Lebanon High School baseball standout Logan Smith figures he’ll look around and see a sea of red this weekend.
The baseball and softball squads at Lebanon are both seeking VHSL Class 2 state championships and will play simultaneous semifinal games at 9 a.m. on Friday at RU.
“I hope the town of Lebanon is as excited as I am,” Smith said. “Because having a chance to return home with baseball state champs and softball state champs doesn’t happen too often. As far as I know, everyone is super excited for us and hopefully we can get half the town in Radford this weekend.”
The baseball team is 23-2 and won the Region 2D title, while the softball squad is 19-7 and won a regional crown as well.
“It’s the greatest thing having both our softball team and the baseball team headed to state,” said Morgan Hamm, a softball star for the Pioneers. “It’s like the icing on the cake. Being from a small town, sports bring communities together in ways that are indescribable.”
The teams certainly root each on.
“One thing that stands out in my mind is when the boys finished up playing against Virginia High [in a one-game Southwest District playoff] at Abingdon [on May 18] and [baseball coach] Doc Adams brought the boys to Emory & Henry to watch the ending of our game against Richlands,” Hamm said. “We were both able to celebrate and get our pictures made together as district champs and I’m hoping the same thing can happen on the day of the state championship. I’m sure our game will end before theirs, so we can walk over to watch the ending of their game. Lebanon fans are supportive of both teams and completely pumped up hoping we both can bring back a state championship on the same day.”
The VHSL altered the schedule for this weekend’s events on Wednesday due to the threat of rain in the forecast.
The following is a look at each of the state semifinal baseball and softball games (as well as the tennis finals scheduled for Saturday) involving squads from far Southwest Virginia:
Patrick Henry vs. Lancaster, Friday, Pulaski’s Calfee Park, 9 a.m.: Lancaster pitcher/infielder Matthew Kleinfelter is a James Madison University signee.
Lebanon vs. Page County, Friday, Radford University, 9 a.m.: The head coach of defending state champion Page County is 75-year-old Wayne Comer, who played in the big leagues with the Detroit Tigers, Seattle Pilots, Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Senators. He won a World Series title with Detroit in 1968.
Northwood vs. Rappahannock County, Friday, Virginia Tech, 9 a.m.: Rappahannock County won the 2001 VHSL Group A state championship.
Lebanon vs. Madison County, Friday, Radford University, 9 a.m.: Madison County has faced all three Russell County schools in the state softball tournament. The Mountaineers beat Lebanon in the 2017 state semifinals, lost to Honaker in the 2013 state finals and beat Castlewood for the 1995 Group A championship.
Richlands vs. Page County, Friday, Radford University, 11 a.m.: Page County’s Sabrina Foltz pitched a three-hit shutout to beat Richlands in last year’s state championship game.
Eastside vs. Maggie Walker, Saturday, Virginia Tech, 9 a.m.: Maggie Walker won 2A state titles in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Gate City vs. Maggie Walker, Saturday, Virginia Tech, 9 a.m.: Gate City is going for the 11th state championship in program history.
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