in the fifth and the winning run to send Hanover back to the State Tournament for the fifth consecutive year with a 2-1 victory.

CLICK HERE to read our account of the game from the pages of The Herald-Progress and watch the game's final play below!


video

Top 10 Moments: #3: Monacan's Final Stand

It was supposed to be a coronation, but King's Fork would have none of it, and, they led powerhouse Monacan late in the 4A State Girls Basketball Championship in March.

But King's Fork didn't have the will, determination, and talent, of the nation's top recruit, Megan Walker, who found a way to score the would-be winning basket. But that alone didn't end it. King's Fork got possession with :00.3 on the clock, just enough time, by rule, to tip a pass towards the basket. The inbounds pass was barely caught, the ball sent into the net, and, for a split second, it looked like, from King's Fork's view, they had slayed the two-time defending champion Chiefs.

But the officials waved off the basket per rule, and the Chiefs survived their toughest, and most surprising, test en route to their three-peat.

Walker and The Wave Off, our #3 Moment of the 2016-17 season!

CLICK HERE to see Walker's basket, and some amazing defense from Jasmine Norman which helped set up the final play, and, for a moment, delay the Monacan celebration.




Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Top 10 Teams: #4: L.C. Bird Boys Basketball

They are no longer the bridesmaids.

The L.C. Bird Skyhawks began the season atop our RVA Sports Network Top 10 Poll, tore through the regular season, only falling once, then went on a historic tournament run which included a mind-numbing buzzer-beater by Mario Haskett to stun Varina in the Conference 12 final, a double overtime classic against Albemarle in Hampton in the 5A State Tournament, before defeating Bethel for the second time to finally capture that long sought after state crown.

Haskett, Pinky Wiley, Cam Henry, and Jaylen Dillard helped lead a team that showcased sharp shooting ability, defensive prowess, speed, and power in transition to befuddle just about everybody, including eventual VISAA Division I champion Trinity Episcopal.

Head Coach Troy Manns will reload, and the Skyhawks will again be a factor in the area, and the state, come November and beyond in the new Class 5, Region B. But the 2016-17 Skyhawks will always be remembered as the team, after heartbreaking losses in past seasons to Henrico, then a championship game loss in 2016, finally vanquished their foes, and took home the trophy.

The press conference from the 5A State Championship is available on our YouTube Channel by CLICKING HERE!





Top 10 Games: #4: Atlee 1, Lee-Davis 0 (5A State Softball Championship)

The decade of the 2010's, when it comes to softball, has belonged to Hanover County.

No other jurisdiction can claim to have had a team in every state tournament each year save one, and, for the past three years running, two teams in the final four standing.

In 2015 and 2016, the county rivals (Atlee/Patrick Henry and Atlee/Lee-Davis) found themselves locked in the same side of the bracket, playing in the 5A State Semifinals. This season, both Atlee and Lee-Davis won their respective regions, placing them on opposite sides of the bracket. If each could win the semifinal June 9th, the teams would meet for a third and final time with everything on the line.

Atlee dispensed Nansemond River while Lee-Davis blasted Stone Bridge, setting up the dream matchup for the sport's biggest prize. Little did we know while gathering at Westfield High School near Dulles Airport that the final game would bare striking similarities to their latest meeting April 28th.

Peyton St. George hit an early solo home run, in her first at-bat, that Friday night, survived a seventh inning rally, and led Atlee to a 1-0 win over the Confederates. Fast forward to the title game.

Peyton St. George hit a solo home run in her second at-bat in the top of the fourth, then survived a crisis in the sixth inning where Lee-Davis had a huge opportunity to seize the lead with just three outs left for the Raiders.

The final score? Atlee 1, Lee-Davis 0. Lee-Davis finished with four losses on the season, three to Atlee, who only lost once, to eventual 3A champion Warhill, 1-0 ironically, in nine innings.

Hanover County and the RVA were the winners as the best softball teams earned their way to center stage, and, in the end, Atlee became only the fourth team in VHSL history to win three straight state softball crowns.

CLICK HERE to listen to the archive RVA Sports Network broadcast of the state final.

