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Region Roundup: Appomattox's Alex and Joe Caruso receive highest baseball honors in Class 2, and more

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Less than two weeks after the Appomattox baseball team won the program's first-ever state title, Raiders junior Alex Caruso and his father, coach Joe Caruso, have received the highest honors for the Virginia High School League's Class 2 division. 

Alex Caruso was named player of the year Wednesday afternoon, and Joe Caruso took home coach of the year honors. 

The Raiders, who defeated John Battle 4-2 in Salem on June 11, also placed three other players on the all-state first team: catcher Trey Shrock, second baseman Nate Dillon and pitcher/first baseman Hunter Garrett (who was an at-large selection). 

Alex Caruso, who was honored for his pitching duties, enjoyed a breakout campaign this season. The right-hander went 9-0 with a 1.76 ERA in 39⅔ innings, recorded one save and struck out 53 batters. Previously, he had been named the Region 2C player of the year. He threw a complete game in the state championship and drove in one run. Four of his victories occurred in the playoffs, three of them in relief appearances. The junior also hit .416 with 32 hits, two home runs and 32 runs batted in. 

Shrock, a junior, led the Raiders at the plate by hitting .467, with 35 hits, one homer and 16 RBIs from the leadoff spot. He stole a team-high 16 bases and finished the season with a team-best 35 runs scored. Schrock also posted an eye-popping 1.27 on-base plus slugging percentage. 

Dillon, a junior who recorded the final out of the state title game, hit .385, with 30 hits, 20 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. 

Garrett, a senior southpaw who threw a four-hit shutout in a 1-0 victory over Stuarts Draft in the state semifinals, went 5-1 with two saves. He posted a 1.69 ERA and struck out 50 in 41⅓ innings. He also hit .388, with 26 hits and 25 RBIs. He put the ball in play all season, striking out just three times in 80 plate appearances. 

Joe Caruso led Appomattox to a 23-1 record, the Dogwood District regular-season title and the region championship in addition to the state title. 

To view the complete all-state team, scroll to the bottom of this report. 

Rustburg’s Bigham, LCA’s Detwiler earn second-team all-state honors

Rustburg pitcher Eden Bigham added one more postseason honor to her career haul Wednesday when she was named to the Class 3 second team.

Bigham, a right-hander, was one of six pitchers selected to all-state teams in the division following her stellar senior campaign. She previously has been named Seminole District pitcher of the year and earned a first-team nod in Region 3C.

In helping the Red Devils to the Region 3C quarterfinals, Bigham posted a 17-3 record (13-0 in Seminole District play), seven shutouts and six no-hitters, including one perfect game. She allowed 35 hits and issued 19 walks while striking out 280 batters in 118 innings pitched (good for 16.6 Ks per seven innings).

As the season neared its end, Bigham broke the Rustburg record for career strikeouts held by her coach and mom, Katie Bigham, and finished with 852 Ks.

Through three seasons (with her sophomore season canceled because of the pandemic), the younger Bigham gave up 31 earned runs for a career 0.57 ERA to go with a strikeouts-per-seven-innings rate of 15.7, 17 total no hitters and six perfect games, and a 51-9 record. She also captured a state championship last year.

She will enter the VHSL record book near the top of at least seven single-season and career categories.

Liberty Christian junior Mia Detwiler was the lone girls soccer player from the area represented on the Class 3 all-state teams. She earned one of four spots for defenders on the second team, adding to the first-team all-Region 3C and all-Seminole District honors she previously picked up.

Detwiler helped LCA to a 13-7 record and trips to the Class 3 state quarterfinals and Region 3C championship game.

To view the complete all-state teams, scroll to the bottom of this report. 

GOLF

Libbey misses cut at VSGA Junior Match Play

A four-hole stretch prevented New Covenant rising junior Luke Libbey from advancing to the Round of 16 of the Virginia State Golf Association’s Junior Match Play Championship.

