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Bay Rivers midseason report: Grafton enters second half with a shot at baseball and softball titles

Another season, another showcase for Grafton High athletic excellence. The Clippers, whose remarkable year includes a regional football title and appearance in the Group AA Division 4 boys basketball championship game, entered the week alone atop the Bay Rivers District in baseball and tied with perennial power Poquoson for first in softball.

Both sports are stocked with quality teams from first to eighth place, so there's lots of room for other contenders to join the championship fray. The one constant, as in most sports this school year, is that Grafton will be among the title hopefuls.

Below is our midseason review.

Baseball

MIDSEASON MVP | Kyrie Washington, Grafton, senior: The Longwood University signee and transfer from Lynchburg is batting .525 from the leadoff spot, with 21 hits: including two homers, seven doubles, two triples and 14 RBI. His speed is evident in his eight stolen bases in eight attempts and the considerable range he's shown in center field.

MIDSEASON POWER POLL

1. Grafton (10-0, 8-0): Washington, C.J Roth (.480) and Robbie Hiser (.450) are the big bats. Lane Thomas (5-0) and Blake Ream (2-0) are the top arms. Good in every phase, the Clippers pressure opponents with excellent speed.

2. York (7-1, 7-1): Tim Kelly is hitting superbly. If his sore shoulder heals enough to allow him to close on the mound, the 2011 AA state semifinalists have all the pieces for another deep postseason run.

3. Warhill (7-2, 6-1): Hunter Hux (.421 batting average), Sean Diven (.429), Teddy West (.375, 2-2 pitching) and Tyler Klinedinst (.368) have complemented a solid defense and steady pitching that includes three complete games by Mike Brumfield (3-0).

4. Jamestown (5-3, 5-3): East Carolina-bound ace Kyle Majette (8-2 in 2011) has not thrown a pitch because of a sore back. If he returns, the talented Eagles are a threat to reach the regionals again.

5. Poquoson (5-5, 4-4): The erstwhile pitching factory is thin again on the mound. But the Islanders have a star in SS Chase Pinder (.500 batting average, 17 hits), are fundamentally sound and battle.

6. Smithfield (3-4, 3-4): Eli Evans, Tyler Nelms, Bobby Dixon and Matthew Polak have combined to keep Smithfield competitive pitching-wise, but three close losses to higher-rated teams have hurt. Buggy Griffey has played well all around.

7. New Kent (4-6, 2-6): Close losses to Poquoson (by 4-3), Grafton (4-2), Jamestown (2-1), York (18-14) and Smithfield (6-4) have hurt, but this team is capable of being a spoiler if the bats liven up.

8. Lafayette (3-6, 2-6): Consecutive wins last week over Tabb and Jamestown are positive signs for the young Rams, who are getting improved pitching from Tyler Kirby and Zach Dorcy, and good at-bats from Tyler Wiltshire.

9. Tabb (1-7, 1-7): Ben Phifer (.350 batting average), a star in the Tigers run to the district tournament title, freshman CJ Freedman and Harley Page have played well for a team in complete rebuilding mode.

10. Bruton (1-6, 1-6): The Panthers broke a 39-game losing streak in beating Lafayette and lost a 14-13 heart-breaker to Tabb. Will Hailey, the star of the Lafayette win, has been productive at numerous positions.

Projected Region I tournament qualifiers: Grafton, York, Warhill.

Softball

MIDSEASON MVP | Maggie Tyler, Poquoson, senior: The Virginia Tech signee has been stellar on the pitching rubber. Through 10 games, she's 9-1 with 91 strikeouts in 67 innings. She's allowed just three earned runs (0.31 ERA), has thrown six shutouts, a perfect game and three 1-hitters. So feared a hitter is Tyler (.275, nine RBI), she's drawn 11 walks already.

MIDSEASON POWER POLL

1. Poquoson (9-1, 7-1 district): Tyler is getting support from a strong defense led by 3B Sydney Turner. Karlee Holzbach (.406 batting average), Logan Walker (.375), Holly Windham (.354) and Brooke Sarazin pace the offense.

2. Grafton (8-2, 7-1): The Clippers boast a deep pitching staff in Taylor Wiseman, Holly Huskey and Kerstin Roth, and strong defense. Hannah Olson (.450 batting average) and Huskey (.400) lead a potent batting order.

3. Jamestown (5-3, 5-3): Pitcher Tara Heatwole's pinpoint control, solid defense and good hitting at the bottom of the order have the Eagles thinking regionals. Sophomores Jessica Stone (.400) and Courtney Smith (.367) are the top hitters.

4. Smithfield (4-3, 4-3): Freshman pitcher Sydney Gay already is flashing star potential. Ditto for freshman outfielder Ashley Newman (.421 batting average). SS Alexis Pope (.348, nine RBI) and 2B Brooke Small have been steady.

5. New Kent (6-4, 4-4): The defending district champs had to replace plenty but are holding their own. Freshman pitcher Marisa Bush is getting strong backup from Sarah Barnett, Peyton Fleming, Kristin Colegrove and Karley Allen.

6. York (4-4, 4-4): The Falcons started slowly, but are hitting their stride behind the bat and pitching arm of Hannah Winfree. Maddie Rogerson, Kimmie Ashe and Julia Hare also are hitting well.

7. Warhill (3-4, 3-4): Winless last season, the Lions have become competitive behind the pitching and hitting of freshman Colby Norris (.400 batting average), the catching of Bridget Henzel (.417) and the leadership of SS Malinka Walters.

8. Tabb (3-5, 3-5): Kayla St. John isn't a natural pitcher, but she's improving. She is a natural hitter (.483 batting average) and has been great, while Casey Nicolette (.353) has been pretty good, too.

9. Bruton (3-7, 2-6): Coach Dave Falin is happy with the pride and work ethic Ashley Cicero (.400 batting average), Haley Gardner (.400), Katelyn McDonnell (.350), Erika Sluss (340) and the Panthers have displayed.

10. Lafayette (0-9, 0-8): The young Rams' closest game has been a 10-0 loss. But Maria Cotton, Jordan Stanley, Halie Lelie, Amanda Smith, Sarah Wright, Destiny Davis and the others continue to battle.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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