by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi
Lancaster High School’s new head junior varsity coaches are already familiar to baseball and softball fans. The two have been playing and coaching for LHS teams for years.
Will Barrack, head coach for the JV Devils’ baseball team, is a former LHS pitching standout and has been the assistant JV coach the past two years. Barrack, a 2010 LHS graduate, pitched at University of Massachusetts, Boston and has played seven years with the Deltaville Deltas. He takes over the head coaching duties this season with Lancaster substitute teacher Zac Stevens as his assistant.
A 1987 LHS graduate, Shannon Smith will assume the head coaching softball job. Smith has coached the Lancaster Middle School softball team for four years and was a varsity assistant for LHS for two years in the late 1990s. Smith also has coached Lancaster County Little League teams for 30 years and has served on the Little League board. Her husband, Bill Smith, is her assistant.
Sophomore Keith Elswick claimed the five-inning slaughter of Middlesex last Thursday when the Devils routed the Chargers, 29-4, in the season opener. Elswick struck out 11, gave up six hits and walked five.
Elswick leads a pitching staff of four, including freshmen Nick Wohleking, Luke Simpson and Tucker Vanderpool. Elswick is also one of five returners. When he’s not pitching, he’ll start at third base.
Eighth-grade newcomer Marshall Lee will start behind the plate, while Wohleking, also a first-year player, will start at first when he’s not on the mound.
Also starting in the infield at second will be eighth-grader TJ Waddy and freshman returner Chris Cunningham at shortstop.
Sophomore returners Blake Smith, Elijah Palmer and Vanderpool will start in the outfield. Simpson, a utility player, will pitch, play third and centerfield.
Also playing outfield will be sophomore Jae’Quan Veney and freshmen Dakotah George and De’Avion Harding.
Wohleking led Lancaster’s offense against Middlesex, going 5-for-6 with a double and eight RBIs. Simpson went 2-for-3 with a single and triple for three RBIs and Cunningham reached base six times on walks to score five times. Vanderpool had three hits and walked twice and Palmer had two hits, two walks and two RBIs.
The JV Devils have this week off and will travel to West Point Tuesday, March 28 for a 5 p.m. game.
Smith’s team includes 10 eighth-graders and two ninth-graders, making it a young team even by junior varsity standards.
She starts seven eighth-graders.
Pitching this season are freshman Rachel Woolard and eighth-grader Blair Smith. When one is on the mound the other will play second base.
Leighton McCranie is the only other freshman on the team and will start at third base.
Starting at first is Amanda Steensma and at shortstop is Madison Giese. Katherine Thomas will catch.
Smith’s starting fielders include Abria Jackson in left, McKenna Jones in center and Amaya Veney in right. Other fielders are Kayla Bishop, Dayla Reed and Zaire Nickens.
“We’re a very young team, but they play well together and have lots of potential,” said Smith.
After trailing 7-2 in their season opener last Thursday against Middlesex, the Lady Devils battled back to lose by a run, 11-10.
A positive in that outing was hitting, according to Smith.
Steensma went 4-for-4, while Thomas and Smith each had an in-the-park homerun. Thomas also had a double off a long ball to the centerfield fence.
Jackson and McCranie had two hits each and Giese had a triple.
“I was really pleased at how they didn’t give up and came back,” said Smith. “And everybody was hitting the ball.”
Lancaster will travel to West Point Tuesday, March 28, then host Rappahannock, Northumberland, Middlesex and Mathews in the Dream Fields Invitational March 30 through April 1.
JV BASEBALL/SOFTBALL SCHEDULE
- March 28 at West Point
- March 30-April 1 Dream Fields Invitational
- April 3 West Point
- April 7 at Rappahannock
- April 18 Essex
- April 19 at Colonial Beach
- April 21 at Mathews
- April 25 Washington & Lee
- April 28 at Northumberland
- May 2 Rappahannock
- May 4 at Essex
- May 9 Colonial Beach
- May 11 at Washington & Lee
- May 12 Middlesex
- May 16 Northumberland