Frank Dow entered the 2019 baseball season almost certain it would be his final campaign as the head coach at Caroline High School.

Dow cemented those thoughts earlier this week when he stepped down from the post after 13 years and one of the best seasons in the program’s history.

Dow guided Caroline to the Battlefield District regular season title and its first district tournament championship in 18 years.

The Cavaliers fell to Dinwiddie, 7–5, in 15 innings in the Region 4B quarterfinals to end their season. Dow’s assistants didn’t believe he’d follow through on his plans to walk away.

“Sometimes I’m having a hard time believing it,” Dow said. “It was very hard. But I feel like it’s the right move so things can continue to go in a positive direction.”

The Cavaliers gave Dow his first opportunity to run a varsity baseball program.

The Virginia Beach native and former Virginia Military Institute first baseman joined the coaching staff at Atlee High School after working as an engineer for 5 ½ years. He was later hired as the junior varsity coach at Patrick Henry-Ashland in addition to being the head golf coach.

He remained at PH for 11 years before he took over at Caroline in 2007. He was meticulous in his approach, from the upkeep of the field at the off-campus Caroline Stadium to the way his players wore their uniforms and conducted themselves.

“Frank’s been a workhorse for 13 years here and 20-plus in baseball,” Caroline athletic director Paul Heizer said. “He brought stability. From the offseason program to getting kids in college to preparing the fields, he did so much for the baseball program and for the school.”

Dow will continue teaching math at Caroline and is contemplating resigning from his role as golf coach. Golf begins Aug. 1 and Heizer said he’s attempted to talk Dow into sticking around for at least one more season.

Heizer said the Cavaliers want to post the baseball vacancy as soon as possible and ideally would have a coach in place by the start of the school year in mid-August.

Former Caroline standout Zac Foltz has been an assistant under Dow his entire tenure, and is one potential candidate. The Cavaliers lost just two players to graduation from last season.

“We do have some interest internally,” Heizer said. “But we’re going to open it up to make sure we get the best candidate. It’s an attractive job right now coming off a district title and we’ve got a lot of key players back.”

VHSL TRYING ESPORTS

Video gaming has been approved by the Virginia High School League Executive Committee as a one-year pilot program for this upcoming school-year.

Some schools in the Commonwealth are already offering esports as a club activity but now it’s possibly headed toward becoming a varsity sport.

PlayVS is the esports platform provider. The VHSL plans to assess the interest in esports among member schools and provide the findings to the Executive Committee for potential sanctioning as an official activity.

“Since approved by the Executive Committee, there has been a lot of positive feedback from schools and sponsors who are very excited about esports,” VHSL executive director Billy Haun said in a statement. “The Virginia High School League is always looking to increase opportunities for students beyond the traditional activities.”

Eligibility requirements for esports would be the same as other activities. There is no travel because competitions occur online. The VHSL is exploring two seasons. One would be from October to January and the second one to be determined.

The three games offered are: League of Legends, Rocket League and Smite. The cost for students is $64 per game per season.

HEATHERMAN PICKS HUSKIES

A torn ACL didn’t prevent Mountain View senior tight end Brendan Heatherman from collecting scholarship offers.

Heatherman had several schools to choose from, and on Tuesday he announced via Twitter that he has orally committed to the University of Connecticut. Known for his blocking prowess, Heatherman is expected to miss the 2019 season after suffering the injury during a showcase event in the spring.

The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder also held scholarship offers from Appalachian State, Army, Charlotte, Penn, William & Mary, Wofford and Youngstown State.

Tulsa, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest were starting to show interest in him before his injury. The Huskies are coached by former Maryland head coach Randy Edsall. They were 1–11 in 2018.

‘CATS HOST CAMP

Mountain View is hosting a field hockey camp Aug. 5–7 from 5–7:30 p.m. The cost is $40. The registration deadline is Aug. 5.

For more details, e-mail Wildcats head coach Kimmy Sullivan at sullivanka@staffordschools.net.

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Taft Coghill Jr: 540/374-5526

tcoghill@freelancestar.com

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