The reigning 1A State Champions Rappahannock Raiders will begin play this week with the goal of becoming back to back state champs. The Raiders will have to replace a few key parts (pitching, infielder, and outfielder) of the teams to make a strong run like they did last year. Their coaching staff is intact, so they just have to get the upcoming player to believe and but into the system like last year’s team. The Northumberland Indians pushed the Raiders to extra innings in a rainy playoff game, but could not come up with the big run to win. They will have to replace a strong arm on the mound and a good bat at the plate. The Indians are only a couple years removed from their own state championship, and I’m sure they would like to win another. The Lancaster Red Devils were state runner-up’s in 2015, after a rebuilding year they look to make a run for the title. A year of seasoning has given the Red Devils coaches time to critique all positions, and get the best players on the field. The Colonial Beach Drifters are re-tooling after losing most of their key player over the past two years. Their defense up the middle will be tested, and the younger players will have to show vast improvement for them to have a good year. The Essex Trojans and their second-year Head Coach Reed Harmon has a young team, and with a young team you can expect some lapses. In order for the Trojans to be competitive, they will have to cut back on the errors from last year. If their pitching can hold up, it will be an interesting year. The Rappahannock Panthers will have to string together some offense to make a push for the conference title. Their run production and defense will have to carry them. There has been a team from conference 43 in the 1A State Championship game for the past three years.