Lineweaver Cup at end of Valley League rainbow
PURCELLVILLE, Va. — Of the 11 teams in the Valley Baseball League (Virginia) vying for the 2019 championship, eight of them began their quest in the playoffs this week.
Only Purcellville, Front Royal and Harrisonburg failed to qualify for the postseason.
At the conclusion of the three rounds of playoff games, the eventual survivor can claim the Lineweaver Cup and be crowned the champion of the Valley Baseball League.
In the South Division, the Waynesboro Generals had the league’s best record, going 30-11, with one regular season game remaining. The Generals will face fourth-place Staunton (only 19-23) in the first round of the playoffs.
Second-place Charlottesville had another fine season, going 25-17. The Tom Sox host third-place Covington (20-21 with a game left) in the playoff’s opening round.
The winners of those two early-round series will play each other in the Cup semifinals.
In the North Division, the Strasburg Express (26-15 with one game left) edged second-place Woodstock (25-17) for that division’s best record.
Strasburg plays the fourth-place Winchester Rebels (18-24) in the opening round. Winchester had a crucial late-season win on the road at Purcellville to even reach the playoffs. The Royals held a one-game lead over the Cannons and a loss at Fireman’s Field would have left them in a flat-footed tie with the struggling Cannons.
Purcellville dropped four straight games, when it had but six games remaining to fall out of contention.
The River Bandits of Woodstock (25-17) were edged by one game for the top spot in the North Division. They will host the New Market Rebels (19-23), which edged fourth-place Staunton (19-23) in the first round. Staunton had a doubleheader on the road at Purcellville and gained a split of those two games to narrowly keep the Harrisonburg Turks (18-24) out of the postseason. Staunton was the summer home of Shepherd pitcher Eric O’Brien, who yielded three runs in one inning against Purcellville in his final regular season assignment. O’Brien finished the season with a 6.56 ERA.
With the regular season ending, some players leave their teams and return home or back to their respective colleges. Often, the team that can keep its regular season roster intact can go on and win the Lineweaver Cup.