West Potomac’s Curley is Northern Virginia High School Player of the Week

May 21 - West Potomac’s Jimmy Curley has been named the Northern Virginia High School Player of the Week, sponsored by Northern Virginia Orthodontics.

Curley, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound senior right-handed pitcher who has signed to play at High Point University, tossed a three-hit shutout and recorded 15 strikeouts in the Wolverines’ 9-0 win over T.C. Williams in the Gunston District championship game on Friday.

A first-team all-district selection, Curley entered the week 5-2 with a 0.78 ERA and 60 strikeouts to just three walks in 36 innings. He’s holding opposing hitters to a .121 batting average this spring.

Here are this week’s other seven nominees:

Justin Bassett, West Potomac - A 6-foot-2, 180-pound junior outfielder, Bassett was 4-for-8 with a double and a grand slam, driving in seven runs over the Wolverines’ two games - both wins - in the Gunston District Tournament. He entered the week hitting .403 with 27 hits, six doubles, three homers, 14 RBI and 16 steals.

Eddie Gimbel, Highland School - A 6-foot, 180-pound junior outfielder, Gimbel was 7-for-11 over three state tournament games as the Hawks advanced to the VISAA Division II state final before falling to Miller School on Saturday. He was 3-for-4 with his first career home run in Friday’s semifinal win over Greenbrier Christian, and finished the season hitting .392 with a .472 on-base percentage, 26 runs, 11 extra-base hits and 23 RBI.

Connor Hale, Broad Run - A 5-foot-9, 175-pound sophomore left-handed pitcher and outfielder, Hale was 5-for-10 with two walks and scored three runs as the Spartans won two of their three games last week. He earned the decision in Tuesday’s 6-5 win over Freedom-South Riding, going 5.1 innings. Hale entered the week hitting .412 with 21 hits and a .551 on-base percentage and is 4-0 with a save, 1.80 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 31 innings.

Braden Mack, Potomac - A 6-foot, 190-pound junior catcher and right-handed pitcher, Mack went 4-for-6 with two RBI at the plate over the Panthers’ two wins and struck out six batters without issuing a walk in three innings on the mound. He entered the week hitting .463 with a .550 on-base percentage, 31 hits, 25 runs and 25 RBI and is 6-1 with a 0.79 ERA and 47 strikeouts to seven walks in 35 innings.

Teddy Merritt, McLean - A 6-foot-6, 230-pound junior right-handed pitcher, Merritt tossed a 76-pitch complete game, scattering four hits and striking out out seven without issuing a walk in the Highlanders’ 3-0 win over South Lakes in the Liberty District semifinals on Tuesday. He also went 2-for-3 and had a two-out, two-run double to break a scoreless tie. Merritt entered the week 5-1 with a save, a 3.31 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 38 innings.

Collin Reid, Brentsville District - A 6-foot, 200-pound senior first baseman, Reid went 5-for-9 with three walks, four doubles and three RBI as the Tigers swept their three games last week. He entered the week hitting .394 with a .500 on-base percentage, six doubles, a homer and 10 RBI.

Ethan Snyder, Broad Run - A 6-foot-4, 175 pound junior right-handed pitcher and first baseman, Snyder went 4-for-8 with three walks, four runs and three steals as he Spartans won two of three games last week. He also pitched an inning to earn the win against Stone Bridge, and he entered the week hitting .436 with a .574 on-base percentage and 15 steals this season.

Sponsor: The Northern Virginia High School Player of the Week is sponsored by Northern Virginia Orthodontics. For more information, visit www.nvorthodontics.com.

Note: Player of the Week nominees come from area coaches.

Photos of, clockwise from left: West Potomac’s Jimmy Curley, Potomac’s Braden Mack, Broad Run’s Ethan Snyder, McLean’s Teddy Merritt, Highland School’s Eddie Gimbel, Broad Run’s Connor Hale, West Potomac’s Justin Bassett, and Brentsville District’s Collin Reid.

