Spring is quickly turning into summer as our Rappahannock athletic teams are finishing up their regular seasons and hoping, like the weather, to get hot for the coming playoffs.
Junior Panther baseball and softball take the headlines this week on the merits of their dual victories over Buford Middle last Thursday in Charlottesville. Both teams showed up prepared for a scheduled doubleheader only to be told by their coaching counterparts that they would be playing just one game. Making the most of their opportunity, coaches Brad Barnes (baseball) and Jeff Atkins (softball) had their teams fired up from the first pitch.
The softball game saw all 16 players take the field and get a chance to swing at the plate. The pitching combination of Carrington Wayland, Kammie Brown and Sarabeth Ellis shut down the Buford side time and again. The highlight of a big day was a base-clearing home run by Olivia Atkins that punctuated the final 20-3 victory. JP baseball was also led by a pitching trifecta of Ethan Sumner, Brett Midkiff and J.B. Leidenheimer, who combined to only give up three runs while striking out 10. Sean Yowell led the way at the plate with two hits, with six other players contributing to the offense. The 8-3 win was their third of the season.
Varsity baseball and softball teams had byes late last week and then played a rare Saturday game, both teams hosting Rappahannock River Conference foe Lancaster in doubleheader matchups. Baseball played Lancaster well but at the end of the day was still shy of a victory in either contest. Softball gave up some early runs in the first game, giving themselves a deficit they just could not overcome, but then came back strong in the second game to take their first win of the season!
Both teams hosted Clarke County this past Monday, a makeup of a rainout last week. And while both teams again fell short, again improvement continues as the gap between the scores continues to narrow. On Tuesday they again hosted, this time facing Bull Run opponent George Mason (results too late for this article) and then tonight (Thursday, May 14), both teams host District foe Manassas Park in doubleheaders starting at 5. Our baseball seniors will be honored tonight just before the second game (about 7 p.m.). On Friday, varsity softball travels to Madison for the regular season finale; the district and conference playoffs follow.
Varsity track teams traveled to Culpeper last Wednesday for a 10-team state qualifier meet. Unfortunately, severe storms rolled in about halfway through the evening’s events, forcing cancellation of the activities. Yesterday our teams traveled to Strasburg for the Bull Run District Track Championship, the final meet before the real road to States begins next Thursday at Northumberland — the Rapp River Conference championship.
As always, stay tuned to the Rapp athletics website (rappahannockathletics.org) for the latest news and schedules for your hometown sports teams. Go Rapp!
— Jimmy Swindler
Student Erica E. Mason of Castleton was named to the Dean’s List at Shepherd University in West Virginia, among the university’s 589 students named to the honors list for the spring semester. To be eligible, a student must maintain a 3.4 grade point average for the semester and carry at least 15 hours of coursework.