Taking a cue from pitchers Stephen Cooke, Janson Carr, and Charles Neely the Winchester Royals moved to the lead in the Valley Baseball League.
The Royals won their first three games, but then dropped the next two. Cooke, Carr, and Neely had all gotten credit for wins in their first starts of the summer. When their time came to pitch again, all three won again . . . and Winchester had its six wins against only two losses.
Trailing the Royals by a game was Front Royal, which had lost both the games it had already played against Winchester. The Cardinals were 5-3 and tied for second in the North Division with Woodstock.
The rest of the North Division found Strasburg (3-4 overall), Haymarket (3-5), and Luray (1-6) trailing the others.
Rockbridge, Covington, New Market, Staunton, Waynesboro, and Harrisonburg are the six teams in the South Division.
Cooke plays at Indiana of Pennsylvania, Carr at Southern Arkansas, and Neely at Saint Leo in Florida.
There are four players on Winchester’s roster from West Virginia University.
Outfielder Brady Wilson returns after playing for the Royals in 2011. He had started four of the team’s six games and was batting .200 with three hits in 15 at-bats. Wilson will be a senior at WVU in 2013.
Catcher Alan Filauro had started three of the six games. He was 5-for-12 and batting .417. He will also be a senior next season.
Both Justin Fox and Ryan Bennett are utility players. Fox just completed his freshman year in Morgantown. He had three starts with the Royals and was 6-for-13 for a .462 batting average. Bennett played at Martinsburg High and is a second baseman/outfielder. He was 3-for-9 in his two starts and had a .333 batting average.
Infielder/pitcher Zach Woolcock is from Martinsburg and just completed his freshman season at Radford. Woolcock was hitless in his first 12 at-bats.
When the season was just four games along the Royals had an influx of new players arriving from their respective colleges. Josh Powers and Garrett Russini came from Stetson in Florida, Ethan Harris and Logan Moon came in from Central Arkansas, and James Baune is from Southern Arkansas.
Winchester doesn’t have any players on its pre-season roster from the 16 Division I schools playing in the Super Regionals that lead to this week’s College World Series, which begins in Omaha on Friday.
The Valley League uses wooden bats. All the players on the 12 teams have remaining collegiate eligibility. This summer’s regular season carries through to the end of July. The annual playoffs crown the official league champion in early August.
Winchester plays its games at Bridgeforth Field located in Jim Barnett Park. The Royals start their home games at 7 p.m.