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700!

Greetings from The Booth!

As of this post, my NCAA bracket is still alive, but barely. Only one of my teams remains and that team would be Duke.  Almost no one I know believes my conspiracy theory that the NCAA set up the Blue Devils so that Coach K could win the whole shebang as he rides off into retirement. But here they are, 2 wins from the championship. Three of the number-one seeds have fallen by the wayside, with only Kansas remaining as a top-seed. The road gets a little tougher now for Duke, as they must face rival North Carolina in one National semifinal this coming Saturday. It was the Tar Heels that ruined Coach K’s final game at Cameron, so the Blue Devils will have a chance to turn the tables , and I think they will, and then complete the job Monday night.

Now…I finally get to congratulate Shenandoah University baseball coach Kevin Anderson on his 700th victory this past weekend. As I always say, you can look up the stats, but the amazing number for me is that the 700 wins came in just 23 seasons, 19 of those at SU. If you get out your calculator and do the math, that’s 30.4 wins per season! Coach Anderson’s winning percentage is .703 at Shenandoah, where he has compiled 553 of those victories. Hornet baseball is a dynasty, and I think a sometimes underappreciated one in the area.

It would be easy to say that great programs, once they are established, simply reload year after year. It’s not that easy, especially at the D-3 level, where athletic scholarships cannot be offered. With SU football and basketball, the sell is a bit easier, because of the top-notch facilities we have. I’ve travelled to a lot of schools in my almost 40 years of doing sports play-by-play, and there is no finer venue in D-3 than Shentel Stadium. And the Wilkins Center is the arena we’ve dreamed of for a long time.  Those facilities are a big part of the recruiting package.

With baseball, the premier athletic program at Shenandoah, not so much. Until recently, the Hornets dealt with a less than perfect situation, playing at off-campus Bridgeforth Field, which was run by the City of Winchester. Now, with the out-of-the-box partnership between SU and the city, the newly renovated Bridgeforth feels more like the Hornet’s home, and the upgraded digs will also be enjoyed by area high school sports teams. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, especially Coach Anderson, who now has his own top-notch facility to show off to potential recruits.

I urge you to get to a Shenandoah baseball game this Spring and see one of the top programs in the nation, and one of the best coaches in the land. Here’s to the next 700, Kevin!

Until the next visit from The Booth…GO HORNETS!  RW

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