Recruiting Notebook: Madison’s Eldridge Rated No. 6 in Perfect Game’s 2023 National Ratings

November 9 - Madison freshman Bryce Eldridge has yet to play a high school game, but expectations already loom for the 6-foot-6, 195-pound right-handed pitcher and left-handed swinging first baseman. 

Eldridge, who recently turned 15, was rated No. 6 nationally in Perfect Game’s rankings released yesterday of Class of 2023 players. He played this year with Georgia’s Team Elite Prime as well as with the Marucci Stars travel programs 

“[Eldridge] oozes projection with all the components of his game on the mound. The delivery, frame, upper-80s fastball and feel to spin are worthy of following closely for top Division I programs throughout the country,” Perfect Game wrote in its scout notes at the WWBA Freshman World Championship earlier this fall. “The lanky right-hander creates steep plane from a loose arm action and a low-effort delivery.”

The latest Division I prospect who will suit up for the Warhawks, Eldridge has already generated attention from some of the top college programs in the country. He did not appear among the Top 10 in Prep Baseball Report’s 2023 rankings, which were also released earlier this week. 

Madison is expected to be one of the area’s top teams and a Class 6 state championship contender this spring. They have three players who have committed to Division I programs in senior pitchers Ryan Murphy (James Madison) and Michael Schultz (Charleston) and sophomore transfer James Triantos (North Carolina). 

LeClair Becomes Area’s First Freshman Commit, Will Play for Virginia

Marcus LeClair, a freshman at Gonzaga (D.C.) and resident of Oakton, committed yesterday to play for Virginia. The 6-foot-3, 170-pound switch-hitting first baseman and left-handed pitcher announced his decision on Twitter. 

“I am honored to announce that I have committed to the University of Virginia to further continue my academic and baseball career,” he posted on his Twitter handle. 

Leclair, who plays in the offseason with the Marucci Stars travel program, becomes the first area freshman to make his college decision. 

Germanowski, 2017 State Champ at Briar Woods, Transfers to Liberty

Tyler Germanowski, who helped Briar Woods win the Class 5 state championship in 2017, will transfer to Liberty after spending the past semester as Polk State, a junior college in Florida. 

Germanowski spent his first two collegiate seasons at St. Bonaventure, but will retain three years of eligibility with the Flames. The 6-foot-4 right-hander struggled this past season with the Bonnies, going 0-5 with a 9.98 ERA in 30.2 innings after redshirting his freshman year. As a senior at Briar Woods, he was 1-2 with a 3.78 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 16.2 innings while hitting .297 with 20 RBI. 

At Liberty, Germanowski joins a team that went 43-21 overall and 15-9 in the Atlantic Sun Conference, winning the league title and advancing to the NCAA Tournament last spring under coach Scott Jackson. 

Photos of, clockwise from left, Bryce Eldridge courtesy of Perfect Game, Marcus LeClair courtesy of Marucci Stars, and Tyler Germanowski courtesy of Polk State Athletics

Bruins' Southpaw Schaeb Commits to George Mason

November 8 - Lake Braddock may have graduated two NOVA Nine Team members from its Class 6 state championship team, but the cupboard is far from empty at the Burke school. 

Yesterday, junior left-hander and outfielder Andrew Schaeb announced via Twitter that he has committed to play for George Mason. He becomes the fifth Bruins pitcher since 2016 bound for a Division I program, joining teammate Mike Weidnger, Lyle Miller-Green, Rojo Prarie and Wade Strain. Weidinger has committed to William & Mary, where he’ll follow Prarie and Strain.. 

“I’m really happy for Andrew,” Bruins coach John Thomas said. “He has certainly put the work in and he’s steadily gotten better and better from the day he walked through the door at Braddock.”

Lake Braddock tied a school record with 26 wins en route to its second state title behind the leadership of NOVA Nine Team selections Lyle Miller-Green and Bobby Leitzel. Miller-Green, who swept the Class 6 State, All-Met and NOVA Nine Player of the Year awards, is playing a George Mason and Leitzel is playing at Marymount. 

