Abingdon vs Battle baseball

John Battle's Micah Whitt avoids the tag from Abingdon's Chase Hungate to score a run during a 2019 game. Both the Trojans and the Falcons are on the road in the VHSL state quarterfinals. 

BASEBALL

Class 1

Chilhowie (22-2) at Auburn (22-3)

Today, 5 p.m.

The Skinny: After losing for just the second time all season in the regional finals, what message did Chilhowie coach Jeff Robinson deliver to his team? “I told them that was the last postseason game you can lose and still keep playing,” Robinson said. “We have said all postseason that everyone’s record is 0-and-0; it doesn’t matter what you have did up to that point. Now there is an eight-team, three-game tournament. Whoever is the best team for the next three games will win it all.” … Chilhowie and Auburn were two of the favorites in the Class 1 field when the season started. “We had a goal of getting to this point when the season began,” Robinson said. “Now that we are here, let’s see what we can do with the opportunity.” … Greg Sanchez (.440, 18 RBIs, 45 runs) and Ray Berry (.437, 29 RBIs) have been Chilhowie’s top hitters. Berry (8-0, one save, 3.06 ERA) has emerged as go-to guy on the mound after ace Landon McClure suffered an injury. … Ethan Armstrong was 9-for-13 with four doubles and nine RBIs in three regional tournament games for Chilhowie, which is in the state tournament for the third time in program history (2019, 2012, 1972). … Auburn won the state title in 2017 and beat Chilhowie, 10-0, in the Region 1A West tournament that year. Third baseman Brady Harris (.338, 37 runs, 25 RBIs) and outfielder Keith Reed (.486, 28 RBIs, 38 runs) were in the starting lineup that year and are veteran stalwarts for the Eagles. … Taylor Newcome of Auburn has pitched to the tune of an 11-0 record and 1.51 ERA, while also hitting .412. Carter Keith has a team-high 37 RBIs.

Up Next: Either Riverheads or Colonial Beach will clash with the winner in Friday’s state semifinals at Pulaski’s Calfee Park.

Galax (13-12) at Patrick Henry (17-6)

Today, 6 p.m.

The Skinny: The Patrick Henry Rebels repeated as Region 1D champions and will host a state quarterfinal game for the second straight year. “It feels very much the same,” said PH coach Tommy Thomas. “No one expected our team to beat Honaker last year [in the regional finals] after losing two games to them in the regular season. This year Chilhowie was the overwhelming favorite to win a region.” … After finishing third in the Hogoheegee District tournament, PH topped Eastside (4-2), Holston (7-4) and Chilhowie (7-5) to win the Region 1D tourney. “A lot of teams talk about bend, but don’t break,” Thomas said. “This team has embraced that attitude.” … A balanced attack has been a key for PH. Left-handed pitcher Isaac Eldreth, slugger Jacob Eisert and catcher Landon Smithson all had clutch moments in the regional tournament. … Galax is coached by Bobby Parnell, who played for Grayson County’s 1997 VHSL Group A state championship squad. He contributed a RBI to Grayson’s 10-1 win over the J.J. Kelly Indians of head coach Mack Shupe in the state semifinals that season. … The Maroon Tide started the season with a 1-5 record. … Senior pitcher Trent Tilley has a 3.06 ERA for Galax and has struck out 91 in 68 2/3 innings. Cade Ashworth (.432 batting average, 30 RBIs), Daniel Huff (.420) and Kolby Barnes (.372, 33 RBIs) are the top hitters for the Tide.

Up Next: The winner plays either Lancaster or William Campbell in the state semifinals on Friday at 10 a.m. at Calfee Park in Pulaski.

Class 2

Appomattox (13-11) at Lebanon (22-2)

Today, 6 p.m.

