Royals ban sunflower seeds and peanuts

valley baseball league

The Winchester Royals of the Valley Baseball League made the difficult but necessary decision to ban sunflower seeds and peanuts from Bridgeforth Field.

The concessions stand removed those products and fans cannot bring their own.

The team made the decision to stay compliant in their agreement with Shenandoah University to use the newly renovated stadium and turf field.

SU had asked the Royals to keep the field in the same or better condition from when they started the season which includes keeping the surface clean of any peanut or sunflower seed shells.

Those shells can burrow into the surface over time and cause issues with the drainage system and lead to the growth of mold.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Light pole falls at Bridgeforth Field causing changes

valley baseball league

Wednesday June 22’s  storm caused a wooden light pole to fall at the newly renovated Bridgeforth Field in Winchester.

The pole fell on the third base side of the field barley missing the newly added batting cages.

The Winchester Royals announced this has caused changes in their schedule.

All future home games for the Royals will now start at 5 p.m. until the pole is reset.

That 5 p.m. start time includes today’s game June 27 against the Woodstock River Bandits.

The Winchester Royals will announce when that pole will be reset.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Light pole falls on Bridgeforth Field

valley baseball league

As a result of the storms on Wednesday, a wooden light pole fell onto a fence at the newly renovated Bridgeforth Field.

The pole fell on the third base side of the field and missed the batting cages that were a part of those renovations.

The issue forced the Royals to swap Thursday’s home game and a future home game with the Purcellville Cannons.

Saturday’s game against the Front Royal Cardinals was moved up from 7 pm to 5 pm.

All future home games expected to start at an earlier time until the light pole is fixed.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Sports Dogs Podcast: Wrapping Up SU Baseball w/ Kevin Anderson

In our latest SDPC, we put a bow on the Shenandoah University baseball season with Head Coach Kevin Anderson. We chat about the recent NCAA Regional tournament, the perennial success of the program, and the newly-renovated Bridgeforth Field.

Sports Dogs Podcast
Sports Dogs Podcast
Sports Dogs Podcast: Wrapping Up SU Baseball w/ Kevin Anderson
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Dead Skunk

Greetings From The Booth!

The Hornets are still playing baseball! Congrats to Kevin Anderson’s 34-10-1 squad, who rolled through the ODAC tournament this past weekend and captured their 4th league title, and now will make their 12th appearance in the NCAA Division-3 baseball tournament. On top of that, SU will host the opening round Regional tournament this coming Friday through Sunday at the newly-renovated Bridgeforth Field at Jim Barnett Park in Winchester. The other 3 teams are Stevens Tech, Catholic (DC) University, and St. Joseph. The Hornets will open Friday against St. Joe at 11am, kicking off what should be a great weekend of baseball. I urge everyone to come out and fill the stands and cheer on the Hornets!

I’ve been asked to do the public address announcing for some of the games this weekend, and look forward to returning to my announcing roots, so to speak. I am the long-time PA announcer for Shenandoah basketball (as well as the play-by-play voice for Hornet football), and that is my comfort zone. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve done public address duties from a baseball press box, so let’s take a trip back to the mid-70’s.

As a 14-15 year old playing in the Martinsburg (WV) Senior Little League, my love for baseball extended beyond the diamond up to the press box at Pikeside Field. I also had a love for radio announcing, and always dreamed of being a baseball play-by-play broadcaster. I used to simulate games into a tape recorder, using TV “white noise” as the crowd. The next best thing to doing PBP was PA announcing, and I was fortunate enough to be allowed to handle those duties on nights that I wasn’t playing. I was in heaven, putting my own style and spin on the announcements, starting lineups, etc.

But the thing that got the most comments and attention was my “5th inning stretch” song (games were only 7 innings, so there was no 7th inning stretch). In the booth at Pikeside was a record player, wired in to the PA system. This was used for the National Anthem, and songs between innings, usually pop hits of the day. I somehow stumbled upon the song “Dead Skunk” by Loudon Wainwright III, a fun, nonsensical tune about, you guessed it, roadkill. I decided to play it between innings one evening, and I could see everyone looking up into the booth with either an amused or puzzled expression. I played it again the next game, and the ritual picked up steam, finally becoming the 5th inning stretch song of the Martinsburg Senior Little League (at least when I was doing PA). The song became our version of the Baltimore Orioles’ “Thank God I’m A Country Boy.”