Schaeb emerged when it counted most during Lake Braddock’s run to the program’s second state title last spring. In his team’s seven region and state tournament games, the clean-up hitter batted .600 (9-for-15) with a .680 on-base percentage, eight runs and 11 RBI. 

For the season, he hit .333 with a .450 on-base percentage, 26 hits, two homers and 22 RBI. On the mound, he was 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 27.2 innings and went the final 3.1 innings in the Bruins’ 6-2 win over Westfield in the state final. He was a second-team All-Patriot District selection as an outfielder. 

This spring, he’ll join a formidable core along with Weidinger, senior lefty Jay Cassady, another postseason hero who has committed to Christopher Newport, and junior outfielder Ryan Cuadros, who is being scouted by several Division I schools. 

During the showcase circuit this offseason, Schaeb again shined on the biggest stage while with the Marucci Stars travel program. He helped the Stars advance to the semifinals at the Perfect Game WWBA Underclass World Championship last month and didn’t allow an earned run while recording 13 strikeouts in 13.1 innings between that tournament and while at Perfect Game’s WWBA 15U National Championship and 16U National Championship over the summer. 

At George Mason, Schaeb will join a 2021 recruiting class that includes right-hander Jackson Baird (Battlefield) and infielder Diego Barrett (C.D. Hylton). Patriots coach Bill Brown and his staff have three area recruits in their 2020 class, infielder Wyatt Miles (Woodgrove) and outfielders Drew Stieg (McLean) and Thomas Trinca (Centreville).

“I think Andrew is really good, and in addition to that, he’s a relentlessly-tough competitor,” said Thomas, who has helped develop 11 players who have pitched at the Division I level in his time as the head coach at McLean and pitching and now head coach at Lake Braddock. “Andrew is exactly the type of kid that is going to help get things turned around at Mason. He’s just a winner.

“It’s a great fit.”

Photo of Andrew Schaeb by Gregg Zelkin

The Thomas 10
Division I pitchers John Thomas has helped develop at McLean and Lake Braddock.
Pitcher College
Sean Fitzgerald (McL) Notre Dame
Denis Buckley (McL) Charleston Southern
Josh Sborz (McL) Virginia
Brock Hunter (McL) Coastal Carolina
Joey Sullivan (McL) Virginia Tech
Wade Strain (LB) William & Mary
Rojo Prarie (LB) William & Mary
Lyle Miller-Green (LB) George Mason
Mike Weidinger, (LB) William & Mary
Andrew Schaeb (LB) George Mason
note: Thomas' final season at McLean was in 2012, and Sullivan pitched his final two seasons under coach John Dowling

The Tribe’s Latest Quest: Freedom’s Kolarov Commits to William & Mary

November 6 - Freedom-South Riding’s Connor Kolarov committed earlier tonight to the College of William & Mary, becoming the 14th pitcher from Northern Virginia landed by the Tribe since 2015. 

The 6-foot-5, 190-pound right-hander went 4-2 with a 2.28 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 40 innings as a sophomore in the spring, helping the Eagles (13-9) reach the Region 5C Tournament before falling to Briar Woods in the quarterfinals. 

“The current [William & Mary] team has players I have watched and followed as I have grown up as a baseball player. I have looked up to them as role models and am excited to play with them,” Kolarov wrote via text message tonight.

Kolarov will pair with fellow junior Casey Cook, a North Carolina recruit, to give the Eagles a formidable 1-2 punch on the mound in a Potomac District that will be deep this spring. He tossed a three-hit shutout on just 79 pitches in a 2-0 win over eventual Region 5C champion Stone Bridge on May 10, and was the winning pitcher in a 19-3 win over Region 6D champion and Class 6 state runner-up Westfield on Apr. 22. 

“He’s that kid who arrives early, stays late and pushes himself without coaches, trainers or parents telling him to do so,” Freedom coach Mark Wrighte said of Kolarov, who plays in the offseason with the Marucci Stars. “He’s going to be an absolute monster in another year or two.”