Westfield Jumps to No. 1 in Latest Northern Virginia Top 10

May 20 - On Friday, Westfield won its first Concorde District championship since 2010. Today, the Bulldogs have ascended to the top spot in the latest Northern Virginia Top 10 Poll, sponsored by Prime Time Baseball in Alexandria.

The Bulldogs (19-3) posted their 14th shutout in a 2-0 win over Centreville in the district final, getting 16 strikeouts in a two-hit effort from ace Joe Clancy to extend their winning streak to eight games. They received 35 of 41 first-place votes and  404 points, earning the No. 1 spot for the first time in the five-year history of the poll.

Switching places with Westfield this week is No. 2 Lake Braddock (19-3), which had a nine-game winning streak snapped in a 7-2 loss to West Springfield in the Patriot District final. The Bruins got four first-place votes and 341 points.

No. 3 Potomac (19-3) jumped three spots, getting 291 points after beating Forest Park, 13-5, in the Cardinal District championship game. The Panthers are followed by No. 4 Stafford (18-3), which received 275 points and moved up one position this week.

No. 5 Patriot (16-4) dropped one spot after falling, 12-1, to No. 6 Battlefield in the Cedar Run District final. The Pioneers received 235 points. The Bobcats, who moved up one spot, garnered 198 points. No. 7 Madison (16-5) fell three spots after its 6-3 loss to Centreville in the Concorde District semifinals. The Warhawks, who had a six-year league championship run snapped, received 169 points.

Another team that snapped a long championship drought, No. 8 McLean (17-5), got 150 points after beating then-No. 10 Yorktown, 8-3, in the Liberty District final. The Highlanders remained in the same position as last week and enter this week’s Region 6D Tournament on an area-best 12-game winning streak.

No. 9 Briar Woods (16-4) also remained in the same spot entering the Potomac District Tournament. The Falcons received 70 points. No. 10 Highland School (20-5) entered the poll this week, getting 39 points after finishing as the runner-up in the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II state tournament.

Yorktown (16-6) dropped from the rankings after its loss to McLean in the Liberty final.

Also receiving votes were the following teams: Brentsville (29), Centreville (24), Yorktown (16), West Potomac (7 ), Colonial Forge (3), Marshall (3) and Osbourn Park (1).

Sponsor: The Northern Virginia Top 10 Poll is sponsored by Prime Time Baseball in Alexandria. For more information on the academy visit www.primetimebaseball.co.

Photo of Potomac coach Mike Covington by Michael Greene

Class 6 Regionals: Six Ranked Teams in 6D Bracket, No. 1 Bruins Favored in 6C

May 19 - The two area Class 6 region tournaments begin play with opening round games on Tuesday and top seeds earning byes into Friday’s quarterfinals.

In the Region 6D Tournament, a deep draw exists with eight teams entering with 15 or more victories and six teams currently ranked in the Northern Virginia Top 10 Poll. The three teams receiving byes - No. 2 Westfield (19-3), No. 3 Patriot (16-4) and No. 8 McLean (17-5) - earned the top seed out of the Concorde, Cedar Run and Liberty districts, respectively. That gives those clubs the advantage of lining their aces up for the quarterfinals and potentially again in the championship game, while teams playing a first round game will have to counter with their No. 2 pitcher.

Other favorites in the region include No. 4 Madison (16-5), No. 7 Battlefield (16-6), No. 10 Yorktown (16-6), Centreville (15-7) and Marshall (15-6) The Bobcats won their district title, beating Patriot, 12-1, in Wednesday’s Cedar Run final, but the league awards the regular season champion with the top seed in regionals. The Warhawks enter a region tournament as something other than a No. 1 seed for the first time since 2012, having a six-year league championship run end when they dropped a 6-3 decision to Centreville in Wednesday’s Concorde semifinals.

In the Region 6C Tournament, No. 1 Lake Braddock remains the favorite despite a 7-2 loss to West Springfield in Friday’s Patriot District championship game. With the win, the defending state champion Spartans (12-10) earned the league’s bye into Friday’s regional quarterfinals. The Bruins (19-3), which had a nine-game winning streak snapped, will host Woodbridge (8-10) on Tuesday.

