Some of the Dumfries Post 28 players and coaches approached their baseball game Monday against Winchester Post 21 as a playoff encounter. Too bad the American Legion regular season finale did not count toward the District 16 tournament this week.
East Division leader Dumfries knocked off the West Division leader Winchester, 2-1, at Forest Park High School to buoy hopes of a strong district tournament showing when the event gets underway tomorrow at Bing Crosby Field in Front Royal.
Winchester has won the district title four of the past five years and was state runner-up in 2002.
"We didn't throw our best pitchers because we're going into the tournament, but my attitude was everybody always wants to beat Winchester because they're always top dogs," Dumfries Coach Ted Lyons said. "I wouldn't say we went in as win or die, but we wanted to win the game."
Post 28 is set to play Remington Post 247 at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow in its district tournament opener. The other first-round game involving a local team pits the Euclid Diamond Dawgs against Middleburg Post 295 at 9:30 a.m.
The double-elimination tournament continues through Monday, with the championship at 4:30 p.m. and the playback, if necessary, set for 7:30.
Because Winchester will host the state tournament Aug. 3-7, Post 21 will take part in the state event regardless of how it fares in the district tournament. One other District 16 team also will reach states -- either the champion, or if Winchester wins the district title, the runner-up.
In the 2-1 win over Winchester, Brett Lyons threw a four-hitter and struck out seven. Mike Solbach, who initially joined the team just to pitch, tripled in both Dumfries runs in the sixth inning. Lyons fanned the side in the seventh to end the game.
The elder Lyons said Monday that he had not yet determined who would pitch the tournament opener against Remington, but Marcus Nalls, Solbach, Ryan O'Donnell and Brad Howard were among the possibilities.
"It's tough, like a flip of a coin," Lyons said. "I don't rate them. I kind of go by feel from practice during the week."
Rock 'n' Fire Set for Challenge
The 18-under Rock 'n' Fire softball team this week begins its most taxing stretch of the summer, playing in the Rising Stars Showcase tournament in Plantation, Fla., then heading to Pony Nationals in Raleigh, N.C., followed by the ASA Gold Nationals in Marietta, Ga.
The showcase tournament is expected to attract more than 250 college coaches. Among the most heavily recruited Rock 'n' Fire players are the team's pitchers -- Cristi Ecks (Osbourn) and Meredith Nelles from Wilmington, Del.
"The next three weeks will tell us where we are on a national level," said Rock 'n' Fire Coach Don Lyddane, whose 12-member team, now 27-5-3, includes 11 players who are young enough to have competed this summer at the 16-and-under level.
"We had a very strong season as 16-and-unders [last year] and had very good pitching and picked up another good pitcher in the fall," Lyddane said. "We thought that would keep us in most games, even though we're playing against girls two to three years older. Some of those girls just completed their freshman year in college, and some of ours just completed their sophomore year in high school."
Rock 'n' Fire has seven rising seniors and five rising juniors. Other than Ecks, the Prince William players on the team include Kat Beauvais (Osbourn Park), Amanda D'Attilio (Hylton), Sarah Himan (Hylton), Becky Horesky (Gar-Field), Adrienne Johnson (Osbourn Park), Alyssa Kemmerer (Osbourn), Brittney Lyddane (Osbourn Park) and Shyla Rider (Potomac).
Last weekend Rock 'n' Fire played in the NSA Mid-Atlantic championships in Allentown, Pa. They were scheduled to play about six games but only got in two in the rain-shortened event. Even so, they were crowned champions.
Also this summer, the team went 3-2-2 at the Louisville Slugger Independence Day Showcase in Boulder, Colo. And, in a tournament in Chesterfield, Va., Rock 'n' Fire played seven games in one day -- starting around 8 a.m. and sticking it out until after midnight -- to battle out of the loser's bracket and reach the championship.
Good Experience for Raiders
Forty-nine members of the Stonewall Jackson football program took part in a camp at North Carolina State last week, playing in about 45 seven-on-seven games against schools from throughout the South.
"You can't beat that experience," second-year Raiders coach Loren Johnson said. "Every year we want to travel and do something different."
The camp ran from July 14 to 17 and cost $276 per player, including bus fare.
In other Stonewall football news, Johnson said that 1,300-yard rusher Chris Garrett plans to visit Clemson this summer.