Kolarov is the latest pitching recruit landed by Tribe coach Brian Murphy and his staff, who remain aggressive in recruiting local prep talent. Two seniors, West Potomac left-hander Adam Fischer and Gonzaga (D.C.) right-hander Garrett Newsome, a resident of McLean, will sign a National Letter of Intent later this month to pitch at the Williamsburg school, and Kolarov joins fellow juniors Mike Weidinger of Lake Braddock and Nathan Knowles of Yorktown in their 2021 class.

“Coach Murphy and his staff made me feel right at home, like I was already a member of the team,” Kolarov wrote. “The culture of both academic and athletic success was apparent and both are very important to me.”

Photo of Connor Kolarov courtesy of Freedom Baseball

Kamide’s Korner: Savino’s Gamble is UVA’s Gain

November 5 - I’ve heard he’d be a lock to be a first-round pick, maybe even within the first 10 picks in June’s MLB Draft. 

Nave Savino and his family, however, are sticking to their principles. 

His parents have stressed the importance of education to their children, and feel there’s something to be said for honoring one’s commitment. That parenting has yielded a grounded young man who is the same kid that walked into Joe Terango’s elementary school classroom a decade ago. 

Ok, maybe he’s a little bigger - 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, to be exact - and that 7-year-old wouldn’t have dominated area hitters like the teenage version has done for Terango’s Potomac Falls club. But you get my point.

We’ve learned that the left-hander with the blazing 95 MPH fastball and pro-ready slider will sign his National Letter of Intent next week to pitch at the University of Virginia beginning this spring. Once he’s enrolled, he can’t be drafted in 2020. But by entering school early, he’ll be eligible in 2022, a year earlier than if he had suited up for the Panthers this spring and graduated with his classmates in June. 

Some are wondering why? Why would he leave millions on the table? The last first-round pick in the 2019 draft signed for $2.2 million, and Savino - who won’t turn 18 until January, as Virginia is opening its season - was likely to be taken somewhere between there and the first pick, which last year signed for $8.4 million. 

Sure, this move is a risk. 

Austin Bergner was projected as a first round selection out of high school in 2016 but chose instead to pitch at North Carolina. His stock fell and he was taken in the ninth round in June, his decision ultimately costing him millions. Locally, Jamie Sara was taken by San Diego in the 12th round in the 2016 draft out of West Potomac and offered a six-figure bonus to sign. He declined and honored his scholarship at William & Mary, and was taken in the 25th round this past June and signed for a fraction of that. 

On the flip end of this conundrum, there’s J.B. Bukauskas. He was projected as a high-round pick out of Stone Bridge in 2014 but chose instead to pitch at UNC. Three years later, the Houston Astros made him a millionaire by taking him No. 13 overall. 

Baseball is a game of risk. Players take them every time they attempt to stretch a hit into a double, then a minute later, their coach could be taking one by waving them home. You think Nationals GM Mike Rizzo didn’t take a risk by sticking by his manager, Davey Martinez, after their well-documented 19-31 start? I’d say that worked out just fine. 

I think there’s something to be said about Savino’s willingness to take this risk. He’s going to be in great hands with a coach in UVA’s Brian O’Connor who is one of the best in the business. He’s going to be at a Power 5 conference program that comes with all the bells and whistles - top-tier facilities and support staff, etc. - and let’s not forget the outstanding academic reputation the Charlottesville school has. 

Savino and his family have their priorities in order, and they stuck to their principles when the outside noise was pushing them to go chase the dollars now. It’s refreshing. And if he’s as good as we’re all certain he is, those dollars will still be there in 2022.

Go be a college kid. Go get the Wahoos back to Omaha.

I tip my cap to the Savinos. Thank you for setting a great example for others to follow. 

