HARRISONBURG — The Valley District postseason kicks off today and while some city/county teams will enjoy a first-round bye, others will be in action with their seasons on the line.
From the up-and-coming Turner Ashby baseball team to a Spotswood boys soccer squad aiming for a run to the Virginia High School League Class 3 state tournament, there are plenty of storylines to watch for over the next few weeks.
Here’s how each team stacks up entering the district tournaments:
1. Turner Ashby: The young Knights have come a long way since their early-season struggles and won seven of their last eight — including a 4-3 win over Broadway on Thursday to clinch the Valley District regular-season title — and are the hottest team in the district as postseason play begins.
2. Broadway: Despite finishing the season on a two-game losing streak, Broadway remains confident that it can right the ship and get things back on track for a deep playoff run.
3. Fort Defiance: As one of the more underrated teams in the Valley District, the Indians are a team to watch for this postseason as they’re finally fully healthy and loaded with enough talent to make a push for the district title.
4. Spotswood: Spotswood coach Marcus Davis has preached to his team the importance of playing its best baseball when the playoffs roll around, but the Trailblazers have now dropped five of their last six and will need to change things quickly with Rockbridge County coming to town tonight.
5. Rockbridge County: Much like Spotswood, the Wildcats have dropped five in a row and are playing poorly at the worst time possible with their season on the line.
6. Waynesboro: Waynesboro closed its season in exciting fashion with a 4-3 win over Broadway to snap the Gobblers’ 15-game winning streak, but will have a tough task with a first-round matchup against Fort Defiance.
1. Turner Ashby: The Knights dominated the Valley District for most of the regular season, but a 3-2 loss to Rockbridge County on May 7 proved they aren’t invincible and could be prone to an upset if they don’t take care of business.
2. Fort Defiance: If there’s a team most likely to knock off Turner Ashby this postseason, Fort Defiance may be it as the Indians have won eight of their last nine with their lone loss coming in a 1-0 setback to the Knights on April 26.
3. Rockbridge County: The Wildcats have come out of nowhere to win six of their last seven games and look the part of a team that could make some serious postseason noise after a middling regular-season campaign.
4. Broadway: Broadway standout pitcher Taylor Hankins is out for the season with a hand injury and while the Gobblers have done their part to compete without her, they don’t have quite as much firepower without the James Madison commit on the field.
5. Spotswood: The Trailblazers have had an up-and-down year in their first season under coach Brooke Hensley and have the potential to make a deep run, but will face a tough task against city/county foe Broadway in the opening round.
6. Waynesboro: It’s hard to see Waynesboro winning a postseason game after its struggles in the regular season, but the Little Giants do have enough bats to make things interesting in the first round against Rockbridge County.
1. Spotswood: With Harrisonburg not participating in the Valley District tournament, the Trailblazers are the best team in the field, but a 0-0 draw with Waynesboro on April 18 is evidence that nothing is a guarantee for this team.
2. Waynesboro: The Little Giants haven’t been able to put together more than two wins in a row all season, but somehow find themselves as the district’s No. 2 seed and could give Spotswood a push for the district title.
3. Broadway: Injuries hurt Broadway late in the year as the Gobblers lost three of their last four and will have to get this corrected quickly with Fort Defiance coming to town for a first-round battle.
4. Turner Ashby: The Knights have been inconsistent at times, but they ended their season with a 3-0 win over Broadway and could make a run in a district that appears to be wide open.
5. Rockbridge County: After winning three of its last four games, Rockbridge County could be primed for a first-round upset of Turner Ashby — a team it beat 4-1 on May 7 in Bridgewater.
6. Fort Defiance: It’s been a rough year for the Indians, who have lost 12 in a row entering the postseason, including the last two games by a combined score of 13-2.
1. Broadway: The Gobblers got back on track with three straight wins by a combined score of 12-0 to close the year and enter the postseason as the overwhelming favorite to capture the district crown.
2. Waynesboro: Despite being the youngest team in the district, the Little Giants have climbed to the No. 2 spot and will have a legitimate shot at dethroning Broadway, which it beat 1-0 on April 26.
3. Spotswood: It’s been somewhat of a disappointing year for Spotswood, but a 3-2 win over Fort Defiance in the regular-season finale showed this team still had potential when it puts it all together.
4. Fort Defiance: While the Indians didn’t close out the season the way they would have liked, they still have shown their ability to play with anybody at times this season and could be a threat for the district title.
5. Turner Ashby: As one of the more confusing teams in the league, Turner Ashby has struggled with consistency at times, but have also shown the ability to compete with anybody in the district.
6. Rockbridge County: The Wildcats have had a rough season, but a first-round matchup with Spotswood could give them a chance at an upset if they’re able to put it all together.