The Skinny: The Lebanon Pioneers have upped their level of play in the postseason and have scored 56 runs in their last five games. … An 11-1 setback to Tennessee High on March 30 and an 8-7 defeat to Virginia High on May 16 are the only losses for Lebanon. … This is Lebanon’s eighth state tournament bid (2019, 2015, 2001, 1999, 1995, 1992, 1991, 1989). The Pioneers finished as state runner-up in 1991 and 2015. … Matthew Buchanan, Cole Stoots and Casey White anchor the Lebanon pitching staff. Buchanan is a sophomore left-hander who has verbally committed to the University of Virginia. “Obviously Lebanon is a fantastic team,” said Appomattox coach Joe Caruso. “Their record and winning that tough region speaks for itself. Very strong on the mound, well-coached and have very good athletes.” … Appomattox hasn’t had much luck against teams from far Southwest Virginia lately. The Raiders lost to Virginia High by a 4-1 count in last year’s state quarterfinals, fell 3-0 to Lebanon in the semifinals of the 2015 VHSL Region 2A West tournament and lost 21-1 to eventual state champion Honaker in the 2011 Group A, Division 2 state semifinals. … Tristan Lovins leads Appomattox with a .420 batting average, while Johnny Hamlett has a 4-0 record and 1.68 ERA on the mound for the Raiders. Appomattox couldn’t hold a 5-2 seventh-inning lead in a 6-5 setback to Chatham in the Region 2C finals. … “This team plays together and they believe in themselves,” Caruso said. “They have been readied by a tough schedule this season. They play hard and have fun doing it. It has truly been a team effort and I couldn’t be more proud to be their coach.” … Caruso pitched in 204 minor-league games in the Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates organizations from 1991-95, going 27-20 with 21 saves and a 3.74 ERA. He reached the Class AAA level.

Up Next: The winner plays in the state semifinals on Friday at 10 a.m. at Radford University against either Page County or King William.

John Battle (16-10) at Chatham (21-4)

Today, 6 p.m.

The Skinny: John Battle is making its 13th state tournament appearance in program history (2019, 2017, 2012, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1988, 1980, 1972). The Trojans won Group A state titles in 2000 and 2001, while finishing as 2A runner-up to Dan River in 2017. … Jimmy Gobble has compiled a 33-17 record in his two seasons as Battle’s head coach. He had a 32-8 mark as a pitcher at the school from 1996-1999 and played in the major leagues with the Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox from 2003-2009. … John Battle lost seven starters off last year’s team. … Landon Moore, Eli Todd and Evan Smith are the only seniors on Battle’s roster. … Chatham repeated as Region 2C champions. The Cavaliers beat Tazewell in last year’s state quarterfinals before dropping a 5-1 decision to Virginia High in the state semifinals. … Chatham dispatched Gretna (12-5), Glenvar (15-4) and Appomattox (6-5) in winning the Region 2C tournament. The Cavs scored three times in the seventh inning to rally past Appomattox last Friday. … Chatham pitcher Andrew Potojecki is a Longwood University commit, while Brae Adkins has 55 RBIs this season. Hunter Adkins delivered the walk-off RBI single for the Cavaliers in the regional championship game. … “I do know that Chatham is pretty much one of the better high school teams in Class 2 in Virginia,” Gobble said. “Their lineup is really solid top to bottom and they have everything you could want. We will have to be prepared for business when we step on the field.”

Up Next: Either Nandua or Stuarts Draft meets the winner on Friday at 1 p.m. in the state semifinals at Radford University.

Class 3

Abingdon (22-3) at Fluvanna County (20-3)

Today, 6:30 p.m.