Photo of Nate Savino by Fred Ingham

Recruiting Notebook: Potomac Falls’ Savino Will Sign With Virginia, Enroll in January

November 5 - Nate Savino, who will graduate a semester early from high school, intends to sign his National Letter of Intent on Nov. 13 and will enroll at the University of Virginia in January. 

Once he enrolls at the Charlottesville school, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound left-hander will become ineligible for the upcoming Major League Baseball Draft. He will next be eligible in 2022, once he’s completed three years of eligibility with the Cavaliers. Savino is rated as the No. 2 prospect nationally by Prep Baseball Report and No. 5 by Perfect Game in the Class of 2020 and is viewed by national scouting services and evaluators as a potential first round pick. 

In the magazine’s story on Oct. 8, we reported that the two-time NOVA Nine Team selection would graduate early and skip his senior season with the Panthers. It was unknown at the time whether he planned enroll early at Virginia or remain eligible for the draft. Savino and his family have made their decision, and it will become official once he signs his NLI a week from tomorrow in a ceremony at the school. 

Over his three years with the Panthers, Savino was 13-4 with a 1.25 ERA and 220 strikeouts to 45 walks in 112.1 innings, averaging 1.96 strikeouts per innings and posting 10 starts with double-digit strikeouts. This past summer, he pitched in multiple All-American games as well as for USA Baseball’s 18U National Team.

At Virginia, he’ll join a program that has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 14 of 16 seasons under coach Brian O’Connor, who led the Cavaliers to their first national championship in 2015.

Rams’ Shenkman Commits to East Carolina

Riverside’s big ace is off the board. 

Wyatt Shenkman, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound junior right-hander, committed yesterday to pitch at East Carolina University, making the announcement via Twitter. 

“I am beyond excited to announce that I have committed to further my academic and baseball career at East Carolina University,” wrote Shenkman, who was 5-1 with a 3.40 ERA while helping the Rams win the Dulles District and Region 4C titles and advance to the Class 4 state final. “I would like to thank my family, close friends, and all of my coaches throughout the years.”

Shenkman, who has played in the offseason with the Diamond Elite and EvoShield Canes travel programs and pitched this past summer at the Commonwealth Games, becomes ECU’s fifth area recruit since 2016. Others from Northern Virginia include left-hander Jake Agnos (Battlefield), right-hander Carter Spivey (Paul VI Catholic), shortstop and pitcher Zach Agnos (Battlefield) and outfielder Ryley Johnson (Colgan). 

“We are very proud and happy for Wyatt choosing ECU to continue his education and baseball career,” Riverside coach Sam Plank wrote via text message. “Wyatt has worked extremely hard to put himself in a position to play Division I baseball.”

The Pirates went 47-18 this past season under coach Cliff Godwin, who has guided them to two American Athletic Conference championships and four NCAA Tournament berths in his five seasons. Jake Agnos, the 2016 NOVA Nine Player of the Year, was an All-American selection after going 11-3 with a 2.29 ERA and setting school single-season (145) and career (295) records for strikeouts. 

Woodgrove’s Hile to Play For Furman

Christian Hile, a junior right-handed pitcher and first baseman at Woodgrove, committed over the weekend to play at Furman, Wolverines coach Rusty Smith confirmed on Sunday night. 

The 6-foot, 190-pound Hile as a second-team All-Dulles District selection in the spring, when he helped Woodgrove go 13-9. He was 3-1 with a save while posting a 2.42 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 37.2 innings, and he hit .262 with a .366 on-base percentage and 12 RBI. 

Furman was 26-31 overall and 13-11 in the Southern Conference this past spring in coach Brett Harker’s third season. 

Photos of, clockwise from left, Nate Savino courtesy of USA Baseball, Riverside’s Wyatt Shenkman and Woodgrove’s Christian Hile by Michael Ferrara

Quick Hits: Yankees Farmhand Agnos Lending a Hand at Complete Game This Winter

November 4 - Quick hits is a weekly feature of the magazine consisting of news and notes from around Northern Virginia baseball.