Another favorite in Region 6C is West Potomac (15-5), which blitzed T.C. Williams, 9-0, to claim its second consecutive Gunston District title and one of the region’s three byes. The Wolverines, however, could get a quarterfinal test in the form of Robinson (14-8), which has wins over four teams that have been ranked in the Top 10 Poll - Centreville, McLean, West Springfield and Yorktown.

The winner of that game would likely get a semifinal match-up with Lake Braddock, the only team in the region tournament currently ranked in the Top 10.

The path to the state tournament - region finalists receive berths - looks decidedly easier on the other side of the Region 6C bracket. Should the Spartans get past the Colgan-T.C. Williams winner, they’d likely face Justice (15-7) or Forest Park (12-10) in the semifinals.

Both Marshall and Justice qualified for the regional tournaments after advancing to the championship game in the National District, which also includes five Class 5 teams. The Statesmen beat the Wolves, 8-1, on Friday for their sixth straight league title.

This story will be updated with the schedules for the Region 6A and Region 6B tournaments once they are finalized, and with scores following each round. Below are the schedules for Region 6C and Region 6D.

Region 6C Tournament:

Cardinal District:
#1 Forest Park (12-10)
#2 C.D. Hylton (11-9)
#3 Colgan (11-11)
#4 Woodbridge (8-10)

Gunston District:
#1 West Potomac (15-5)
#2 T.C. Williams (8-14)
#3 Hayfield (5-14)
#4 Annandale (6-16)

Patriot District:
#1 West Springfield (12-10)
#2 Lake Braddock (19-3)
#3 Robinson (14-8)
#4 Fairfax (7-15)

At-Large: Justice (15-7)

First Round (Wednesday, May 22)
Game #1: Hayfield at Robinson
Game #2: Woodbridge at Lake Braddock
Game #3: Fairfax at C.D. Hylton
Game #4: Colgan at T.C. Williams
Game #5: Annandale at Justice

Quarterfinals (Friday, May 24)
Game #6: G1 Winner at West Potomac
Game #7: G2 Winner vs. G3 Winner
Game #8: G4 Winner at West Springfield
Game #9: G5 Winner at Forest Park

Semifinals (Tuesday, May 28)
Game #10: G6 Winner vs. G7 Winner
Game #11: G8 Winner vs. G9 Winner

Championship Game (Friday, May 31)
Game #12: G10 Winner vs. G11 Winner

Region 6D Tournament:

Cedar Run District:
#1 Patriot (16-4)
#2 Battlefield (16-6)
#3 Osbourn Park (13-6)
#4 Stonewall Jackson (5-17)

Concorde District:
#1 Westfield (19-3)
#2 Centreville (15-7)
#3 Madison (16-5)
#4 Chantilly (11-11)

Liberty District:
#1 McLean (17-5)
#2 Yorktown (16-6)
#3 South Lakes (11-11)
#4 Herndon (11-11)

At-Large: Marshall (15-6)

First Round (Wednesday, May 22)
Game #1: Osbourn Park at Yorktown
Game #2: Herndon at Battlefield
Game #3: Chantilly at Marshall
Game #4: South Lakes at Madison
Game #5: Stonewall Jackson at Centreville

Quarterfinals (Friday, May 24)
Game #6: G1 Winner at Westfield
Game #7: G2 Winner vs. G3 Winner
Game #8: G4 Winner at Patriot
Game #9: G5 Winner at McLean

Semifinals (Tuesday, May 28)
Game #10: G6 Winner vs. G7 Winner
Game #11: G8 Winner vs. G9 Winner

Championship Game (Friday, May 31)
Game #12: G10 Winner vs. G11 Winner

Photos of, from left: Patriot coach Josh Steinberg by Fred Ingham, Chantilly coach Kevin Ford by Michael Greene, and Justice coach Randy Lightle courtesy

Championship Friday: Spartans Upset Top-Ranked Bruins, Win Patriot District Title

May 19 - West Springfield continues to have the formula others in the area haven’t solved, riding the pitching and hitting of sophomore Jake Roberti past No. 1 Lake Braddock, 7-2, in Friday’s Patriot District championship game.

