In the past few years, the University of Virginia baseball team has emerged from the cellar of the Atlantic Coast Conference into one of the league's top teams. It is that fact alone that makes Matt Street, a former standout at Loudoun Valley, pleased with his first three seasons with the Cavaliers.
"I don't have the greatest stats or anything; pretty much I'm just hoping that we win," Street said. "I guess I've been helping, or I like to think so."
Street, a three-year starter for the Cavaliers, batted .283 and added a team-best 19 steals in 22 attempts last season as Virginia advanced to the NCAA tournament.
Street is spending this summer playing for the Loudoun Rangers, a member of the Valley League, a wood-bat league for college players. In 10 games for the Rangers, Street is batting .242.
Summer ball is "pretty much to keep playing," Street said. "That's really important to getting better in baseball, to play as many games as you can."
Street sat out the first month of the Rangers' season to rest an injured right hand, which he broke in two spots twice during the college season. In March, Street broke a bone in his right hand, and while playing through that pain for most of the season, he injured his right knuckle in a game in May.
After a month off this summer, Street says he is now back to "about 98 or 99 percent."
Despite the pain, Street stayed in the Cavaliers' lineup as they tied a school record for wins in a season (44) and shattered the school record with 18 conference victories.
The Cavaliers advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1996, and they hosted an NCAA regional for the first time.
"It was really a breath of fresh air," Street said of Virginia's season. "A lot of that is that we got a new set of coaches, and we really had a winning attitude. . . . I really can't say I was that surprised. I always knew we had the talent."
Street redshirted his freshman season and is eligible to play a postgraduate season next year. He said that if the opportunity were to arise to play professionally, he would go for it. His brother, Dan, also a former player at Virginia, was in the Colorado Rockies organization for parts of three seasons.
"I would definitely jump at that opportunity if it came," Street said.
Winchester Leads the Pack
The District 16 American Legion tournament begins tomorrow, and once again local teams will be trying to catch up to Winchester Post 21, which has won the past three district titles and was state runner-up in 2002.
Winchester is 20-5 overall, 13-2 in District 16. It is in first place in the East Division, which includes third-place Middleburg Post 295 (12-10, 6-7) and fourth-place Warrenton Post 72 (5-10, 5-10).
Forest Park Post 28 (13-4, 13-4) leads the West Division; Remington Post 247 (2-16, 2-16) is last in the six-team division and will not qualify for the eight-team tournament.
"On paper I thought we had a good team, but it just never came together," Remington Coach Scott O'Brien said. "We weren't giving up a lot of runs, but we weren't scoring a lot of runs."