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Wild Bill’s Weekly Sports Roundup

by Bill Turner

The big night that the Roanoke Valley has been waiting for readies itself next Friday as high school Friday-nights (and Saturday afternoons for the North Cross faithful) resume in ernest.

We’ll again keep you up to speed with our eleven Roanoke-area teams; the highlights, district races and of course, the ever-reliable analysis and predictions. Last year’s .824 record may be hard to top as the talent and coaching keeps getting better.

In addition to an assortment of new opponents for most of our teams, there’s a new face on the sideline and a new name coming to an otherwise SW County site of demolition, and a case of no more night games for one private school program.

Alan Fiddler takes over as head coach at Patrick Henry with hopes of bringing a championship atmosphere to Gainer Field like he fashioned in West Virginia. PH gets a good test in their opener, as the Patriots travel to Hidden Valley.

At Bogle Field, the Southwest County home of both Cave Spring and Hidden Valley, the sun will seemingly set later this year as the backdrop of the old Cave Spring Middle School is gone in order to make way for a new structure. On September 9th, the field will be given a new name to honor two longtime Cave Spring coaches, Bill Edmunds and Charlie Hammes, during a pregame ceremony.

Fans of night games will have a letdown at North Cross, as the Raiders have moved all home games to Saturday afternoon for 2011. As dusk fell earlier and earlier each week last fall, North Cross played a couple of games in near darkness in the fourth quarter, prompting the much-needed change. Tough to crank up the passing game when the only light is from the moon.

While football is on everyone’s mind, it’s important to note high school volleyball likewise opens later this month. All indications point to several local teams being set for a state championship run.

The Salem Red Sox are still in the hunt for a second-half title, a requisite for making the Carolina League playoffs. Unfortunately, the numbers are not favorable. After Monday night’s win, Salem trailed first-place Winston-Salem by 5 games. If the Dash simply play .500 baseball the rest of the way, the Red Sox would have to finish 15-5 in its last 20 games- highly unlikely at any level.

I want to thank the Eastmont Tomato Festival for my invitation to participate in last weekend’s TomatOlympics (see related article in today’s edition). I’m ready to affirm the validity of tomato-throwing at a human target as a bona-fide Olympic sport. Definitely more crowd-pleasing action than curling.

Finally, we close this week with Wild Bill’s road report, and a heads up to all local entrepreneurs. The Route 221 realignment is now in high gear with blasting, excavating and delays the order of the day. In what is to become Roanoke County’s version of the infamous Golden Gate Bridge, surely it is time for someone to propose an exciting “bridge day’ where traffic will be reduced to pedestrians and hang-gliders will sail into Back Creek. This has festival-like big dollars written all over it. Remember, you heard it here first.

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