Roberti went the distance in a gritty 98-pitch outing as the Spartans (12-10) snapped a nine-game winning streak by the Bruins (19-3) and won their third district title under coach Jason Olms.

“He’s grown up a lot,” Olms said of his young right-hander. “We knew ne had ability, we just weren’t sure how he was going to handle things. He started off the year a little rough, and how he’s progressed over the year, it’s been very impressive.

“I was impressed with his poise on Friday. As long as he was throwing strikes, he was going to stay in there.”

The defending state champions have won seven of nine since a five-game midseason losing streak and earned a bye to Friday’s Region 6C quarterfinals, where they will host the winner of Colgan (11-11) and T.C. Williams (8-14). Over its past 27 games, Lake Braddock is 1-4 against the Spartans and 21-1 against all other teams.

Roberti’s poise helped him get through one of the area’s top lineups, one that had reached double-digit run totals in four of its previous five games and 11 times this season. He shook off Miller-Green’s long first-inning fly ball that was caught at the wall by center fielder Alec Reilly, then shook off Miller-Green’s solo homer in the third that cut West Springfield’s lead to 2-1.

“A lot of pitchers would get rattled by that, but he got out of it and calmed himself down,” Olms said of Miller-Green’s loud out in the first. “After Lyle did the same thing with his home run in the third, [Roberti] kind of smiled and said, ‘I didn’t make a terrible pitch’. He just kept throwing strikes and he only walked one, and against that lineup, that’s a tough thing to do because they’re so disciplined. He just kept grinding, and it was good to see.”

Roberti, who also went 2-for-4 with two RBI to pace the Spartans’ eight-hit effort, stranded four runners in scoring position and struck out Bobby Leitzel with two on to end the game. West Springfield put the game away with four unearned runs off Miller-Green in the top of the seventh.

The Bruins will host Woodbridge (8-10) on Tuesday in the opening round of the region tournament.

Westfield Posts 14th Shutout, Beats Centreville for First Concorde Title since 2010

Joe Clancy struck out 16 and tossed No. 2 Westfield’s 14th shutout of the season and the Bulldogs scored the game’s lone two runs in the first inning en route to a 2-0 win over visiting Centreville and their first Concorde District championship since 2010.

Clancy retired the first 11 batters he faced - including the first six via strikeout - before Thomas Trinca’s two-out single ended his no-hit bid in the fourth inning. He didn’t allow a base runner to reach scoring position while improving to 7-0 with a 0.15 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 46 innings this season. In his three starts against the Wildcats (15-7), Clancy is 3-0 with 40 strikeouts in 19 scoreless innings.

Kevin Mackmin got Westfield (19-3) on the board with a one-out double in the first, then came around to score when Centreville shortstop Derek Haynie misplayed Derek Furr’s two-out ground ball. Mackmin’s hit was the only one Eric Bohenek would allow as the Wildcats’ starter retired 16 of the final 17 batters he faced, including 11 straight to finish his complete-game outing. He had seven strikeouts.

Centreville will host Stonewall Jackson (5-17) on Tuesday in the first round of the Region 6D Tournament. Westfield receives a bye to Friday’s quarterfinals and will host the winner of Osbourn Park (13-6) and Yorktown (16-6).

No. 8 McLean Beats No. 10 Yorktown for 12th Straight Win, First Liberty District Title Since 2009

Robert Wegmueller and Zavyor Zenk combined on a four-hitter and Anthony Luu, Tio Graybill and Andrew Liao had consecutive run-scoring hits to break a 2-2 tie in the third inning as No. 8 McLean beat visiting No. 10 Yorktown, 8-3, in the Liberty District final on Friday.

The win was the 12th straight for the Highlanders (17-5), who claimed their first district title since 2009 and a bye to Friday’s Region 6D quarterfinals. They will host the winner of Tuesday’s opening round game between Stonewall Jackson (5-17) and Centreville (15-7).

