November 27, 2022

From staff reports

Liberty High baseball coach Jim Cutler will be inducted into the inaugural class of the Virginia Baseball Coaches Association next month, the organization announced Tuesday.

Cutler, who led the Minutemen from 1961 to 2005, will be enshrined as part of a class of 10 on Dec. 9 at the VBCA’s annual convention in Fairfax.

Cutler ranks fifth all-time among Virginia High School League coaches with 513 wins. Known as “Mr. Baseball” in Bedford, Cutler recorded 38 winning seasons during his 45-year head coaching career and 15 Seminole District titles. He also guided the Minutemen to the 1977 Group AA state championship.

This is the third hall of fame honor for Cutler, who is a member of the VHSL and Salem/Roanoke baseball halls. He was also named Virginia State Coach of the Year in 1996. His memoir, “The Life of Mr. Baseball,” was published in 2021.

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Other baseball coaches to be inducted include:

  • Ron Atkinswho led the University of Richmond to 717 wins and seven NCAA Tournaments during a 22-year tenure after success at JR Tucker High;
  • Bill Brownwho coached George Mason for 41 years, won 1,083 games and ranked 10th among active coaches in wins at the time of his retirement;
  • Tom Harding (posthumous), who for 46 years coached Honaker High and leads the VHSL in wins with 633;
  • Chuck Hartman (posthumous), who coached Virginia Tech and High Point and amassed 1,444 career wins – which ranks 10th among all-time Division I baseball coaches. Hartman, a nine-time Hall of Famer, led the Hokies to four NCAA Tournaments and posted 35 winning seasons in 36 years between the two schools;
  • Paul Keyes (posthumous), who led VCU for 18 years, racked up 603 wins and led the Rams to eight NCAA Tournaments and brought home the Colonial Athletic Association championship five times;
  • Marty Millerwho won 718 games in 32 seasons as head coach at Norfolk State, where he won 17 conference titles and was named the Center Intercollegiate Athletic Association Coach of the Year 15 times;
  • Mack Shupe, a VHSL standout who won eight state titles in 40 years between JJ Kelly and JI Burton high schools and who won 631 career games, good for second all-time in the VHSL. At JJ Kelly, Shupe won four state titles from 1981 to ’84 without losing a game, going 83-0;
  • Ron Tugwellwho won two state titles in a 27-year career at West Springfield in Fairfax and whose teams won 12 district championships and never lost more than three games in a row;
  • Norbie Wilsonwho had 417 wins, a state title and 14 district championships in 26 seasons as coach at First Colonial High in Virginia Beach and whose 1993 state championship team was ranked No. 6 in the nation by USA Today.

The induction ceremony will take place at the Fairfax Marriot in Fair Oaks. The induction will take place at 19.00. Tickets can be purchased at vbca.org.

RHS’ Riddle, Blankinship earns all-state volleyball recognition

After a 19-3 season and a run to the Class 3 state quarterfinals, Rustburg saw two players earn all-state recognition on Tuesday.

Setter Emma Blankinship and outside hitter Reagan Riddle, both juniors, were named to the all-state second team after leading the Red Devils’ offensive attack.

Riddle posted over 250 kills to lead RHS and was third on the team with just over 200 digs in her first season with significant playing time. She also had 31 aces and 18 blocks.

Blankinship, also starting for the first time in her volleyball career, recorded more than 750 assists as the Red Devils’ lead setter. She led RHS in aces with 50 and posted a team-best service percentage of more than 94 percent. Blankinship was also a big contributor defensively with 23 blocks and 175 digs.

For the entire all-state team, scroll to the bottom of this report.

The times for the football region championship have been set

This weekend’s VHSL region championship games will be played over two days for area teams. Four teams in this paper’s coverage area are still in the playoffs: Appomattox, EC Glass, Heritage and Liberty Christian.

In the Region 2C title game, fourth-seeded Appomattox (9-3) travels to No. 1 Glenvar. 3 (9-3) for a Friday game starting at 7 p.m.

In the championship of Region 3C, ranking no. 2 Heritage (10-2) travels to Williams Stadium to play LCA (11-1) on Saturday at 7 p.m.

And in a heavyweight matchup from Region 4D, ranked no. No. 1 EC Glass (11-1) hosts No. 3 Salem (10-2) Saturday at 5 p.m. at Lynchburg City Stadium.

VOLLEY-BALL

Class 3 teams from all states

Player of the Year: Caleigh Ponn, Hidden Valley.

Coach of the Year: Jonathan Amaral, York.

First Team: Ramsie Pittman (York), Kendall Abercrombie (York), Caleigh Ponn (Hidden Valley), Sara Waller (Warren County), Baylee Blalock (Fort Defiance), Morgan Hunter (York), Alli Pratt (Tabb), Ashley Hunt (York), Nala Shearer (Rockbridge), Lauren Atwell (York).

Second Team: Callie Anderson (Hidden Valley), Emma Blankinship (Rustburg), Aubrey Hyndshaw (New Kent), Nina Smith (Goochland), Ellie Cook (Fort Defiance), Gracie Rigney (Tunstall), Reagan Riddle (Rustburg), Ava Dickerson (Warren County), Sophie McLaughlin (New Kent), Addison Hammond (Fort Defiance).

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