Spalding faces a must-win game against conference rival Mount de Sales Wednesday. The Cavaliers are second in the IAAM-A standings behind Seton Keough, and after taking down the Sailors, 5-2, at the beginning of April, they expect an intense rematch.

“They’ll be coming out and gunning for us, given how important that game is for us and for them,” Coach Nicki Trumpler said. “A win for them makes it a tie for second place. And they are not happy that we beat them earlier in the season.”

The Cavaliers (8-4) were close to being without four top players for the marquee matchup. One of the most interesting things about this year’s roster is the number of players who take part in Spalding’s competitive band, Trumpler said. She was the head coach in 2005 and 2006 then returned last year after a hiatus, and said this is the most musically-talented Cavaliers squad she’s seen.

It makes the other players more appreciative of the arts at the school, but can cause scheduling troubles if the band’s yearly music festival trip overlaps with crucial games. This year’s trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., would have taken a third of the roster for the second Mount de Sales game if the teams hadn’t rescheduled.

“The band at Spalding is amazing. They win so many awards, it’s kind of a unique thing to have these girls doing something equally as demanding,” Trumpler said. “Luckily we have no games scheduled during the festival so it worked out really good for them, but when tryouts come up they were all nervous about missing being part of something.”

Outfield and four-year varsity player Sara Mercado, who plays baritone sax and had a .625 batting average at the beginning of the month, said the team is happy with their spot in the standings. They’re in a good position but will still fight to stay above Mount de Sales, especially after the win three weeks ago, which was their biggest of the season, she said. Lauren Cosey had four RBIs in the game and Mercado had one.

“The team has been really close this year, and we all work well together and get along,” she said. “We’re both fighting for the top and we’re always close with them. Getting a good seeding to go to the playoffs is always the goal.”

Pitcher Alexandra Caulkins goes into Wednesday’s game against Mount de Sales after a five-RBI performance in a 16-2 win against Notre Dame Prep.

Bruins looking for redemption

Before the start of last season, Lake Braddock set a goal to end South County’s reign over the Patriot District. And after falling to the Stallions, 10-1, in late March, the Bruins bounced back to end South County’s streak of six straight district titles with a 4-1 win in last year’s final.

The newly crowned district champions faced Centreville four days later in the first round of the Virginia AAA Northern Region playoffs, but the Wildcats halted any hopes of a deep playoff run for Lake Braddock with a 4-1 victory.

On Saturday, No. 2 Lake Braddock (12-0) will host the Wildcats in the teams’ first meeting since the playoffs.

“We’re looking forward to Centreville, because they’re the ones that kicked us out last time,” Lake Braddock junior third baseman Amanda Hendrix said. “We want to show them how far we’ve come.”

Before they get a rematch with the Wildcats, the Bruins will meet Conference 7 rival No. 3 South County (11-1) on the road. The victor earns sole possession of first place, and the teams will meet again on April 29.

The Stallions lead the series 12-6 since 2006, but the teams have split the last eight meetings. In Thursday’s matchup, two of the best defenses in Northern Virginia will be on display; the Stallions have allowed six runs to go along with nine shutouts, while Lake Braddock has yielded seven runs and blanked eight opponents.

Hendrix, who earned all-state honors as a sophomore, leads a potent Bruins offense that averages 12.5 runs per game with team highs in RBI (18) and home runs (3), and she has a .535 batting average. And senior Ashley Flesch has 88 strikeouts in 45 innings pitched.

“It’s always a big rivalry between us,” Lake Braddock Coach George Rumore said of South County. “We’re liable to play each other three times this season. We both are pretty good teams, so there is a lot of excitement around the game.

The Post Top 10

Sherwood has yielded just four runs this season and has outscored its last three opponents 40-2....Lake Braddock has a big weekend ahead as it faces No. 3 South County Thursday and a Centreville team that knocked them out of last’s season’s playoffs Saturday....St. Mary’s Ryken currently sits in first in a wide-open WCAC race with a 7-0 mark in the conference. . . Madison bounced back from its first loss of the season to Langley to defeat Hayfield, 2-0, Tuesday. . . Battlefield takes in unbeaten record into a matchup Wednesday with rebuilding Stone Bridge.

1. Sherwood 8-0 LW: 1

2. Lake Braddock 11-0 LW: 2

3. South County 11-1 LW: 4

4. St. Mary’s Ryken 11-1 LW: 5

5. Northern 11-2 LW: 4

6. Madison 7-1 LW: 7

7. Battlefield 7-0 LW: 8

8. Paul VI 13-1 LW: NR

9. Chopticon 11-1 LW: 10

10. McLean 8-2 LW: 9

On the bubble: Georgetown Visitation (7-1), Mount Hebron (9-1), Langley (7-4)