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JON FLEMING | Special to The Roanoke Times
Zach Mineroldi has been a standout this season for Salem High School both as a pitcher and hitter.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Jamie Garst had mixed feelings when he announced he was leaving teaching and coaching baseball at Salem High School for an assistant principal's post at Andrew Lewis Middle.
Garst had no conflicted emotions whatsoever when it came to discussing Spartans senior Zach Mineroldi.
"He has been outstanding, just outstanding," Garst said.
Tough, too. Pitching in a 9-5 loss to against Hidden Valley Tuesday, he took a shot back to the box off the inside of his right foot and eventually could not continue. A left-hander, Mineroldi lands on his right foot.
Entering Thursday's game with Pulaski County, Mineroldi was hitting .480 and has had two 4-for-4 games. Pitching, he has a 4-2 record and has struck out 48 batters. Mineroldi has decided to continue playing baseball at Ferrum next season. He also looked as several junior colleges, Garst said.
As for the coach, he's enjoying his last few games on the job. Going into Thursday, the Spartans were 6-12, 3-5 in the district making them 13-25, 7-11 over the past two years.
"It's been a tremendous experience for me," Garst said. "Telling my team a couple of weeks ago that I had gotten the job was difficult, very difficult. It's very bittersweet. It's the right thing for my family but it's tough to leave these kids who I've put so much time and effort into working with. I've had great kids to work with."
Milestone in Low Moor
Alleghany coach Gary Rice recorded his 500th career victory when the Mountaineers beat Lord Botetourt 11-1 Wednesday. That puts him fourth on the list for career Virginia High School League coaching wins, one behind Timesland leader Jim Cutler, the former Liberty coach. Next up the rankings is second-place Jim Snow of Menchville with 517. Mack Shupe's 569 tops all, most of them at old J.J. Kelly.
A large collection of current and former Timesland players partially make up the roster for the upcoming edition of the Roanoke Rails of the Carolina-Virginia Collegiate Summer League.
Among those with local ties are former Timesland players of the year Tyler Duke (James River/James Madison University) and Dylan Raymond (Giles/Bluefield State). A couple of 2012 first-team Timesland picks, Ben Fraley (Blacksburg/Walters State) and Will Cline (Lord Botetourt/UVa-Wise) will also play for the Rails.
Cline, an LB senior this year, is among a group of newcomers to the Rails. Others include graduating high school players Michael Mnich (Lord Botetourt/Alderson-Broaduss), Zack Kelly (Lord Botetourt/Concord) and Austin Lowman (Patrick Henry/Randolph).
Other former Timesland players include Brian Kluge (Cave Spring/Roanoke), Bradley Mattox (William Byrd/Roanoke), Mark Manthe (Blacksburg/Roanoke), Zach Folger (Jefferson Forest/Roanoke), Nick Sburlati (Blacksburg /Roanoke), Jacob Clifton (William Byrd/Roanoke), Trent Cundiff (Northside/James Madison), Nic Love (Staunton River/Patrick Henry Community College), Roy Sanford (Salem/PHCC), Dylan Powers (Lord Botetourt/East Tennessee State), Andrew Tucker (James River/Hampden-Sydney), Aaron Stidham (William Byrd/Hampden-Sydney), Will Kaufman (PH/California, Pa.), Lincoln Evans (Lord Botetourt/Lynchburg), and Easton Riggs (William Byrd/Ferrum).
The new Rails coach is Jeremy Sink. The team plays its first game May 25, at Fuquay-Varina, N.C.
For the third time in four seasons, a late surge has carried Patrick Henry into the Group AAA Northwest Region playoffs.
The Patriots entertain Franklin County at 5 p.m. today for the Western Valley District tournament title. Both teams advance to regionals next week.
It's been quite the week for PH, which will be playing its fourth game in five days. In earlier games against George Washington, Franklin County, and Halifax County, PH won all three by a combined score of 43-34. The game against the Comets was the district tournament opener. The Patriots (7-13) have won four of their last six.
One big reason for PH still being alive is the bat of Britt Dunnavant, who is hitting .544 (37-68) with 29 runs scored, three triples, seven doubles, 16 RBIs, 13 walks, and an on base percentage of .631. He has struck out eight times in 84 plate appearances. It's the highest batting average at PH since Yates Sayers four years ago.
Dunnavant will be going to Virginia as a student with no more plans to play baseball, according to Patriots coach Aaron Haigler.
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