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Top 10 Moments: #4: #SavannahStrong

In Ashland this past year, there were several breakout teams at Patrick Henry High School. We've noted the success of the 5A State Champion Patrick Henry's boys volleyball team, but new heights were also reached by field hockey as well as girls lacrosse.

But the girls lacrosse team, a young group overall, quickly had to learn to cope with real life at its most difficult, and, with a maturity beyond their years, renewed their drive, their desire, and played for one of their own, becoming #SavannahStrong.

Freshman Savannah Wood was diagnosed with Lymphoblastic Lymphoma in March just after the start of the season. For some, that would be a distraction on the field. Not for Patrick Henry. They redoubled their efforts and, not long after the diagnosis, the Patriots went to rival Hanover and picked up their first win over the Hawks.

What did they do to celebrate? They immediately found a phone, got on FaceTime with Savannah, and gave her the good news. To the team, Savannah was just as much a part of the victory as the player who scored the winning goal.

Those of us who were at Hanover High School that evening won't soon forget the love and compassion shown by Patrick Henry girls lacrosse, as they took the lead in teaching a school, and a community, how to be #SavannahStrong.

CLICK HERE to get updates on Savannah and learn how you can help her and her family. The video below is postgame just after the Hanover win.

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Top 10 Teams: #5: Trinity Episcopal Boys Basketball

35-1? Check.

Champions of the Henrico Holiday Hoops Tournament? Check.

Champions of the Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament with an emphatic victory? Got that.

A win in the VISAA State Championship against a nationally ranked opponent? Done.

Trinity Episcopal boys basketball made statements all season long, storming their way to a state title behind a high school version of a "Big Three" in Zach Jacobs, Armando Bacot, and Jason Wade.

But there were many other contributors, too, from Tink Boyd to Malik Merritte and Matt Nelson.

They responded from their lone defeat, January 21st at L.C. Bird, with a 17-game winning streak to finish the season, almost replicating their 18-game winning streak to start it.

It was a season to remember for our number five team of 2016-17!




Top 10 Moments And Games: #5: LC Bird Solves Trinity Episcopal

How do you slay a giant? How do you put a big man to his knees?

Even though they had the home court advantage and had been ranked ahead of Trinity Episcopal all season, L.C. Bird knew there were a number of fans thinking that the Titans, led by Zach Jacobs, Jason Wade, and sophomore sensation Armando Bacot, may be just too much for the sharpshooting Skyhawks.

But, when all was said and done in a packed Chuck Tester Court gym January 21st, the Skyhawks' athletic program benefited from the huge crowd, and the fun "What If?" matchup actually happened, as Cam Henry reached another level, scoring 16 points as L.C. Bird used specific strategy, and timely outside shooting, to wear the big men down and take a 64-59 win over the Titans.

But it wasn't easy. It wasn't a wire to wire Skyhawk victory. It took all 32 minutes for the Titans to finally succumb, as they led 59-58 late in the game. But a final 6-0 run finished the job, and the wear down strategy paid off.

Each team lost one game all season en route to their respective state championships, L.C. Bird in Group 5A in the VHSL, Trinity Episcopal in Division I of the VISAA.

But, for one night at least, one champion survived another, and high school basketball fans were the winners.

CLICK HERE to listen to the entire L.C. Bird/Trinity Episcopal game as heard only on The RVA Sports Network!






Sunday, July 9, 2017

Top 10 Teams: #6: Dinwiddie Football

Dominance.

That was the term to define Dinwiddie through the 2016 regular season in high school football, their second win a pasting of their longtime playoff rival Hanover. They continued to post huge wins, the closest game a 28-19 victory over Thomas Dale, the only time in the regular season that the offense was held under 40 points.

Huge blowout wins over Courtland and Monacan set up the quarterfinal showdown with Lake Taylor, a nemesis for everyone in 4A. Down much of the second half, Dinwiddie staged a fourth quarter comeback for the ages. CLICK HERE to read about it in our #10 Moment of The Year announced earlier this week.