The Latest: It’s common for professional players from the area to come back to train and work as instructors at local academies during the winter months. Jake Agnos, the magazine’s 2016 NOVA Nine Player of the Year who was drafted in the fourth round by the New York Yankees in June after an All-American season at East Carolina, is doing just that. Agnos is working camps and lessons at Complete Game Sports & Fitness in Manassas until he reports for spring training in February. Check out the academy’s website here for details … The coaching positions at Park View and Gar-Field remain open, and administrators at both school are still accepting applications … Brent Weiss, who previously coached at Oakton and Episcopal, has joined the Madison staff as the Warhawks’ infielders coach. Weiss is the nephew of Walt Weiss, who was the American League’s Rookie of the Year in 1988 and later managed the Colorado Rockies. 

Where Were the College Coaches?: There is a major fracture in the structure of area travel and showcase organizations and the communication among the coaches who run them. Yesterday, the Marucci Stars held a tryout at George Mason University that was attended by coaches from nine Division II, Division III and junior college programs. At the same time, the Northern Virginia Travel Baseball League was hosting its Premier Showcase League’s fall championship game between MVP Royals National 2020 and Diamond Elite 18U, and not one college coach attended. Better structure and communication among area coaches would have allowed for the PSL game to be played later in the day - and perhaps even at George Mason - which in turn could have been communicated to the college coaches. That would have allowed them to increase the number of players they would have been able to see. Perhaps a composite calendar should be compiled with each organization posting their games, tryouts, showcases, etc. that are being held in Northern Virginia, working together so there’s not overlap when possible and having that calendar shared with college coaches? Let’s not forget the main objective of travel and showcase ball - it’s to get the players seen. Work together.

Remember When?: In 1987, Pete Schourek put together perhaps the most-dominant season ever by a Northern Virginia high school player. Schourek, who was taken in the second round of the Major League Baseball Draft that June, went 13-1 with a 0.60 ERA and 169 strikeouts in 81 innings while hitting .555 with 11 home runs and 42 RBI to lead the Statesmen to a second straight Northern Region championship and berth in the Group AAA state final. He’d pitch for 11 seasons in the Majors and finished runner-up to Greg Maddux in the 1995 National League Cy Young Award voting.

A Gold Star Fundraising Effort: Dave Keuhner and One Family Brewing partnered with the Diamond Elite travel program over the weekend to raise $500 towards the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in Lovettsville. The monument, which will honor the families of servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives while serving in the military, is in its planning stages. For more information or to donate, click here

On Deck: The Metro Baseball Academy’s annual open house is being held on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will include free clinics, access to the facility, food and deals on programs. Click here for more information. 

Photo and video of Jake Agnos courtesy of Complete Game

Travel Notebook: Arlington Arsenal Claims 3 of NVTBL's 5 Youth Fall Championships

November 4 - Five youth teams were crowned over the weekend as the Northern Virginia Travel Baseball League’s fall end-of-season tournament champions. 

The Arlington Arsenal program had a big weekend, winning three titles in the 9U, 10U and 12U gold brackets. The Marucci Stars 8U Wunder and Mount Vernon Patriots 11U claimed the other two gold titles. 

Stars 8U Wunder (22-2) swept its four games over the weekend and finished its season on a seven-game winning streak, getting a combined five RBI from Blake Robey and Maddux Mace in an 11-6 championship game win over the Loudoun South Eagles. 

In 9U, the Arsenal Blue (17-1) totaled 70 runs while sweeping its four games and beat the Falls Church Copperheads, 17-2, in yesterday’s final. The team got two hits and three RBI from Bryce Decker and Nick Nimerala and three hits and two RBI from Matt Woolfley in the final and finished its season on an eight-game win streak. 

The Arsenal 10U Blue defeated the SYA Mets Blue, 6-3, in its championship game, while the Mount Vernon Patriots 11U beat the Virginia Bombers, 17-8, in its final. The Patriots won three of their games in comeback fashion, and Nathan Roeschlein hit a walk-off homer in their first game on Saturday when Mount Vernon was trailing and down to its last strike. Luke Larimore had two homers and Matthias Alden also homered once over the weekend.