Liao and Jackson Kantor each had two hits to pace McLean, which hasn’t lost in six weeks. Wegmueller earned the win after surrendering two runs on four hits in four innings, while Zenk allowed one run over three hitless innings to earn the save.

The Patriots (16-6), which fell short in their attempt to win back-to-back district titles, will host Osbourn Park (13-6) in Tuesday’s first round.

Curley’s 3-Hit Shutout, 15 K’s Leads West Potomac to 2nd Straight Gunston District Championship

Jimmy Curley struck out 15 and pitched a three-hit shutout as West Potomac beat visiting T.C WIlliams, 9-0, on Friday to claim its second straight Gunston District championship.

Curley, a High Point University recruit, needed just 76 pitches - 62 went for strikes - and he carried a perfect game into the fifth before Will Crochet broke up his bid with a single to left field. He didn’t walk a batter while improving to 5-2 with a 0.78 ERA, and has 60 strikeouts to just three walks in 36 innings this spring.

Justin Bassett and Jacob Trumbo each had two hits and two RBI to pace the Wolverines (15-4), which has won seven straight and will receive a bye to Friday’s Region 6C quarterfinals. They will host the winner of Hayfield (5-14) and Robinson (14-8). West Potomac has won back-to-back titles after snapping a 24-year championship drought last spring.

The Titans (8-14) will host Colgan (11-11) in the opening round on Tuesday.

Drumgold’s Big Day Leads No. 6 Potomac Past Forest Park, 13-5, for Cardinal Title

Matt Drumgold went 3-or-4 with four RBI as No. 6 Potomac erased an early 2-0 deficit with 10 runs over the second and third innings en route to a 13-5 win over visiting Forest Park on Friday in the Cardinal District championship game.

Adrian Touch added three hits, while Braden Mack and Ben Thomas each had two hits and an RBI and Brody Mack and Josue Cumba had two RBI apiece for the Panthers (19-3), which won its seventh straight and receives a bye to Wednesday’s Region 5D quarterfinals.

Forest Park (12-10) also earns a bye in the Region 6C Tournament, and on Friday will host the winner of Tuesday’s opening round game between Annandale (6-16) and Justice (15-7).

Kelley Fans 14, Lauer Homers as Marshall Wins National District for 6th Straight Year

Robert Kelley struck out 14 over 6.2 innings and Corey Lauer’s solo homer sparked a five-run fifth inning as host Marshall pulled away for an 8-1 win over Justice in the National District final on Friday.

The win was the eighth in nine games for the Statesmen (15-6), who have won the league title in each of the past six seasons. Kelley had two hits and two RBI while Danny Hoffman and Drew Hiller added two hits apiece. The Wolves (15-7) got two hits from Archer Rutledge.

Marshall will host Chantilly (11-11) in the opening round of the Region 6D Tournament on Tuesday. Justice hosts Annandale (6-16) in a Region 6C first round game on Tuesday.

Photos of, clockwise from left: Jake Roberti courtesy of West Springfield Baseball, Westfield’s Joe Clancy by Fred Ingham, Jimmy Curley courtesy of West Potomac Baseball, and Marshall’s Robert Kelley by Jim Halling

Championship Friday: Bulldogs, Wildcats Look to End Championship Droughts Tonight

May 17 - Something will give tonight when crosstown rivals Westfield and Centreville meet in the Concorde District championship game.

The No. 2 Bulldogs (18-3), coming off their 13th shutout of the season in Tuesday’s 3-0 semifinal win over Chantilly, are seeking their first district championship since 2010. The Wildcats (15-6) are playing for the first championship of any kind in the program’s 31-year history after beating No. 4 Madison, 6-3, in the semifinals behind a complete-game outing and home run from ace Hunter Bell.

Centreville coach Scott Rowland, who led South Lakes to a share of the Concorde title in 1998 and Oakton to three district championships in 2000, 2003 and 2005, would like nothing better than to be the coach that gets the Wildcats over the hump. “Last year, I brought that up a lot,” Rowland said. “This year, I haven’t mentioned the word championship in the last two months, I just let that go. They know how I feel about it, but I’m not harping on it.”