Libbey bogeyed Nos. 4, 6 and 7 in Wednesday’s second round of stroke play to fall back to even par for the round, then recorded back-to-back birdies to finish his round at 2-under 70 at Willow Oaks Country Club in Richmond.

His two-day aggregate total of 2-over 144 left him two shots out of the 16th and final spot for the match play rounds.

Libbey shot 4 over in the first round and quickly moved up the leaderboard in the second round. He made three straight birdies at Nos. 12, 13 and 14 to move to 1 over, and he was at 1 over through No. 3.

The trio of bogeys dropped Libbey to four shots back of the cut line and out of contention.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Eight Liberty players named to preseason all-independent team

Liberty was well represented on Phil Steele’s preseason all-independent team, with wide receiver DeMario Douglas named to the first and second teams, five others garnering first-team honors and two named to the second team.

Douglas is joined by running back Dae Dae Hunter, right guard Brendan Schlittler, defensive end TreShaun Clark, defensive tackle Kendy Charles and long snapper Austin Mock on the first team.

Douglas was a second-team selection as a punt returner. Wide receiver Caleb Snead (Heritage) and safety JaVon Scruggs (Appomattox) also are on the second team.

COLLEGE TRACK & FIELD

Liberty’s Doan, Lynchburg’s Davis and Fowler named Academic All-Americans

Liberty graduate Calli Doan and Lynchburg graduates Lizzie Davis and William Fowler were named to the track & field/cross country Academic All-American teams by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Lynchburg field hockey star Jackie Lerro, a grad student, also has earned academic All-America honors from the organization.

Doan was a Division I second-team selection. She joins her coach, Heather (Sagan) Zealand as the only two female track & field athletes in Liberty history to claim All-America and Academic All-America honors. Doan, who maintained a 3.99 GPA and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, was an All-American in cross country.

Davis picked up her second third-team Academic All-American honor of the season after previously garnering the honor in women’s basketball, and she is the first Lynchburg athlete to achieve that feat in the same season. She holds a 3.96 GPA as a biomedical science major and plans to attend medical school.

Fowler was a Division III men’s third-team selection. The Buchanan native graduated with a 3.99 GPA in UL’s environmental science program, and he led the Hornets to Old Dominion Athletic Conference titles in cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field. Fowler joins Ricky Flynn (2009-10) as the only two male UL athletes to merit Academic All-America distinction in cross country/track & field.

Lerro earned third-team honors from CoSIDA in the at-large division, which includes multiple minor sports. She was one of just 15 field hockey players across all NCAA divisions to earn the honor, and she's the only field hockey player in Division III to earn repeat recognition (also becoming the UL program's first to repeat).

In her five-year career at Lynchburg, Lerro helped UL to three ODAC titles and garnered four All-America honors and five all-region and All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference honors. Lerro earned her undergraduate degree in economics and philosophy with a 3.87 GPA and held a 3.9 GPA in the fall as she pursued a master's in business administration. 

MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Lynchburg-Delmarva postponed; playoff berth to be determined Thursday

Game 2 of the six-game series between Lynchburg and Delmarva originally scheduled for Wednesday evening in Salisbury, Maryland, has been postponed because of inclement weather. The Hillcats and Shorebirds now will play a doubleheader consisting of two seven-inning games starting at 5:35 p.m. Thursday. 

The twin bill will determine one of two playoff berths from the North Division. Lynchburg, Carolina, Salem and Fredericksburg are all in the hunt. A doubleheader sweep Thursday will give the Hillcats the playoff spot. Anything less than a sweep will knock them out of contention.


BASEBALL

Class 2 All-State Teams

Player of the Year: Alex Caruso, Appomattox

Coach of the Year: Joe Caruso, Appomattox

First Team: Pitcher — Alex Caruso (Appomattox), Isaac Berry (Virginia High), Evan Hankins (John Battle); Catcher — Trey Shrock (Appomattox); First Base — Tyson Tester (Wise Central); Second Base — Nate Dillon (Appomattox); Third Base — Justin Gunter (Buckingham); Shortstop — Porter Gobble (John Battle); Outfielder — Josh Marley (Poquoson), Jake Moore (Chatham), Drew Simmons (Richlands); Designated Hitter — Carter Babb (Gate City); At-Large — Ryan Jessee (Gate City), Hunter Garrett (Appomattox). 