In the 12U division final, the Arsenal Blue knocked off the Mount Vernon Mavericks, 5-1, behind a five-hitter from Hank Thomson. It was the third consecutive NVTBL fall championship for the 12U team. 

Canes 14U NOVA Advances to Final at Top Gun Winter World Series

In North Carolina this weekend, the EvoShield Canes 14U North advanced to the Division I championship game at the Top Gun Winter World Series before falling 2-0, to the EvoShield Canes 14U NC. 

The Canes (31-4-1), coached by Mike Rowling, had won four straight to advance to yesterday’s final. The Loudoun County-based club advanced to the championship game at seven tournaments this fall, winning four of them. 

Yarnell Perfect as Stars 14U Huller Wraps Successful Fall Campaign

Connor Yarnell needed just 34 pitches to work through four perfect innings during Marucci Stars 14U Huller’s 10-0 mercy rule victory over NCDB 14U yesterday afternoon at the Top Gun World Series in North Carolina.

Yarnell didn’t reach any three-ball counts and recorded first-pitch strikes to nine of the 12 batters he faced over his efficient outing. The Stars (25-4) went 2-2 over the weekend, winning a consolation bracket to conclude their fall season.

Coach Mike Huller’s club posted a team earned run average of 1.60 over its 29 games, led by Connor Lyle’s 1.20 ERA in 40 innings. Offensively, the Stars were led by Griffin Burkholder, who hit .456, along with Jackson Sirois (.425) and Shawn Arneja (.415). 

Senators’ Pietrandrea Shines at Sports at the Beach

Luke Pietrandrea (Woodbridge) closed out his fall season with a big weekend while playing with his Metro Senators Futures 20222 team at Sports at the Beach in Delaware.

Pietrandrea, a left-hander who plays first base and in the outfield when not on the mound, went 9-for-11 with five doubles and nine RBI and struck out eight in three scoreless innings. The Senators went 3-1 at the tournament and finished 10-8-1 this fall.

Photos of, clockwise from left, Arlington Arsenal 9U Blue after winning the NVTBL fall championship, Andrew Cortor courtesy of EvoShield Canes, and Connor Lyle courtesy of Marucci Stars

Kamide’s Korner: The Concorde is Loaded, But True Measure Remains Championships

November 4 - Sure, you can call me a Concorde District homer. 

I played at Herndon when the Hornets were in the district and in the midst of their heyday, winning back-to-back Northern Region championships in 1995-96. I coached for 10 years at two Concorde programs (Centreville, Oakton) and a third (Madison) that would later join the district. 

So, yes, I’m an advocate for the league. I think that’s been established after years of telling anyone who would listen (and some who didn’t want to) that there is no better-quality of baseball played anywhere in Virginia then in the Concorde. There are no nights off, and that narrative was validated further with the addition of Madison a few years ago.

This coming season, with the transfer of James Triantos to Madison, the Concorde looks to be the most-talented in the state. The district is loaded with Division I pitchers, deep lineups that should give opposing teams fits, seasoned and playoff-tested coaching staffs, and is full of expectations. 

In particular, from this writer. 

The league is due for a state championship. In the 19 seasons since Oakton won the Group AAA title in 2000, the Concorde has had 15 teams advance to the state tournament. Six have made the championship game, but just one - Chantilly in 2016 - would win. The league’s teams have a 12-14 record in the state tournament over that span. (Note: This doesn’t include Madison, which has made three appearances in that span - going 6-1 and winning titles in 2002 and 2015 - while a member of the Liberty District.)

Over the same period, the Patriot District has had seven teams advance to the state final. They’ve won four - West Springfield in 2010 and 2018 and Lake Braddock in 2012 and 2019. To be fair, those two programs have carried a league that has been top-heavy at times, but Robinson, South County and W.T. Woodson have also made state appearances over the past couple decades.