The players are familiar with each other - most came up competing against each other in the Southwestern Youth Association - and the two head coaches, Rowland and Westfield’s Rob Hahne, are friends off the field. Tonight, those relationships will be cast aside as the two teams hope to end championship droughts and earn a top seed and the bye that comes with it in the Region 6D Tournament.

After sophomore Nick Lottchea tossed a two-hitter with six strikeouts against the Chargers, the Bulldogs’ deep staff is well-rested and Hahne will likely give the ball to senior Joe Clancy. Westfield’s ace is 6-0 with a 0.18 ERA and 76 strikeouts to 20 walks in 39 innings, and has allowed just one earned run this spring. He was dominant in his two outings against the Wildcats, striking out 24 and allowing just four hits in 12 innings as Westfield posted shutouts in both contests and swept the regular season series.

“He has literally just blown us away,” Rowland said of his team’s earlier encounters with Clancy. “I told the guys yesterday, ‘I always feel like I’ve got a way that we’re going to win a game. But tonight, it’s really going to be up to players getting it done, executing and having good at-bats’.”

The Wildcats are likely to counter with one of two junior right-handers, Colby Shriner or Eric Bohenek.

Also tonight, No. 1 Lake Braddock (19-2) hosts West Springfield (11-10) in the Patriot District championship game, No. 8 McLean (16-5) hosts No. 10 Yorktown (16-5) in the Liberty District final, No. 6 Potomac (18-3) hosts Forest Park (12-9) in the Cardinal District final, West Potomac (14-5) hosts T.C. Williams (8-13) in the Gunston District final, and Marshall (14-6) hosts Justice (15-6) in the National District final.

Photo of Centreville coach Scott Rowland, left, and of Westfield coach Rob Hahne, right, by Fred Ingham

Highland to Face Greenbrier Christian in Tomorrow's VISAA D2 State Semifinals


May 16 - Eddie Gimbel and Ed Wagner had RBI singles in a five-run first inning and Blake Fisher struck out eight and allowed one unearned run in six innings to make the early lead hold up as Highland School beat visiting North Cross, 8-1, in the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II quarterfinals on Tuesday.

The Hawks’ win came on a day that saw each of the four Northern Virginia teams lose on the first day of the Division I state tournament, and will mark their third consecutive appearance in the semifinals. Highland (19-4), which has won five straight and 13 of its past 14, will play No. 2 seed Greenbrier Christian (24-6) tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Shepherd Stadium in Colonial Heights.

“[I’m] proud of our guys for reaching this point for the third straight year, but we’re hungry for more,” said Hawks coach Micah Higgins, whose program is making its fourth straight state tournament appearance and seeking its first berth in the state final. “We know how talented GCA is, but I like our fight and we will give them our best shot.”

Gimbel and Wagner had two hits apiece in Tuesday’s win, and Fisher limited North Cross to one hit and improved to 6-2 while lowering his ERA to 1.33 before Adam Dressler came on to pitch the final inning. Fisher (.422, 3 HR, 20 RBI, 10 steals) and Joe DeBardi (.493, 4 HR, 28 RBI, 14 steals) lead a Hawks lineup into the showdown with the Gators, who have won 10 of their past 11. DeBardi was named the Delaney Athletic Conference’s Player of the Year and will play next year at Mount St. Mary’s.

Greenbrier Christian, which has won 13 private school state championships, defeated Atlantic Shores Christian, 2-0, in Tuesday’s quarterfinals to advance. The Gators are led by two Division I-bound infielders in senior third baseman J.T. Inskeep (Virginia Military Institute) and junior shortstop Nic Britt (William & Mary).

The winner advances to Saturday’s championship game at 2 p.m. at Shepherd Stadium, where they will play the winner of No. 4 seed Steward School (11-11) and No. 1 seed Miller School (21-7), the two-time defending champion.

Each of the four area teams that qualified for the nine-team Division I tournament lost on Tuesday. Paul VI Catholic, making its 16th straight state tournament appearance, dropped a 4-0 decision to Norfolk Christian in the play-in game. Later in the day, Bishop O’Connell lost to Cape Henry, 1-0, Episcopal fell to Collegiate, 4-2, and Flint Hill lost to defending state champion St. Christopher’s, 5-2.