A 28-14 win over Lafayette put Dinwiddie at 14-0 and in Zable Stadium for the 4A State Championship Game against Salem, the defending champs. And, in a game which showed the heart, resiliency and guts of the Generals, Dinwiddie fell just one play short of championship glory. CLICK HERE to read about the game, our #8 Game of The Year.

A 14-1 record, 701 points of total offense, a defense which gave up just 196 points in fifteen games. An entire county, and region, was proud of the work and heart showed by Dinwiddie Generals Football, our #6 Team of 2016-17!




Top 10 Games: #6: Patrick Henry 3, Maury 2 (5A State Boys Volleyball Semifinal)

There may never have been a more important game played, in any sport, in what old-timers still call "the new gym" at Patrick Henry High School than the one last November when the Patriots hosted Maury in the 5A State Boys Volleyball Semifinals.

Everyone expected a close match, but it ended up being an absolute classic, and a night where "Patriot Pride" showed like never before inside that facility.

You must remember, the Patriots had finally beaten their county rival, Atlee, to give them home-court advantage in the state semifinal round. Atlee, at the same time on the same evening, was battling defending champion Princess Anne in Virginia Beach.

Maury won a competitive first set. The Patriots, in the middle of a postseason run few saw coming, regrouped and won the next two sets 25-22 and 25-19. Patrick Henry fans were building towards a frenzy never seen in this gym, and, even though the Commodores took the fourth set to force the tiebreaker, at times, the court became deafening.

Perhaps the peak of excitement came when Patrick Henry opened set five on a 9-3 run. From there, it was stay cool, prevent a Maury run, and make the dream of playing at Siegel Center a reality. When match point (X8) was over, the scoreboard read 15-6, and after the usual postgame handshakes and congratulations, the players and student body celebrated a return to the state stage for boys volleyball, their first in fifteen years.

Some statistics from that night? 50 assists for Adam Lane, 16 kills and 14 digs for Jarrett Carrano, and Connor Logan with 21 digs, just to name a few.

The performance and the electricity in the gym that evening, coupled with the historic nature of the victory, makes Patrick Henry's state semifinal win our #6 Game of 2016-17.





Top 10 Moments: #6: Atlee's Third Championship Clinch

In 2015, it was a Peyton St. George strikeout. In 2016, a 6-4-3 double play wrapped things up.

So, with two outs and a slim 1-0 lead over their biggest rivals in the biggest game of the year, how would the Atlee Raiders softball team clinch its third straight championship? This time, it was a fly ball.

The ball nestled into the air in center field and, fittingly, a senior, Kelly Warren, made the catch, sending the Raiders into what has become an expected celebration as the dogpile began near the circle.

The victory gave Atlee the distinction of being the fourth team in VHSL softball history to win three consecutive championships, and the first to do it since Broad Run earned three between 2007 and 2009. But the feeling on the field post-game was very different than the previous two seasons.

In 2015, there was the emotion of knowing long-time coaches John Earley and Becky Levy were retiring with the ultimate victory as their last game. The 2016 team fully expected to return and had lots of fun earning the repeat.

The 2017 Raiders, also a fun bunch, prided themselves on pitching and defense. Peyton St. George's microscopic ERA will go down in the VHSL record books as one of the best season performances ever. Only seven opponents scored against them in 2017. Not seven teams, seven actual players.

With St. George off to Duke, Warren to East Tennessee State, and firebrand Casey Barrett off to Virginia Tech, the challenge to return to try for a fourth straight state title will be their steepest mountain to climb. But if there's one thing we've learned over the last 26 months, don't ever count out Atlee softball.

CLICK HERE to relive the 2017 5A State Softball Championship as heard live on The RVA Sports Network!

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Top 10 Teams: #7: James River Boys Volleyball

After losing the 2014 Group 6A state finals, James River was determined to take the final step.

One year later, the Rapids did so with a three-set sweep of Ocean Lakes to snare the championship. But in order to keep the title of state champions last November, James River had to defeat the most familiar foe of all.

On the other side of the net stood the Cosby Titans, a team that pushed them in all three of their sets at the Conference 3 Championship, the Rapids winning 25-20, 26-24, 26-24. But more importantly, in a match with everything at stake, even with victories over your rival, no one knows you better than your rival.

