LNA 04112019 Chrsitian Gordon01.JPG

LCA player Christian Gordon pitches at a game between LCA and Brookville, in Lynchburg, on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Taylor Irby/The News & Advance)

Ten area high school teams will play in state tournament games tonight. Nine local games are on the schedule. Two Lynchburg-area squads, Staunton River and Liberty in softball, play each other. One team, E.C. Glass boys lacrosse, will try to punch its way into the state finals. Everyone else is vying for state semifinal spots across four sports.

Baseball

Kettle Run at Liberty Christian

WHAT: Class 4 state quarterfinals

WHEN: 6 p.m.

FACTS: The last time the Cougars from Nokesville walked into Lynchburg, they suffered a season-ending defeat to E.C. Glass. That was in the 2017 playoffs. Now Kettle Run (15-9) faces a tall task in LCA (24-1), which is vying for its second state title in three years. The Bulldogs weren’t challenged by Salem in the Region 4D title game but did face trouble in the semifinal, when it squeaked out a dramatic 1-0 win over William Byrd thanks to a sixth-inning home run by Luke Ramsey. The LCA offense is capable of busting loose, with power hitters like Quade Tomlin and Pell Collins. But it’s the pitching, in the form of ace Christian Gordon and Emmanuel Johnson, that can shut the door on opponents. If the pitchers can get a few runs tonight, LCA should roll into the semifinals.

Brookville at Lord Botetourt

WHAT: Class 3 state quarterfinals

WHEN: 6 p.m.

FACTS: Brookville’s offense was stymied in the Region 3C championship, so the Bees need to get back to form if they want to advance to the semifinals. The good news is ace Brennan Abbott (8-0, 1.13 ERA and 112 Ks in 55.1 innings pitched) is available tonight. He’ll have backups in starters Brock Duff and Jed Howard, but the Bees want to avoid going too deep into the bullpen if this one is close. Catcher Jared Glinski leads Brookville with a .377 batting average, while Kyle Hammock (.339) and leadoff hitter Zach Thompson (.329) also serve as the main offensive threats. Newcomer Kevin Breimann, fresh up from JV, gives the lineup a punch. He’s hitting .333, with six hits in 18 at-bats.

Appomattox at Lebanon

WHAT: Class 2 state quarterfinals

WHEN: 6 p.m.

FACTS: It’s been an impressive postseason run for the Raiders (13-11), especially after a dismal 1-4 start to the season. They defeated Dan River and Fort Chiswell to notch an automatic state berth before falling to Chatham 6-5 in the Region 2C championship. Appomattox is at its best when getting offensive production from players like Dennis Ward, Luke Olimpio, Conner Patterson and Jacob Johnson. The Raiders have to avoid the streaky play that defined much of the season. That might be difficult against the favored Pioneers (22-2), who outscored opponents in three games of the Region 2D tournament 33-6 to take that title.

William Campbell at Lancaster

WHAT: Class 1 state quarterfinals

WHEN: 6 p.m.

FACTS: A narrow loss to Riverheads in the Region 1B title game puts the Generals on the road today for a bus ride of 3 hours and 30 minutes. Things have been up and down for William Campbell (10-11), but the Generals also have won four of their last five. Eric Hanson (4.26 batting average), Brennan Stone (.315) and Chris Wilson (.311) lead WC into state play, while Stone (6-3), 3.31 ERA) and Colten Allen (3-1, 3.55) have been mainstays on the mound. Beyond those two pitchers, things get rather dicey. Lancaster enters at 18-3, has won eight of its last 10 and posted two shutout victories to claim last week’s Region 1A title.

Softball

Amherst at Woodgrove

WHAT: Class 4 state quarterfinals

WHEN: 6 p.m.

FACTS: The surprising and gutsy Lancers are one of two Seminole District softball teams left in the postseason mix. In addition to some lopsided losses and blowout wins, Amherst lost four Seminole games (five overall) by just one run. The challenge tonight will be to perform well after a three-hour bus ride to Purcellville against a team that boasts a 20-5 record. The Wolverines clawed their way to a 7-5 victory over Riverside in the Region 4C title game and have won six of their last seven by an average of 8.8 runs. If anything, Amherst has been tempered by life in the tough Seminole. Elizabeth Carter can stifle hitters from the circle, while hitters like Mikayla Cashwell, Jazmyne Smith and Madison Hudson can provide the pop.

Staunton River at Liberty

WHAT: Class 3 state quarterfinals

WHEN: 7 p.m.

FACTS: This one is not to be missed. It’s a Bedford County rematch of last year’s state quarterfinal game, when the Minettes ended the Golden Eagles' season with a 6-0 victory. This one has a familiar feel, especially from the circle, where Liberty’s Millie Thompson and SRHS hurler Avery Adkins once again go head to head. The Golden Eagles (15-10) punched their state ticket by defeating Tunstall in the Region 3D semifinals, then fell to Cave Spring in the region title game, sending them to a road state contest. Liberty (19-6) has the advantage in a couple ways: It’s played a grueling schedule that includes top-tier Seminole opponents night after night and features the gritty Thompson, one of the state’s best pitchers. After a season that featured more challenges than it did one year ago, the junior lefty has shut down the opposition in recent weeks. LHS won the regular-season meeting against SRHS 9-2.

Boys Lacrosse

Western Albemarle at E.C. Glass

WHAT: Class 4 state semifinals

WHEN: 7 p.m.

FACTS: The only team still playing in Hilltoppers Country looks to keep an impressive postseason run going tonight against the Warriors, who dispatched Jefferson Forest from the Class 4 state tournament Saturday. After outscoring opponents 57-5 in three region games, Glass smacked Midlothian 14-7 in the state quarterfinal round last week. These two teams did not face off in the regular season, but they do have four common opponents: Forest, Salem, Patrick Henry (Roanoke) and Atlee. Both Western Albemarle (14-5) and Glass defeated all those teams except Class 5 powerhouse Atlee. Expect this one to be much tighter for the Hilltoppers (16-2). Except for the loss to Atlee, WA has been in every game and was the state runner-up in 2015 and 2016. Glass’ defense will have to shine tonight, and the offense — led by players like Matthew Gallagher, Wyatt Hamilton, Owen Ahrens and Andrew Kayes — needs yet another strong showing.

Girls Soccer

Woodgrove at Jefferson Forest

WHAT: Class 4 state quarterfinals

WHEN: 7 p.m.

FACTS: Woodgrove is attempting to make it back to the state finals this weekend for the first time since 2013, when it celebrated its second straight state title. Jefferson Forest is on a mission to win its second state championship in three years. The Purcellville-based Wolverines (13-1-3) picked a bad time to suffer their first loss of the season. It came in last week’s Region 4C finals, to Loudoun County, which gave WHS the unfortunate task of playing at JF. Still, expect a barnburner tonight. Forest (20-0) looks to counter Woodgove’s strengths — players Dulles District player of the year Sydney Schnell and Rachel Castro — with athleticism of their own: determined standouts like Sophia Palladino, Olivia Magenbauer and Evelyn Goodwill.

Boys Soccer

Altavista at Rappahannock

WHAT: Class 1 state quarterfinals

WHEN: 6 p.m.

FACTS: The last boys soccer team standing in the area is trying to continue an improbable state tournament run after falling to Stonewall Jackson 4-1 in the Region 1B title game over the weekend. Adam Schubert scored the Colonels lone goal in that one. Altavista needs more production tonight against the Region 1A champs. The Raiders thrashed Washington & Lee in their region semis and then shut down Northumberland for the title.

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Ben Cates covers high school sports for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5527. 

Ben Cates covers high school sports for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5527.

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