A sixth area team, Fredericksburg Christian, dropped a 7-4 contest to Isle of Wight in the Division II play-in game.

Photos of Blake Fisher, left, and Joe DeBardi, right, courtesy of Highland School Baseball

Justice’s Coates is Northern Virginia High School Player of the Week

May 14 - Justice’s Teddy Coateshas been named the Northern Virginia High School Player of the Week, sponsored by Northern Virginia Orthodontics.

Coates, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior right-handed pitcher and infielder, went 3-for-4 with two RBI and earned the decision after pitching 1.2 scoreless innings in relief as the Wolves improved to 14-6 with a 12-2 win over Wakefield in the National District quarterfinals on Friday.

The victory was the sixth of the season for Coates, who has led the team in appearances in each of the past two campaigns. Justice has clinched a Region 6C Tournament berth for the second year in a row under coach Randy Lightle.

Here are this week’s other three nominees:

Mitchell Breeding, Stonewall Jackson - A 6-foot, 185-pound right-handed pitcher and third baseman, Breeding allowed one run while scattering six hits in 6.1 innings and was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run as the Raiders beat Osbourn, 3-1, on Thursday in the Cedar Run District quarterfinals. The win clinched the program’s first regional appearance since 2015. Breeding entered the week 2-4 with a 3.90 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 33 innings.

Daniel Checkosky, Robinson - A 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior right-handed pitcher and infielder, Checkosky tossed an eight-inning shutout in a 1-0 win over W.T. Woodson in the Patriot District quarterfinals on Friday. He struck out 11 while allowing just two hits and one walk, and entered the week 4-1 with a 1.06 ERA, two saves and 50 strikeouts in 33 innings. He was a first-team all-district selection.

Joe DeBardi, Highland School - A 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior third baseman, DeBardi went 3-for-6 with two home runs and six RBI as the Hawks swept their two games last week. He entered this week’s VISAA Division II state tournament hitting .521 with 37 hits - 18 for extra bases - and had 28 RBI, 28 runs and 14 steals, and was recently named the Delaney Athletic Conference’s Player of the Year.

Sponsor: The Northern Virginia High School Player of the Week is sponsored by Northern Virginia Orthodontics. For more information, visit www.nvorthodontics.com.

Note: Player of the Week nominees come from area coaches.

Photos of, clockwise from left: Justice’s Teddy Coates, Highland School’s Joe DeBardi, Robinson’s Danny Checkosky and Stonewall Jackson’s Mitchell Breeding.

Six Area Teams Begin Play Today in Private School State Tournaments

May 14 - Six area schools will take the field today as the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association state tournaments begin play.

The Division I field includes four teams from Northern Virginia, with No. 9 seed Paul VI Catholic (12-14) playing No. 8 seed Norfolk Christian today at 1:30 p.m. in the play-in game, and the winner then playing top seed Benedictine (24-2) in the quarterfinals at 4:30 p.m. Both games are at Benedictine in Richmond.

The Panthers, making their 16th consecutive state tournament appearance, handed the nationally-ranked Cadets one of their two losses two weeks ago in Fairfax. That win played a major factor in them earning the final spot in the tournament despite having a losing record.

In today’s other Division I quarterfinals, No. 4 seed Bishop O’Connell (16-10) hosts No. 5 seed Cape Henry (15-6) while No. 6 seed Episcopal (16-8) travels to No. 3 seed Collegiate (15-6) and No. 7 seed Flint Hill (16-10) plays at No. 2 seed St. Christopher’s (16-6), the defending state champion. Each of the quarterfinal games are at 4:30 p.m.

O’Connell is coming off a grueling three-game Washington Catholic Athletic Conference semifinal series with St. John’s, eliminated in a 3-2 extra-inning loss on Thursday. The Knights are seeking their first state championship since 1998.

