Kavs were achievers in 2017

Published 5:08 pm Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The achievement of a preseason goal signaled 2017 as a positive year of growth for Kenston Forest School’s varsity baseball team.

“Before the season started, we sort of set our goal to make the state tournament this year,” Kavaliers Head Coach Scotty Atkins said. “That was something we just barely missed out (on) last year, and we did that. We were the fifth-ranked team in the state on the final rankings, so that was a big achievement for us.”

Kenston Forest finished the season with a 9-8 record. The Kavs were runners-up in the Virginia Colonial Conference tournament, and as the No. 5 state seed, they fell 14-7 to host No. 4 Fuqua School in the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division III state quarterfinals.

Atkins said the loss to the Falcons helped illustrate a recurring issue his team had during the season.

“We had a hard time playing at a high level for seven innings, and it seemed like one inning a game really took it’s toll,” he said.

Against Fuqua, “for five-and-a-half innings, we had the lead,” Atkins said. “But one inning, really hurt us.”

But evaluating Kenston Forest’s season overall, the coach was pleased.

“Overall, I think we did a pretty good job,” he said. “We’ve got a very young team, and I think they’ve learned a lot this year from the mistakes that we’ve made and hopefully are ready for a big year next year.”

He cited junior shortstop Chance Whitehead as a leading standout on the team. Whitehead was named to the all-state and all-conference first teams, and among the school accolades handed out, he won the Defensive Player of the Year award.

The Kavaliers lose three players due to graduation, including starting center fielder Jeb Buchanan, Tripp Jones and Mark Smith.