In a game where success is measured by statistics and numbers, the most important one - your record in championship games - reads as the following in state championship games since 2001:

Patriot District: 4-for-7
Concorde District: 1-for-5

Each of the Concorde’s current five teams have made the state tournament within the past four seasons. That’s impressive, no doubt. No other league in the state can make that claim. Making it out of regionals and qualifying for the state tournament is absolutely a big deal. 

But for me to continue banging the Concorde drum, for me to remain competitive in arguments with coaches from the Patriot and down at the beach, it’s time for the Concorde to start consistently winning state championships. 

Will that start this spring?

Photos of, clockwise from bottom left, Chantilly’s Kevin Ford, Oakton’s Justin Janis, Centreville’s Scott Rowland, Madison’s Mark ‘Pudge’ Gjormand, Westfield’s Rob Hahne by Fred Ingham

Fitzgerald, Thompson Combine on Shutout, MVP Completes Unbeaten PSL Run

November 3 - Danny Fitzgerald and Jack Thompson combined on a five-hit shutout as MVP Royals National 2020 defeated Diamond Elite 18U, 2-0, in the NVTBL Premier Showcase League’s fall championship game earlier today in Lorton. 

Fitzgerald (W.T. Woodson), who has committed to pitch for Catholic University, started and struck out five while scattering three hits in three innings. After a single by Justin Rebok (Broad Run) to begin the top of the third, he’d strike out his final three batters. Thompson (South Lakes), a Virginia Military Institute recruit, battled some control issues - he walked four and hit two - but worked through traffic and fanned five over four frames to earn the decision. 

The Royals (15-0) did just enough to complete their unbeaten fall campaign. 

“To go undefeated in anything is doing something, especially against the teams we’ve played,” said MVP coach Mark ‘Pudge’ Gjormand, the coach at Madison who had Oakton skipper Justin Janis on his staff this fall. “It was a good game, a good way to end it. They won it last year, so we wanted to get it back and it’s good to bring that home to MVP. 

“I could do this for a few more months with this group, it’s fun to see another side and be able to coach guys like Derek Furr and Gavin Collins and not have to compete against them.”

Less than 24 hours after beating NOVA Premier, 1-0, in 12 innings in a semifinal contest, Diamond Elite (7-5-2) stranded 10 runners and left the bases loaded in the fifth. Coach Bill Mason’s club had a five-game unbeaten streak snapped.

Diamond Elite left-hander Thomas Haller (Woodgrove) pitched well but took the loss after surrendering one run on three hits over five innings. The lone run allowed by the Washington & Lee University commit came when he balked in a run on a pickoff attempt with runners at the corners in the fourth. MVP got its second run on a sacrifice fly by Davis Kelley (Oakton) off reliever Nate Spinks (Heritage) in the sixth. 

“We had some great chemistry. It kind of reminded us of the Nats with their run towards the end of the year,” Thompson said. “It was fun to win it.”

Notable: In Diamond Elite’s 1-0 semifinal win over NOVA Premier yesterday, the two teams combined to strike out 40 times over the 12-inning contest. Jaden Keuhner (Champe) hit a walk-off sac fly to plate the game’s lone run, while Rebok, Ian Babey (South Lakes) and Nick Barenz (Dominion) combined to limit NOVA Premier to five hits. Barenz went the final three frames to earn the win … In MVP’s 3-1 semifinal win over the Metro Senators yesterday, Ryan Murphy (Madison) struck out eight while allowing one unearned run on two hits in 6.2 innings and Thompson got the final out to earn the save. Derek Furr (Westfield), Mason Satterfield (Madison) and Kelley each had two hits.

