November 30 - Jake Berry had surgery last month after dislocating his left knee and Bishop O’Connell’s coaches hope to have the highly-touted sophomore healthy in time for the spring.
The 6-foot-9 left-hander has had three injury setbacks over the past 11 months. While playing for the Knights’ basketball team last December, he injured his right knee and missed his freshman season on the diamond. Berry then suffered a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow while playing with his Richmond Braves travel team in June, causing him to miss the majority of the summer and entire fall seasons on the showcase circuit.
His latest setback occurred during preseason basketball workouts in September.
Berry’s father, Alex, said in an email to the magazine that Berry is ahead of schedule with his recovery and could even return to the basketball team in time for the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) Tournament. “He’s going great and is a month ahead in his rehab,” Alex Berry wrote. “He will be fully-ready for baseball.”
Despite the string of injuries, the University of Virginia recruit’s potential has him affixed at the top of the Class of 2020 player rankings by national recruiting services. Perfect Game lists him as the No. 1 prospect in the state and No. 57 nationally, while Prep Baseball Report rates him as the state’s No. 2 recruit in the class.
“He had a great attitude in the spring, I know it was frustrating for him to be sitting there watching,” O’Connell pitching coach Rob Riley said. “I hope he’s able to bounce back.”
Berry is part of the Knights’ talented core of big underclass arms that includes 6-foot-5 junior William Pickford and two sophomore right-handers: 6-foot-4 Anthony Avvisato and 6-foot-2 Eddie Eisert. After struggling through a 5-20 campaign last spring, O’Connell is looking to return to its form from 2014-16, when the Knights totaled 50 victories and appeared in three consecutive VISAA Division I state tournaments.
Former McLean Resident Gallo Makes Commitment to Clemson
Former McLean resident Pierce Gallo, who attended Paul VI Catholic as a freshman before moving with his family to Georgia, committed earlier this week to national power Clemson University.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound junior infielder helped Walton (Marietta, GA) go 27-8 last spring and win the 7A Region 4 championship a year after claiming the program’s third state championship and finishing ranked No. 5 nationally by Baseball America. Gallo is part of a talented returning core that includes one of the nation’s top left-handers, senior Luke Bartnicki (Georgia Tech), as well as junior lefty Jake Baldino (Virginia) and junior first baseman Luke Boynton (Nebraska).
Gallo played locally in the McLean Little League and on the travel circuit with the MVP Terps prior to relocating to Georgia. Currently a member of the East Cobb Astros travel program, he is rated by Perfect Game as Georgia’s No. 44 recruit in the Class of 2019, and No. 345 nationally. He is the 13th player from the class to commit to Clemson, which went 42-21 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament last spring.
Bour to Headline Speakers at Sunday’s NVTBL Hitting Clinic
Coming off his best Major League season, Miami Marlins first baseman Justin Bour will highlight a number of guest speakers at NVTBL’s coaches hitting workshop on Sunday at Westfield High School, the slugger’s alma mater.
Joining Bour will be his brother, former minor league catcher Jason Bour, as well as current minor leaguers Joe Rizzo (Oakton) and Michael Katz (Bishop O’Connell). Also scheduled to speak is longtime former West Springfield coach Ron Tugwell, who won 431 games and two state championships with the Spartans, along with Centreville coach Scott Rowland, who led Oakton to a state title in 2000, and Marshall coach Aaron Tarr.
Tickets for the workshop cost $15 and are available at www.NVTBLBaseball.org.
Have a Scoop? Story ideas for our weekly notebook can be submitted via email here.
Sponsor: Today’s notebook is sponsored by Prime Time Baseball, an Alexandria-based baseball academy For more information, visit PrimeTime's website here.