Things looked fine for the Rapids, taking the first two sets, but then, the Titans roared back for a 25-20 set three win. It was time for the champions to prove they deserved to keep the trophy, raising their level of play to championship-worthy, and ending Cosby's hope of a comeback to win in four sets in their fifth and final meeting with the Titans to give James River their fourth state championship this decade.

2010, 2011, 2015 and now, 2016. Congratulations to James River Boys Volleyball, our #7 Team of the 2016-17 high school sports season!



Top 10 Games: #7: Benedictine 92, Hopewell 91 (3 OT's)

Some of the best games of any season come out of nowhere, and sometimes even, they come out of a game that looks to be very routine.

Such was the case at halftime of the Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament First Round boys basketball game between Benedictine and host Hopewell on December 16th, with the Blue Devils leading at halftime 33-20.

No one saw what would happen in the next 16...20...24...28 minutes of play as Benedictine's Justin Henry fueled a comeback, then helped the Cadets win a 15-round heavyweight fight.

CLICK HERE for details of his heroics in the win, named #9 Moment of the Year earlier this week.

Top 10 Moments: #7: Triple Volleyball Champions

Three unforgettable moments in one unforgettable day last November at the Siegel Center, as Monacan, Patrick Henry, and James River boys volleyball all captured state championship on the same afternoon.

The Chiefs started the sweep with a three-set win over Great Bridge to earn their first state title in fourteen years, then, Patrick Henry completed an amazing postseason run to win its first-ever state volleyball crown after falling short fifteen years earlier in the old Group AAA finals.

Then, James River returned to familiar territory, against a familiar opponent, and knocked off rival Cosby in four sets to repeat as 6A State Champions.






Friday, July 7, 2017

Top 10 Teams: #8: Patrick Henry Boys Volleyball

After spending most of the 2016 season as the second best team in their own county, Patrick Henry Boys Volleyball finally figured out a way to defeat their rivals in Atlee. They also figured out a way to become a dominant force on the court, and, after surviving their biggest threat on their home floor in the 5A State Semifinals, the Patriots headed to the Siegel Center with an entire school's hopes and dreams resting on their shoulders.

It had been nearly 22 years since Patrick Henry experienced their, to that point, state team championship, when Ray Long led his Patriots to the Division 5 State Football Championship not too many miles away at City Stadium, now the home of the Richmond Kickers.

Standing between Patrick Henry and that elusive state trophy? Princess Anne, the team that eliminated Atlee from the chase, bringing loads of state tournament experience to the court.

It didn't matter.

A team many felt was "a year away" emphatically showed fans that the future is now.

After a close first set, Patrick Henry put on a show for the ages, sweeping the Cavaliers in three sets and sending Ashland into a celebration last scene when Bill Clinton occupied The White House. The 3-0 win gave the title to a Patriot team that returns its core in 2017 as the school reclassifies down from Class 5 to Class 4. They will be prohibitive favorites from the Richmond area to return to Siegel Center this November.

Congratulations to Patrick Henry Boys Volleyball, our #8 Team of 2016-17!



Top 10 Games: #8: The 4A State Football Championship

The Dinwiddie Generals entered Zable Stadium on the campus of the College of William and Mary 14-0 and one win away from their second 4A State Football Championship in four seasons. In their way stood Salem, the defending 4A state champions making their third straight title game appearance.

Salem led for most of the contest, a position Dinwiddie didn't experience much during their season, but lessons were learned in their come from behind win two weeks earlier against Lake Taylor. Even when the Spartans scored with 7:24 left in the third quarter for a 24-12 lead, Bryce Witt and the Generals focused on the task at hand and went to work.

Two touchdown drives of thirteen and six plays respectively gave Dinwiddie the 27-24 lead early in the fourth quarter. But the Spartans, led by quarterback Noah Beckley, who had a game for the ages, launched a time-killing drive down the field, punctuated by Beckley's fourth down conversion run to the Dinwiddie 30, ending with a short touchdown run with just 50 seconds left to take a 31-27 lead.

