By Randy Arrington
SHENANDOAH, June 15 — Despite a split with Madison during the regular season, the Page County High School baseball team defeated the Mountaineers 5-0 in a region semifinal Tuesday evening. The win sends the second-seeded Panthers to the Region B championship on Thursday at top-seeded Buckingham.
Bull Run District “Player of the Year” Lance Williams tossed a complete game shutout on Tuesday. The sophomore only allowed one hit, while striking out 13 in seven innings and giving up no walks. Williams went 1-for-1 at the plate, while walking three times. He recorded one RBI and one run scored.
The Panthers left the bases loaded in the first inning after getting one run walked in. Page then exploded for four hits and four runs in the fourth. The Panthers had seven hits on the day. Junior Aidan Painter lead Page at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two RBI and one run scored. Junior Chase Parlett also went 2-for-4.
Madison’s lone hit on Tuesday came from senior Kris Dobyns. The Mountaineers (8-5) beat Page 5-2 at home on June 1 after dropping a May 12 road contest to the Panthers 2-1.
PCHS senior standout T.R. Williams, who is committed to a full scholarship at Virginia Tech next year, went 0-for-3 at the plate on Tuesday, but drove the ball deep all three times, once to the warning track. T.R. has only been back practicing and playing with the Panthers for less than a month after spending 54 days at the University of Virginia Medical Center earlier this year being treated for Guillain-Barre syndrome. The rare disorder that first started showing symptoms in T.R. in early February, causes the immune system to slowly attack the nervous system. After nearly a month in intensive care, including four days in a “vegetative state”, and another three weeks recovering — T.R. was released from the hospital on April 1. He didn’t start practicing with the team until late May, and even that was considered a “miracle” after doctors told the family at one point early on that he may never walk again — and if he did, it would be after six to eight months of intense therapy.
T.R. cut that down to a matter of weeks and in less than two months debuted back on the field May 21 at East Rockingham — a game in which he delivered a clutch single in his first at-bat after a standing ovation from both sides of the bleachers. In fact, T.R. collected three RBI that day — only 51 days after being released from a 54-day stay in the hospital.
T.R. was ranked by Prep Baseball Report as the top overall player in the state of Virginia and Washington, D.C., for the class of 2021. He also spoke to at least 10 Major League Baseball teams through Zoom interviews prior to January and had filled out questionnaires for 20 of the 30 MLB clubs. In his freshman year, the left-hander went 12-0, averaged 13 strikeouts per game and was named Virginia High School League 2A Player of the Year, as the Panthers claimed a state title in 2018. T.R. lead Page back to the state tournament in 2019, but they lost in the “final four” semifinal round. Over those two seasons, T.R. posted a 20-3 record and tallied 276 strikeouts, while his ERA went from 1.36 his freshman year to 0.79 his sophomore year. He missed his junior campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, the senior hopes to close out his high school career with his younger brother and a third trip to the state tournament. However, the Panthers (9-3) will have to defeat top-ranked Buckingham (10-2) on the road in the Region 2B championship on Thursday.
Buckingham’s two losses came to regional rivals Prince Edward (May 20) and Central of Lunenburg (June 1).
If the Panthers advance, those who wish to attend the state tournament next week will need to secure their tickets online in advance at the VHSL website. TICKETS WILL NOT BE SOLD AT THE GATE FOR NEXT WEEK’S STATE TOURNAMENT.
For scores, schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.