The Skinny: After Tanner Barrs went 3-for-4 at the plate and pitched a two-hitter in Abingdon’s 8-2 flattening of Fluvanna County in last year’s state semifinals, Abingdon coach Mark Francisco told the Bristol Herald Courier this: “Fluvanna’s an excellent baseball team and they’re young and they are going to be around for a few more years,” Francisco said. … Francisco was right and his club will get a rematch with Fluvanna County in today’s quarterfinals. The Flying Flucos have six starters back from last year and the headliner is junior left-handed pitcher Andrew Ward. The Virginia Commonwealth University commit has an 8-0 record and 0.94 ERA with 104 strikeouts. He got all 21 outs via the strikeout in a 9-0 victory over Spotswood in the Region 3C tournament and a second-inning walk was the only thing that prevented him from tossing a perfect game. … Ward’s twin brother, Kevin Ward, is 6-1 with a 0.66 ERA. … “We have much more pitching depth than last season and we hope to hold our own in the state tournament,” said Fluvanna County coach Joel Gray. “There are eight very good teams left and we know whichever teams have an off night will make a quick exit. I have tried to keep an eye on the Falcons from afar, while trying to keep my guys focused on the next inning that we are going to play. Coach Francisco has built a quality program and an expectation for success within his players. We certainly respect that and I can assure you we do not take any opponent lightly.” … Despite losing five standouts from last season’s squad, Abingdon has again taken care of business in 2019 and reached the 20-win mark for the fourth consecutive season. Chase Hungate (6-1, 1.25 ERA), Ethan Ketron (6-1, 1.97 ERA) and T.J. Taylor (5-0, 2.45 ERA) have pitched well, while the offense has been balanced. Barrs hasn’t pitched much due to shoulder inflammation, but has thrown a couple of innings in the postseason. “It’s been a very rewarding season for everyone involved in our program,” Francisco said. “All 20 kids on the roster have contributed to our success. It really has been a total team effort. They’ve exceeded outside expectations, but they’ve earned it. After we lost in the finals last year, they immediately went to work with the goal of making it back to Salem. To be one win away is really exciting.” …. Salem is also the destination the Flying Flucos are seeking. “We’ve known all year that if we are going to load up on a bus Friday morning and travel the 136.2 miles to Salem, we would have to defeat a quality opponent in the state quarterfinals,” Gray said. “I’m sure that Tanner Barrs, Ethan Ketron and the other Falcons are going to do everything in their power to not let that happen.”

Up Next: The winner plays either Brentsville District or Park View-South Hill on Friday at 1 p.m. in the state semifinals at Kiwanis Field in Salem.

SOFTBALL

Class 1

Parry McCluer (20-5) at Northwood (22-1)

Today, 5 p.m.

The Skinny: Northwood is riding a 21-game winning streak and the Panthers were nearly perfect in winning the Region 1D tournament for the second straight year. The crew from Saltville dispatched Rye Cove (13-0), Twin Springs (9-0) and Patrick Henry (4-0) with relative ease and outhit the opposition 42-9 in the process. … The heroes are numerous for Northwood. Junior pitcher Nancy Jo Roberts is 19-0 with a 0.69 ERA, 128 strikeouts and 12 shutouts this season and her scoreless innings streak stands at 31 2/3. … Catie Bordwine (.506, 27 RBIs), Lexie Woodward (.476, 36 runs, 16 stolen bases) and Lindsey Sword (.430, 27 RBIs) have been the tone-setters for a lineup that is tough from top to bottom. … Northwood has some familiarity with today’s opponent as the Panthers posted a 6-1 victory over Parry McCluer in last year’s state quarterfinals. Lindsey Sword finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs in that win. “Solid team,” said Northwood coach B.J. Buchanan. “They are like us with pretty much the same team as last year.” … PM dropped a 3-1 decision to Auburn in the finals of the Region 1C tournament. Chloe Persinger and Channing Balser are among the players to watch for the Blues. … In the state tournament for the second straight year, Northwood is on a mission. “No let-up in this group,” Buchanan said. “They are like a pack of wolves. They might look sweet but they can be vicious if need be.”

Up Next: Either Rappahannock or Rappahannock County faces the winner on Friday at 10 a.m. in the state semifinals at Virginia Tech.

Patrick Henry (11-13) at Auburn (22-3)

Today, 5 p.m.