Witt and company returned to the field and earned yardage in huge chunks. Witt hit K'Vaughan Pope on a 30-yard pass play. It all came down to a play with three seconds left in the red zone. But Witt's final pass attempt as a General was broken up trying to find the left side of the end zone, and Salem survived to repeat as champions.

Though they finished as 4A State Runner-Up, there was absolutely nothing to be ashamed of for Dinwiddie. Their 2016 season began with a measure of revenge, their second win a romp at playoff rival Hanover Labor Day Weekend. Even when the injury bug struck, role players became standouts, benchwarmers became key role figures, and a 14-1 record, just a play away from a trophy, is not only a season to be proud of, but a season to remember.


Top 10 Moments: #8: Balducci's Marathon Relief Stint Helps Hanover Clinch State Bid

(NOTE: Our countdown of the Top 10 Moments of the 2016-17 high school season relives events which occurred live either on an RVA Sports Network live broadcast on our YouTube Channel or as we provided live tweet coverage from the game....)

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Imagine going into relief in a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning of a game that decides whether or not your team is going to go to the state tournament. Now, imagine that you have no idea that your relief stint is about to go, not two innings, but eight.

That's what happened to Antonio Balducci of Hanover, who gutted out an amazing eight innings of relief work under tremendous pressure, finally seeing his teammates get back to back doubles in the bottom of the 13th inning for a 2-1 win over Jamestown in the 4A East Region Semifinals, sending the Hawks to the 4A State Tournament for the fourth straight season, and to state tournament play for the fifth year in a row.

The performance included finding a way out of a bases loaded jam in the tenth inning as Hanover found a way finally to scratch in a run with a two-out rally three innings later to end Jamestown's amazing 20-game winning streak.

Though the Hawks didn't grab the state title they hoped for, they can always claim victory in one of the most nail-biting playoff games this region has ever seen. Antonio Balducci's unforgettable night, the #8 Moment of the 2016-17 season covered live by The RVA Sports Network!

(Below: Brian Sisson scores the tying run in the fifth inning to make it 1-1. Sisson would score the winning run in the 13th inning, giving Antonio Balducci the win.)



Thursday, July 6, 2017

Top 10 Teams: #9: Hanover Girls Tennis

Twice before, Hanover girls tennis had made it to the 4A State Championship, only to fall to former Conference 20 rival Midlothian.

But, entering her senior season, Stephanie Broussard, an accomplished player in USTA circles, decided she'd like to play for her high school in her final opportunity. What ensued was a magical season that saw Broussard sweep to the 4A Singles and Doubles Championships, the latter with sophomore Madison Moore as the Hawks never lost a team match, finishing unbeaten and, for the very first time, state champions.

On the surface, people would think the addition of Broussard made all the difference, and while it certainly played a major role, it was her addition in practice, iron sharpening iron, making a deep, experienced, but young roster get better and better day after day. That was what gave the Hawks their advantage each time they stepped on the court.

Broussard and her classmates have now left their mark on Hanover girls tennis, but the majority of the players are returning for a run at the new Class 4 state championship come 2018. Thanks to 2017's unforgettable season, they will be ready to try to go back to back.

Congratulations to Coach Hein, the staff and the players for a historic season for Hanover girls tennis!




Top 10 Games: #9: Lee-Davis Denies Patrick Henry On Final Play At The Plate

In a softball game originally scheduled to be played in Ashland, then moved to Mechanicsville due to poor field conditions after a day of rain, two Top 3 teams and two Hanover County rivals collided just before Spring Break as Lee-Davis and Patrick Henry played a classic seven-inning affair.

Grayson Radcliffe had a career night at the plate, forcing Lee-Davis to intentionally walk her so that no more damage could be done. But Lee-Davis did some offensive damage of their own, using a big three-run fifth inning to take their first lead at 4-3. The teams traded runs, the Patriots scoring theirs in the top of the seventh to cut the margin to 5-4 with runners aboard.