Quotable: “It’s been like coaching an All-Star team, so it made for a great fall. Coach Janis, it was great to be able to work with him. We really focused on them being high school kids, being able to go to Homecoming, not having them travel down the east coast.” - MVP coach Mark ‘Pudge’ Gjormand

Media: Thompson was named the Player of the Game and interviewed here … The final out was recorded by Thompson, who earned the victory … MVP’s two runs scored on Haller’s balk and Kelley’s sacrifice fly

Photos of Danny Fitzgerald, left, and Jack Thompson, right, by Joey Kamide

UNC Recruit Triantos Transferring to Madison

November 2 - James Triantos, a University of North Carolina commit and the first freshman named a first-team All-Met selection by The Washington Post, is transferring from St. John’s (D.C.) to Madison. 

The transfer of the high-profile player was confirmed by his father, Jim. The family, which resides in McLean, is in the process of purchasing a home within the school district and Triantos will enroll for the spring semester.

Triantos had a dominant rookie campaign as the Cadets went 30-3 and won Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and District of Columbia State Athletic Association championships under coach Mark Gibbs. He hit .495 with a .576 on-base percentage, 49 hits - including 22 that went for extra bases - along with 12 steals and 39 RBI. On the mound, he was 6-0 with a 0.44 ERA and 41 strikeouts to eight walks in 32 innings. 

At Madison, he’ll join a talented core that includes three Division I recruits in senior right-handers Michael Schultz (College of Charleston) and Ryan Murphy (James Madison), and junior outfielder Colin Tuft (Virginia). The Warhawks also have three seniors who will be playing at the Division III level in righty Mason Satterfield (Washington & Lee), catcher Chris Polymeropoulos (Roanoke) and outfielder Fitz Halloran (Lynchburg). Incoming freshman Bryce Eldridge, a 6-foot-6 right-hander and left-handed swinging first baseman, is considered one of the state’s top players in his class, and junior middle infielder Miguel Echazarreta is also drawing Division I interest. 

Madison will have perhaps the state’s deepest rotation of power arms. According to Perfect Game, Triantos (90), Schultz (89) and Eldridge (88) have reached or approached the 90 MPH mark, while Murphy (85) and Satterfield (84) also boast good fastballs. The Warhawks went 16-6 last year and are 428-141 in 24 seasons under coach Mark ‘Pudge’ Gjormand, who led the program to state titles in 2002 and 2015. 

Triantos is one of five players who are leaving St. John’s, which has annually fielded one of the top teams in the metro area and Mid-Atlantic Region. The players departing also include Jack O’Connor, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound sophomore right-hander and first baseman committed to Virginia, and three juniors: James Wood, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound outfielder and left-hander committed to Mississippi State; left-hander and outfielder Jake Feffer and utility man Nick Frazier, who are also considered potential Division I recruits. 

O’Connor and Feffer have or intend to transfer to Bishop O’Connell, while Wood and Frazier are currently searching for a new school to attend for the spring semester. 

The reason for the exodus is due to the players not agreeing to pay to play exclusively during the offseason with one of Gibbs’ two travel programs, the D.C. Cadets or Diamond Skills. Gibbs and the school’s athletic director, Brian Griffin, confirmed as much in emails that were provided to the magazine. 

In his email on May 28, Gibbs stated that, “Before deciding to come to SJC, I was very specific about what the commitment was going to be. This is not a ‘pick and choose’ type situation. The SJC baseball program and D.C. Cadets program (which includes the summer player development and Diamond Skills) are all linked together.”

Griffin, in an email on Aug. 15, wrote: “Coach Gibbs makes it clear to all potential players what the expectations are for the summer off-season training activities before attending St. John’s. You decided not to have [player’s name withheld] do what was required in that regard.”

Gibbs confirmed the players were departing but declined comment regarding the circumstances. Gjormand also declined comment, citing the fact that Triantos is not yet currently enrolled at Madison. 

Photo of James Triantos courtesy of St. John’s Baseball

Next Level Warhawks
Player Positions College
Fitz Halloran OF Lynchburg
Ryan Murphy RHP/IF JMU
Chris Polymeropoulos C Roanoke
Mason Satterfield RHP/OF Wash & Lee
Michael Schultz RHP/1B Charleston
James Triantos IF/RHP UNC
Colin Tuft OF Virginia