The Skinny: Auburn coach David Hurd is familiar with Patrick Henry and not just because he is a 1993 graduate of the school. “I have watched Patrick Henry twice,” Hurd said. “They are a team that does a lot of things well. They have a good young pitcher [freshman Abigail Street] and they are willing to work to put pressure on the defense. They are a team that has a history of winning softball games.” … The Rebels are in the state tournament for the second time in three years. Senior catcher Julia Street is a Tusculum University signee and sparks PH’s offense. … Auburn finished as state runner-up last season. “Our season has been a little different than last year,” Hurd said. “We struggled early – really struggled. Last year we were 25-0 going into the state championship game and it had been easy all the way. This year we have had to work through bad play on our part. Lately we have been very good, but it hasn’t been overnight success. We went 6-2 against teams still in the playoffs this year, but we didn’t always play great in the wins or the losses. That said, our schedule was so tough, we feel very prepared going in.” … The Eagles split with Region 2D runner-up Richlands and Region 1D champion Northwood, swept two games from Region 2C champion Floyd County and own a win over Region 4D champion William Byrd. … Abby Wilson is hitting better than .500 with 11 home runs for Auburn, while Cortney Cochran has a .563 batting average with five homers. Wilson (Radford University), Cochran (Eastern Mennonite), pitcher Skyler DeHart (Virginia Tech), McKenzie Lawrence (Wingate), Emily Scaggs (Emory & Henry) and Leah Harrison (Virginia State) will play college softball.

Up Next: The winner plays either Riverheads or Northumberland on Friday at 1 p.m. in the state finals at Virginia Tech.

Class 2

Richlands (20-5) at Floyd County (19-4)

Today, 5 p.m.

The Skinny: Richlands is in the state tournament for the third straight year and 11th time in program history (2019, 2018, 2017, 2012, 2000, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992). The Blue Tornado won Group AA championships in 1995 and 1996, while finishing as runner-up in 2017 and 2018. … Mac Osborne has pitched to the tune of a 19-3 record and 1.53 ERA for Richlands, while hitting .458 with two home runs and 21 RBIs. Kaitlynn Baldwin (.458, 18 RBIs), Chloe Newberry (.438, 14 doubles, 12 RBIs) and Ginger Short (.423, 21 RBIs) hit the ball hard. “Richlands is a true state contender,” said Floyd County coach Meaghan Funk. “They have the ingredients they need to easily win it all.” … Floyd County is pretty stout as well and the Buffaloes beat Radford (17-5), Appomattox (2-1) and Dan River (7-6) to win the Region 2C tournament. Olivia Yates is the pitcher for the Buffaloes, while Morgan Harris and Aimee Whitlow are strong hitters. … “Floyd County is a very athletic team,” said Richlands coach Ronnie Davis. “They are a very good defensive team. They do a great job of putting the ball in play and do not strike out a lot. Their pitcher throws in the low-60s and has a plethora of pitches. They are a very well-coached team.” … Funk was a catcher and outfielder at Emory & Henry College from 2005-08.

Up Next: Either Page County or Nottoway meets the winner in the state semifinals on Friday at 1 p.m. at Radford University.

Dan River (17-7) at Lebanon (18-7)

Today, 6 p.m.

The Skinny: Lebanon is in the state tournament for the fourth straight year. The Pioneers won the state championship in 2016, while suffering semifinal losses in 2017 and 2018. … Lebanon did not allow a run in the Region 2D tournament in triumphs over Gate City (8-0), Union (4-0) and Richlands (1-0). … Senior Morgan Hamm and sophomore Adrienne Morrison form an impressive one-two pitching combo for Lebanon. Hamm is 7-4 and has signed with NCAA Division II Carson-Newman University, while Morrison has a 10-3 record and blanked Richlands in the regional finals. … “We know that Lebanon is a really strong team and they have a great program,” said Dan River coach Ryan Scolpini. “We know it will be a challenge to go up there and win.” … The Dan River quintet of Emily McVay, Gracie Waller, Katie Moser, Rebekah Stowe and Riley Nuckles have a combined .402 batting average, 14 home runs, 97 runs scored and 103 RBIs this season. McVay, a freshman, is also the top pitcher for the Wildcats and has a 13-6 record in the circle.