The game ended, fittingly, on a base hit for the Patriots, followed by a bullet fired by Lee-Davis center fielder Heather Childress, cutting down what would have been the tying run at the plate to preserve the 5-4 victory.

Both teams ended with fantastic seasons, Lee-Davis making a second straight trip to the 5A State Tournament. But for a mid-season rivalry game that almost didn't happen, you'd be hard pressed to find a better played game than what we experienced on April 6th.

See the final play below!

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Top 10 Moments: #9: Henry's Career Night Leads Cadets Over Hopewell in T-DIT 3 OT Thriller

At halftime of the first round boys game between Benedictine and Hopewell in the Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament, there was no inkling of the classic confrontation about to unfold. In fact, as the Benedictine team dejectedly headed to the locker room, you could hear the frustration as teammates were not exactly friendly to each other.

A team expected to go far in the season, the Cadets saw Hopewell go on a 20-6 run on their home floor for a 33-20 halftime lead. Justin Henry had but two of their twenty points. But Henry was just getting started.

Justin ended up leading Benedictine with 35 points, but the Cadets still trailed by nine after three quarters. A 23-14 run erased that margin and forced overtime with the host Blue Devils. The fun was just beginning.

On an inbounds pass with twelve seconds left in overtime, the Cadets found Henry, who nailed a three-pointer to force a second overtime in the final seconds at 74-74. Henry was everyone. Working the boards, diving for loose balls as both teams desperately looked for a way to win. Benedictine's Gibson Jimerson nailed a big trey in the second overtime for an 81-80 lead, but Hopewell found a way to force the third extra session, tying the game, then watched as Benedictine missed a potential game-winner, sending the game to its third overtime at 83-83.

Travonte Jones found himself open in the corner with 35 seconds left for a three-pointer to give Hopewell an 91-89 led. But Henry saved the best for last, calmly draining a 27-foot three-pointer with 22 seconds left for the eventual game-winner, and Benedictine survived their trip to the Tri-Cities with a 92-91 triple overtime victory.

In a season that had its fair share of disappointment for Benedictine basketball, for one night, the Cadets stood on top.

CLICK HERE to listen live to the entire game as heard live on The RVA Sports Network!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Top 10 Teams: #10: (TIE) Prince George Field Hockey and Baseball

There was a lot to cheer about in Prince George County in 2016-17.

It began in the fall as the varsity field hockey team, who had been knocking on the door of the 5A State Tournament for years, first tested themselves in September, hosting powerhouse Deep Run, the team that kept them out of the 2015 5A State Tournament. The Wildcats would escape their trip south with an overtime victory. The Royals would not forget.

Prince George blew through the remainder of their schedule, the Conference 12 Tournament, finding themselves back in the 5A South Region Tournament, back within a win of the State Tournament, and back on the same field as Deep Run.

This time, though, at River City SportsPlex, it would be the Royals who would finally prevail over the Wildcats, sending Prince George to the final four in Virginia Beach. Though their season ended with defeats in the 5A South Region Final and 5A State Semifinal, this group of Royals had taken their program to new heights, and set the bar at its ultimate point: to bring home a state championship.

The baseball team was ready to make unprecedented noise as well, opening the 2017 campaign on a 19-game winning streak before falling in a regular season finale at home in a game scheduled late in the season with defending 4A state champion Hanover, who had to come from behind to hand the Royals their first defeat.

Prince George breezed through Conference 12, and, ironically, found themselves on Deep Run's home field facing the Cinderella Wildcats, who won Conference 11 as the #5 seed, in the 5A South Region Semis with a state tournament bid at stake. There, Cole Spain served the Royals well on the mound with ten strikeouts as the Royals clinched their state tourney bid defeating the Wildcats 5-3, then moving on to win the 5A South Region crown blasting Menchville.

Though their season ended in Chantilly a game short of the state final, thanks in part to the pitching of Halifax's Andrew Abbott, a consensus choice as the best baseball player in Virginia in 2017, coach Mickey Roberts' crew had made history, and, as well, set the bar high for future teams.

Congratulations to both Prince George field hockey and baseball, tying for #10 in our countdown on Teams of The Year!