I’m not sure you’ll hear Dead Skunk this weekend at Bridgeforth Field, as someone else will be handling the music, but when I make my way up to the booth on Saturday, I’ll be looking for that record player…

Until the next visit from The Booth…GO HORNET BASEBALL!!!

RW

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

Sports Dogs: An SU Update With Scott Musa

It’s our monthly “State Of The Hornets” podcast with Scott Musa, Associate AD at Shenandoah University. It’s a great time to be a Hornet, as the Baseball team is nationally-ranked and off to a great start, and Women’s Basketball is still playing, as they get ready for their opening round NCAA playoff game. GO HORNETS!

RW

Sports Dogs Podcast
Sports Dogs Podcast
Sports Dogs: An SU Update With Scott Musa
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The Dak Attack

Greetings from The Booth!

OK, I think I’ve had enough snow now…for the rest of the season. If bedding down at the radio station on Sunday night and reading endless school announcements all this week wasn’t bad enough, I had to see a Facebook post from my friend Nick Ciattei, who’s soaking up the sun in Aruba! It’s his world, and I’m just living in it. The snow this week included a topping of ice, which made shoveling next to impossible. Hammering away at the icy glaze, I felt like part of the work gang at Shawshank. At 62, I decided to let nature take it’s course, which means I’ll see my driveway sometime in April.

If you need something to warm you up, Shenandoah University baseball opens up on February 12 at the newly-renovated Bridgeforth Field, and while we’ll still need to bundle up, it’ll be great to see a ballpark that finally befits that program.

Back to Sunday, which really wasn’t all that bad. I had the station to myself, I had my Papa John’s pie, and I was able to stream the 3 Super Wild Card games. As an added bonus, 2 of my least-favorite teams made quick playoff exits. The afternoon started with the nasty, drunken, stinkin’ Iggles losing to Brady & The Bucs 31-15 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score might imply. The ageless Tom Terrific and Tampa Bay cruised to a 31-0 lead and never looked back. Philadelphia, the NFL’s top rushing team, never got the ground game going early, and was made one-dimensional by virtue of the lopsided score.

What made me really happy, though, was the stunning Dallas loss to San Francisco, and the subsequent meltdown by the Cowboy fanbase, who once again blamed everyone else except their team for the defeat. This self-entitled bunch, who still think it’s 1996, will be watching someone else lift the Lombardi Trophy in a few weeks, while America’s Team still has only 3 playoff wins since it’s last Super Bowl title.

Rarely is a game won or lost on one play, but the ire of the Dallas reached it’s crescendo on the game’s final play on Sunday. Trailing 23-17 with no time outs, and about 20 seconds left with the ball near midfield, Cowboy QB Dak Prescott took a risk by running the ball in the middle of the field. Sliding near the 25 yard line and using up most of the time, Prescott tried to get his team lined up to spike the ball. The problem: the ball must be spotted by the official, and by the time he did that, time had run out. Game and season over. As the players and officials ran off the field, trash rained down in the vicinity of both. In his postgame comments, Prescott, who thought the garbage was being thrown at the Dallas players, called the fans’ actions “disappointing.” But when told the trash was aimed at the officials, Prescott did a “180” and gave credit to the fans.

Not a good look from the supposed leader of the team, who should have put the loss squarely on his own shoulders. And not a good look from the Dallas fans, who clearly didn’t know the rule about spotting the ball, and didn’t seem to remember the 14 Dallas penalties and other mistakes that contributed to the loss. For everyone associated with that organization, it’s time to look inward, not outward.

So, for the rest of the playoffs, we will be spared the endless TV camera shots of Cowboy owner Jerry Jones, as “America’s Team” once again makes it’s tee times. Which makes Winter a little more bearable…

Happy shoveling, and until the next visit from The Booth, GO HORNETS!

RW