Up Next: The winner plays either Amelia County or Madison County on Friday at 10 a.m. in the state semifinals at Radford University.

BOYS SOCCER

Class 1

Patrick Henry (6-7) at Galax (14-5-1)

Today, 5 p.m.

The Skinny: The Galax Maroon Tide have won four of the last five titles in the state’s smallest classification and are loaded once again. … Seven starters are back from last season’s championship squad and the top scoring threats are Eric Escobar, Christian Rojas, Zosimo Cueva and Edward Medina. Escobar has been described as a magician with the way he handles the ball. … Brady Stiltner, Gavin Walch and Jonah Bassett set the pace for Patrick Henry. The Rebels suffered a 3-0 loss to Galax in last year’s state quarterfinals. “Galax is an excellent team,” said Patrick Henry coach Erik Carrigan. “They are the defending state champions for a reason. They are very athletic and understand the game well.”

Up Next: The winner plays either Northumberland or Stonewall Jackson-Quicksburg on Friday at 3 p.m. in the state semifinals at Radford University’s Recreational Fields.

Auburn (11-4-2) at Honaker (9-6-1)

Today, 7 p.m.

The Skinny: These programs are familiar with one another. … Auburn beat Honaker, 7-0, in last year’s state quarterfinals. Honaker defeated the Eagles in 2015 and 2016 Region 1A West tournament games. … Matthew Ball leads Honaker with 16 goals, while Chandler Hubbard has 14 goals and 12 assists to his credit. … “We started out playing good one game and poor the next, so our season was up and down,” said Honaker coach Doug Hubbard. “The last half of the season we have been playing more consistent.” … Three of Auburn’s losses have come to defending state champion Galax. Defense is the strength as Auburn has allowed just 13 goals all season. … Seven starters are back from last year’s team for the Eagles, including all-state performers Carter Brockman (goalkeeper) and Gage Phillips (forward). Jesse Shelor, Josh Monday, Triston Perry, Carson East and Cameron King are also quality players.

Up Next: Either Altavista or Rappahannock awaits the winner in Friday’s state semifinals at Radford University’s Recreational Fields.

Class 2

Richlands (16-4) at Martinsville (20-0-2)

At Smith River Sports Complex (Axton)

Today, 6 p.m.

The Skinny: Both of these teams are enjoying history-making seasons. … Richlands is in the state tournament for the first time and has set a single-season school record for wins. Martinsville is in the midst of just the second 20-win season in program history. … Martinsville was just 3-14 two years ago, but has enjoyed a resurgence under the direction of head coach Pete Scouras. Khalil Travis (30 goals, 14 assists), Reese Bell (12 goals, nine assists) and Jayden McKinney (14 goals) are the top scoring threats for Martinsville. Travis scored the game-winning goal in the second overtime against Giles in the Region 2C finals. … Martinsville sophomore goalkeeper Mike Devora has allowed just 25 goals in 22 matches. … Senior team captain Connor Vencill has 22 goals and 40 assists for Richlands and has signed with Bluefield College. Levi Forrest (32 goals, 13 assists) and Jay Fuller (five goals, nine assists) also make the Blue Tornado go, while Ryan Lawson, Nick Sargent and Hunter Call anchor the defense. Junior Luke Martin is the goalkeeper.

Up Next: George Mason or Poquoson will be the opponent of the winner in Friday’s 11 a.m. state semifinal showdown at Radford University’s Cupp Stadium.

Giles (17-1) at Graham (13-4)

At East River Sports Complex (Bluefield)

Today, 7 p.m.

The Skinny: These are familiar foes. Giles grabbed a 7-0 victory over the G-Men in last year’s state quarterfinals and the Spartans took a 2-1 triumph over Graham back in March. … Giles finished as VHSL Class 2 state runner-up last season. Michael Shelor and Matthew Shelor are among the standouts for the Spartans. … Graham got the best of Ridgeview (8-0), Union (4-3) and Richlands (5-1) to win the Region 2D tournament. Ben Morgan scored three goals in the regional finals.