Second Team: Pitcher — Max Fritts (Poquoson), Trey Deane (Madison County), Luke Skelton (Randolph-Henry); Catcher — Brandon Adamos (Nandua); First Base — Jayden Gee (Randolph-Henry), Second Base — Colt Cundiff (Amelia); Third Base — Robbie Check (Poquoson); Shortstop — Heath Andrews (James River); Outfielder — Cordell Broy (Clarke County), Brock Shelton (Amelia), Cam Newton (Buckingham County); Designated Hitter — Allen Brill (central Woodstock); At-Large — Hayden Fravel (Strasburg), Bradley Thomas (Marion). 

SOFTBALL

Class 3 All-State Teams

Player of the Year: McKenna Mueller, New Kent

Coach of the Year: Maria Bates, New Kent

First Team: Pitcher — Morgan Berg (New Kent), Rhyann Jones (Lord Botetourt), Lil Berry (Fort Defiance); Catcher — Ellie Post (Brentsville); First Base — Lauren Alley (Carroll County); Second Base — Bri Brooks (Tabb); Third Base — Natalie Quinlan (Brentsville); Shortstop — Jade Hylton (Bassett); Outfielder — McKenna Mueller (New Kent), Norah Murray (New Kent), Avery Shifflett (William Monroe); Designated Player/Flex — Kadyn Camper (Christiansburg); At-Large: Makenzie Cyzick (Turner Ashby); Hannah Tober (New Kent). 

Second Team: Pitcher — Eden Bigham (Rustburg), Tea Cornett (Brentsville), Kylie Cundiff (Cave Spring); Catcher — Emma Coldsnow (Tabb); First Base — Courtney Begoon (Fort Defiance); Second Base — Ella Bishop (Cave Spring); Third Base — Kendel Yates (Abingdon); Shortstop — Rachel Hill (William Monroe); Outfielder — Baylee Reasor (Christiansburg), Sydney Lyons (Turner Ashby), Maddy Tuck (William Byrd); Designated Player/Flex — Jasmine Price (Goochland); At-Large — Kirby Ransome (Fort Defiance), Brooke Atkins (Fort Defiance).

GIRLS SOCCER

Class 3 All-State Teams

Player of the Year: Brooke Potter, Lafayette

Coach of the Year: Kellie Ernst, Lafayette

First Team: Forward — Madison Fitzpatrick (Brentsville), Paige Sanchez (Hidden Valley), Brooke Potter (Lafayette), Audrey Atwell (York); Midfield — Cristina Valladares (Fluvanna), Emma Moyer (Lafayette), Peyton McGovern (Brentsville), Emma Jones (Northside); Defense — Jasmin Piggot (Lafayette), Naiya Holt (York), Carly O'Leary (Brentsville), Ava Brumfield (Lord Botetourt); At-Large — Madie Miller (Meridian), Jennny Calderon (York), Mary Haynes (Hidden Valley); Goalie — Ashley Hunt (York). 

Second Team: Forward — Morgan Smith (Magna Vista), Emma Rice (Lord Botetourt), Evelyn Demers (Fluvanna), Elizabeth Burns (Charlottesville); Midfield — Aubrey Case (Tabb), Maebel Blandford (Hidden Valley), Sydney Devory (William  Monroe), Sam Lynch (Lafayette); Defense — Mia Detwiler (Liberty Christian), Reagan Hunt (Lafayette), Anna Williamson (Meridian), Carley Pillar (Wilson Memorial); At-Large — Ellie Cook (Fort Defiance), Valentina Nardone (Brentsville), Chloe Turman (Abingdon); Goalie — Haley Garber (Brentsville). 

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