The Week in Review:
Best Frontrunners: The red hot Washington Nationals (41-29) spend yet another week atop the NL East division and actually open some breathing room in the tightest pennant race this season. Behind another solid performance from pitching ace Livan Hernandez (10-2), the Nationals score a 7-4 road victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates Monday, June 20 to extend their lead to three games over the Philadelphia Phillies. "The confidence continues to build with each win. If they have to be one-run games, that's the way we have to play them," manager Frank Robinson told MLB.com after a 1-0 road triumph over the Los Angeles Angels Wednesday, June 15. "One-run games are just the norm of this club. It's not the exception."
Worst Case of Deja Vu : The state championship game is considered the grandest of all stages in high school athletics, the culmination of every young athlete's dreams. For the Albemarle High School lacrosse program, however, this one single game has developed into a nightmare of epic proportions. Both the boys' and girls' teams continue to capture their own respective regional championships, only to see their hopes die in a lopsided loss to some northern Virginia powerhouse.
The 2005 season continued the curse as the boys fell to Oakton 16-10 in their eighth consecutive state title game loss, while the girls suffered a 20-4 rout at the hands of W.T. Woodson in their fourth straight championship game Saturday, June 11 in Fairfax. Oakton jumped all over AHS early, with six unanswered goals in the first quarter, and the Patriots could not recover. "There's nothing like experience in these situations and we can't get that," coach Scott Neese told The Daily Progress. "It's unfair to my kids, terribly unfair." The young Lady Patriots squad was decimated by W.T. Woodson's senior scoring machine, as UVA-bound Woodson senior attacker Ashley McCulloch torched AHS with seven goals to notch a 100-goal season. "We've had some high spots and some low spots [this season], but it's always good to end up in the championship game," first year AHS coach Natalie Wood told the Progress.
Best Father's Day Family Man: Despite his love for basketball, coaching, and UVA's women's basketball program, Debbie Ryan's assistant coach Tim Taylor elected to resign from his position Friday, June 10. Taylor began his 16-year coaching career at his alma matter, Madison County High School, in 1989 before joining Ryan at UVA in 2000. Taylor cited family reasons as the major factor in his decision.
Ugliest Baseball: While baseball is brighter than ever to the north, the defending International League South Division champion Richmond Braves now find themselves in the league's cellar. Halfway through the season, the Braves stand a dismal 25-46, and trail the division leading Norfolk Tides by a seemingly hopeless 15 games.
The Week Ahead:
Nationals (41-29) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (31-37)
Friday, June 24 @ 7:05pm
Saturday, June 25 @ 7:05pm
Sunday, June 26 @ 1:05pm
Catch a glimpse of possible history in the making as this amazing expansion team charges ahead. Tickets $7-$45.
Richmond Braves (25-46) vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (34-35)
Friday, June 24 @ 7pm
Saturday, June 25 @ 7pm
Sunday, June 26 @ 2pm
Monday, June 27 @ 7pm
A cheaper, and more relaxed baseball atmosphere. Tickets $3-9.
Washington Mystics (4-6)
vs. Sacramento Monarchs (8-2)
Sunday, June 26 @ 3pm
vs. Charlotte Sting (1-8)
Thursday, June 30 @ 7pm
The Mystics meet the best and worst of the WNBA so far this season. Tickets: $8-20.