Up Next: The winner plays either Maggie Walker or Robert E. Lee-Staunton on Friday at 9 a.m. in the state semifinals at Radford University’s Cupp Stadium.

GIRLS SOCCER

Class 1

Auburn (16-1) at Honaker (5-9-1)

Today, 5:30 p.m.

The Skinny: The VHSL is crowning a Class 1 state champion in girls soccer this season for the first time. Honaker was assured a spot in the state tournament before the season began as the Tigers are the only girls squad in Region 1D. … Honaker hasn’t played since May 7. “Over the last few weeks the girls have really worked hard at being better soccer players and getting better as a team,” said Honaker coach Wilburn Johnson. “Hopefully, they are excited about a chance to play against a quality soccer team.” … Madi Viers (15 goals, four assists), Madi Kiser (11 goals) and Paige Bostic (four goals, four assists) are the top scoring threats for Honaker. Goalkeeper Jada Mullins has made 150 saves and fullback Meagan McCoy is a valuable contributor as well. “We are a pretty young squad,” Johnson said. “We start a couple of freshmen and four sophomores. We are only starting three seniors.” … Auburn suffered its first loss of the season in the finals of the Region 1C tournament, a 2-1 setback to Eastern Montgomery. The Eagles are pretty young too. “After losing six starting seniors, finding our new chemistry was a challenge at first,” said Auburn coach Ashley Moreno, a Las Vegas native who played soccer at Bluefield College. “But once we found it, the girls took off.” … Jessica Musselman, Elizabeth Tomlin, Abby Lafon and Lyndsay Harris are the standouts.

Up Next: A 9 a.m. state semifinal match on Saturday at Radford University’s Recreational Fields against either West Point or Rappahannock County awaits the winner.

Class 2

James River (13-5-1) at John Battle (19-0-2)

At Sugar Hollow Park (Bristol)

Today, 6 p.m.

The Skinny: This is an intriguing matchup and nobody is sure what to expect. “We don’t know much about Battle,” said James River coach Bill Smith. “We swim in a different pond, so to speak. We share no common opponents or even second-order connections. It will be interesting to get on the pitch with them. We have played on [the Sugar Hollow Park] field before. We had a crazy rain-delayed game with Gate City about four years ago. I hope for better conditions this week.” … The forecast does look good and John Battle has overcome any obstacle in its path this season. The Trojans topped Virginia High (3-0), Graham (5-2) and Gate City (1-0) to win the Region 2D tournament. Melina Turner has 40 goals this season and 95 for her career, while Madison Chappell has 14 goals in 2019. Michaela Monk and Isabella Jessee lead a stingy defense. … Sophia Kryder and Stephanie Vasquez are among the standouts for James River, which has seven seniors. … Battle hopes to continue its record-setting season. “These girls have poured their blood, sweat and tears into this season,” said John Battle coach Colleen Johnson Shirey. “We have battled through injuries and long practices to get to this point. This is the farthest as a program we have ever gotten.”

Up Next: The winner plays either Maggie Walker or Stuarts Draft on Friday at 1 p.m. in the state semifinals at Radford University’s Cupp Stadium.

Gate City (13-3-4) at Radford (15-2-1)

At Radford U. Rec. Field

Today, 6 p.m.

The Skinny: Radford’s team has been on the same page all season with Madison Page leading the way. Madison Page has a school-record 138 career goals and her sister, Makenzie, is also a star for the Bobcats. … Radford has played a tough schedule and battled to a tie with Class 4 Blacksburg. … Radford coach Nikki Grecco played at Emory & Henry College from 2007-10 and among her teammates with the Wasps was current John Battle boss Colleen Johnson Shirey, whose team is also in the state tournament. … Gate City has fared well under first-year head coach Mario Jaramillo. Jamie Watts, Abby Williams and Amanda Vermillion are the top scoring threats for the Blue Devils.

Up Next: Either George Mason or Poquoson plays the winner at Radford University’s Cupp Stadium on Friday in a 3 p.m. state semifinal match.

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