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Prep Notebook: Appomattox's Layne commits to UVa, LCA's Rice now a 5-star recruit, and more

Prep Notebook: Appomattox's Layne commits to UVa, LCA's Rice now a 5-star recruit, and more

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For the second time within a week, Virginia has picked up a commitment from a Lynchburg-area pitcher.

Appomattox’s Courtney Layne has had her eye on UVa for a long time, so committing Monday was a dream come true for the junior. At UVa, she’ll eventually join two other hurlers from this area.

“I definitely wouldn’t be here without the love and support from people that have helped me along the way to get to where I am today,” Layne said, giving a shoutout to Raiders coach Janet Rawes and her travel softball coach, Nate Eaton.

Layne threw a perfect game in 2019 and was named Dogwood District pitcher of the year before missing her sophomore season because of the pandemic. As a freshman she posted a 0.34 ERA, the lowest in the Lynchburg area, and struck out 158 batters in 82 innings.

The southpaw shared the circle with former Raiders pitcher Kaleigh Hackett that season, but still managed to finish her first high school year with a 9-2 record. Layne’s perfect game was complemented by 13 strikeouts.

Her bread and butter rise ball is working well right now, she said, a product of working on her own and with her dad for several months during quarantine and then with her travel team during the summer.

Layne also has been developing a curveball she can use to paint the inside and outside corners.

Being left-handed, crafty and shorter than most pitchers, she said, has helped make her be more effective in the circle, since she works from completely different angles than most pitchers.

At UVa, Lane will join Brookville grad Madison Harris (a freshman) and Rustburg junior Eden Bigham. Bigham committed to UVa last week.

“I always came back [to UVa] whenever I’d look at other schools,” Layne said. “I felt at home when I walked on campus.”

Layne set an Appomattox school record for lowest ERA in a single season in 2019 and will be one of the area’s premier players to watch when the Raiders begin games next April.

LCA’s Rice now a 5-star recruit

Liberty Christian junior Zach Rice is now listed as a 5-star recruit by rivals.com and 247sports.com.

The 6-foot-6, 282 pounder is ranked the No. 3 offensive tackle in the U.S. and the No. 11 overall recruit nationally by Rivals.

He has received roughly 30 offers, including from Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, Michigan State, UVa and Virginia Tech.

He was a first team all-Region 3C and second team all-Seminole District selection as a sophomore.

Rustburg’s Hudnall commits to UL

Rustburg catcher Carly Hudnall has made her college decision to play at the University of Lynchburg.

The Red Devils senior will give the Hornets a strong bat and plenty of experience behind the plate. Hudnall hit a team-high .421 in 2019, with 32 hits.

Forest hurlers to lead similar paths

Left-handed Jefferson Forest senior Spencer Williams announced last month he will play at Gardner-Webb, joining senior righty Connor Maggi.

The duo, which will take the high school hill together for one more season when play begins next April, are just the latest JF products to play at the next level.

Wide receiver Blake turning heads

Jahee Blake, a 6-foot-5 receiver who has transferred from Heritage to Brookville for his senior season, has picked up offers from Army, Navy and VMI to go along with eight other Division 1 offers.

His presence will give Brookville a tall, speedy receiver to complement quarterback Drake McDaniel.

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