KVA is scorching hot

Apr. 8—HENDERSON — The Kerr-Vance Academy baseball team has been running red-hot to start the year, winning six of their first seven games. The Spartans currently sit in second place — one game behind Rocky Mount Academy in the Carolina Independence Conference.

Barring last season and the 2019-20 COVID year where they only played three games, the Spartans have been the 1A state champions for the past four years (2017-21).

This year, the Spartans are working with a much younger roster. Their one senior, Tim Hudson, is a transfer from Ravenscroft, and they even sport a couple of eighth graders on the team. However, despite their inexperience, they hope to repeat their success from recent years.

"Now that we've had a taste, we want to win it again," said nine-year head coach Mike Rigsbee.

Despite having only one senior on the team, KVA has been dominant this year, winning six of their first seven games to start the year.

As well as a championship pedigree in 1A, Kerr-Vance has a history of producing Division I players including RJ Johnson who leads off for Rutgers University, and Colby Wilkerson who plays shortstop for the University of North Carolina — both Johnson and Wilkerson were a part of the 2021 team that won the state title.

Rigsbee's son Tanner, is also on the team. A small school, KVA attracts players not just from Vance County but from surrounding areas as well. Players travel far and wide from Lake Gaston to Warrenton to end up at the small private school in Henderson.

"We're fortunate enough to have gotten good ball players and the chance to develop them," said Rigsbee.

According to their coach, team cohesion and player development have been key to their championship success.

"We're a small school just trying to survive," said Rigsbee.

Rigsbee himself redshirted at Carolina over 30 years ago before finishing out his collegiate career at Barton College in Wilson.

Now hoping for more championship rings and scholarship opportunities for his boys, Rigsbee and his squad face a tough one on Monday night against the East Wake Academy Eagles as he looks to keep his team on track as they prepare for the long march to another state title.

"We gave a great school and a great staff," he said. "We are fortunate to have solid players that work hard and loyalty from prior players who still follow the program."