With just a baseball scrimmage last week to open the season, Northumberland play for the 2022 spring sports blasts out of the starting gate with all teams set to play this week. That’s guys baseball, girls softball as well as soccer and track for both. Whatever suits your fancy for high school spring sports will be available to you this week at Northumberland, just pick the day and enjoy high school sports at its best.

The Northern Neck has always been strong in both baseball and softball within 1A play in the state of Virginia with a number of state championship teams including a guy’s baseball champion team from Northumberland and several appearances in state-level play by both the guys and gals. From early practice sessions, this trend will hold true for the 2022 season.

With the weather as changeable as it is this time of year, fans are advised to check both schedules and with individual teams. Case in point, last Tuesday’s scrimmage against Rappahannock High in Warsaw was rained out. Friday, both the guys baseball and ladies softball teams were scheduled for scrimmage games at Highland Springs High School in Richmond. The softball game was cancelled due to field conditions at Highland Springs.

“It was a practice situation. We pitched well, neither team hit the ball well,” the new head coach Mike Baker, said of the guys team. The Indians have six seniors and several juniors and Baker expects his team to be competitive.

Regarding the ladies, new head softball coach Skip Grandstaff feels they are ready to play. “We’re good,” he stated, adding, “We are going to surprise a lot of people.”

“We’re making good contact with the ball. I’m really pleased with the girls,” he added.

Baseball and softball have always been a strong suit in the Northern Neck District play. And teams have the state championship playoffs to prove it. Plus, they have state championship trophies to further prove their point.

This season, which begins in earnest this week, seems to be no different than the past years. Both girls softball and guys baseball appear to be ready for another run for that championship trophy.

The guys under the watchful eye of coach Jim Bieger will open early in the week against an opponent not seen over the past couple of years, 2A King William. The guys return 13 players from last year’s squad that finished second in the Region 1A East championships game to Essex. This year’s team has 11 seniors, two juniors and two freshmen.

Asked what will be the toughest this season within the district, coach Bieger swiftly replied, “Every game in the Northern Neck District.” He recognizes the NND is “one of the best 1A districts in the state.” He also said the Raiders will return their entire starting line- ups from a team that was second in the region.

On the ladies side, the Raiders return most of their starting line-up with new faces at only three positions according to coach Ellen Gaines. She expects the Lady Raiders to be “pretty good with most of my team back from last year.” That sounds like very much of an understatement with the ladies in red and white also opening at King William.

Basketball honors

In winter sports news, the All Region 1A basketball honors have been released.

For the guys, senior Demetrius Parker with a season scoring average of 11.7 in 19 games was a second team selection. On the ladies side, the Rappahannock girls had two first team selections in juniors Candace Slaw and Nakiya West.

West had a 7.7 scoring average over the 21 games she participated in. She also hit on 15 three-pointers. Slaw was the district’s leading scorer with a 22.5 scoring average over 22 games and also the district’s leading three-point shooter with 20 this season. She was the Player of the Year for the Northern Neck district.