Greetings from The Booth!

As June replaces May and Summer unofficially begins this week with 90-degree temperatures, I thought I would cover multiple subjects in the latest VFB. First, congrats to Shenandoah University’s Tucker Kindig, who earned All-America status last weekend at the NCAA D-3 Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Geneva, Ohio. His hammer throw earned him an eighth-place finish, good enough for the accolade. Kindig also shines in the classroom, with a 3.78 overall GPA. We don’t give the Track & Field athletes enough notoriety, so we right a great wrong here and put Tucker in the limelight. The All-America honor is the first in (Outdoor) program history, and it is well-deserved!

The awards continue to roll in for SU Baseball, which just wrapped up a stellar 37-12-1 season. Five Hornets were named to the NCAA All-Region team: Pearce Bucher, Kyle Lisa, Frankie Ritter, Calvin Pastel, and Henry Delavergne were honored by either the ABCA or d3baseball.com, with Lisa being named to the second team by both organizations. All five were named All-ODAC, and I’m sure all five would trade all that hardware for a chance to still be playing for a National Championship. Still, great rewards for a great season.

Speaking of baseball, it’s going to be a long hot Summer if you are a Washington Nationals fan. As of this writing, the team is 18-34 and haven’t scored a run in 21 innings. This is not the same as the 19-31 start in 2019, when the Nats recovered and won the World Series. This is clearly a rebuild for GM Mike Rizzo, and I think the best way for Nationals fans to tolerate what looks like a last-place finish in the NL East is to enjoy the young stars like pitcher Josiah Gray, who looks like he is going to be a keeper. Pitcher Erick Fedde seems to have come into his own after several struggling campaigns, and right now is clearly the ace of the staff. Josh Bell has been a mainstay, and Juan Soto is a superstar worth the price of admission. Now, if we could just get Stephen Strasburg back on the field…

Finally, staying in baseball mode, the boys are back in town, as we begin another season of Valley Baseball League action. For the next couple of months, players from all over the country will converge on communities like Winchester, Front Royal, Strasburg, and Woodstock and hone their craft in hopes of making “the show.” The VBL is, after all, “The Gateway To The Majors.” Lifetime bonds are formed with host families, as nightly games are played in quaint ballparks all over the Valley, as teams vie for the Lineweaver Cup in early August. This slice of Americana won’t last long, so get to a game or two before the Summer is over. I believe I just wrote a Country Time Lemonade commercial…so grab a tall glass and enjoy the game as the sun sets over Bridgeforth Field, The Bing, and Luxurious Rebel Park!

Until the next visit from (the air-conditioned) Booth…PLAY BALL!