“I am extremely proud of how our guys battled and competed the whole series, and it’s too bad we came up a little bit short in the end,” O’Connell coach Kyle Padgett said last week. “It was high-level baseball throughout with tremendous pitching and defense by both teams. I hope we can use it to springboard us into the VISAA tournament.”

In the Division II bracket, No. 9 seed Fredericksburg Christian (11-10) will play No. 8 seed Isle of Wight Academy (14-7) in the play-in game at 1:30 p.m., with the winner of that game facing top seed Miller School (20-7), the two-time defending champion, at 4:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals. Both of those games are at Miller School in Albemarle.

No. 3 seed Highland School (18-4) hosts No. 6 seed North Cross School (14-8) at 5 p.m. as the Hawks make their fourth straight tournament appearance. No. 5 seed Nansemond-Suffolk Academy (10-7-1) travels to No. 4 Steward School (10-11) and No. 7 Atlantic Shores Christian (18-9-1) plays at No. 2 seed Greenbrier Christian Academy (23-6) in the other quarterfinals.

The semifinals and championship games are held on Friday and Saturday, respectively, at Shepherd Stadium in Colonial Heights. No area team has won the state title since 2012, when Paul VI won its fourth Division I title in nine years.

Photo of O’Connell’s Riley O’Donovan by Marjorie Eisert

Bruins are Unanimous No. 1 in Latest Northern Virginia Top 10

May 13 - Lake Braddock is the first unanimous No. 1 of the 2019 season in the latest Northern Virginia Top 10 Poll, sponsored by Prime Time Baseball in Alexandria.

The Bruins (18-2) received all 41 first-place votes and 410 points to top the rankings for a second straight week as they eye a second straight Patriot District championship. Coach John Thomas’ club entered the week on an eight-game winning streak.

Jumping two spots this week was No. 2 Westfield (17-3), which claimed the top seed in the Concorde District Tournament and received 343 points. The Bulldogs are followed by No. 3 Patriot (15-3), which fell one spot after having its six-game winning streak snapped with a 9-8 loss to Osbourn Park on Friday. The Pioneers got 316 points.

No. 4 Madison (16-4) jumped one spot with 256 points to edge No. 5 Stafford (17-3), which dropped two spots after splitting one-run games with Colonial Forge and Massaponax. The Indians garnered 253 points.

The following three positions remained the same, with No. 6 Potomac (17-3) followed by No. 7 Battlefield (14-4) and No. 8 McLean (15-5). The Panthers received 223 points, with the Bobcats and Highlanders getting 143 and 108 points, respectively.

The lone addition to the poll is No. 9 Briar Woods (14-3), one of the area’s hottest teams entering the week with wins in 10 of its past 11 games. The Falcons received 54 points and were followed by No. 10 Yorktown (15-5), which got 40 points. Last week’s No. 10, Brentsville District (13-3), dropped out of the rankings after a 3-2 loss to Skyline.

Also receiving votes this week were the following teams: Highland School (28), Brentsville District (25), Freedom-South Riding (21), Osbourn Park (14), Centreville (7), Bishop O'Connell (4), West Potomac (3), Robinson (2), Colonial Forge (1), Episcopal (1) and Justice (1).

All records are through Sunday’s games.

Sponsor: The Northern Virginia Top 10 Poll is sponsored by Prime Time Baseball in Alexandria. For more information on the academy visit www.primetimebaseball.co.

Photo of Westfield coach Rob Hahne by Fred Ingham

Agnos Among Nation’s Leaders in K’s, Continues to Climb ECU Record Book

May 13 - Jake Agnos is likely to be selected by the time the Major League Baseball Draft ends on June 5, and the Battlefield graduate’s current team, No. 8 East Carolina, could very-well be one of the eight teams that begin play the following day in the College World Series.

On Friday, Agnos tossed seven shutout innings - running his scoreless innings streak to 25 - while striking out six as the Pirates (39-12 overall, 18-3 conference) to begin a weekend in which his club took two of three at Wichita State. East Carolina, which beat No. 11 North Carolina, 9-5, last week, enters tomorrow’s non-league game against Campbell winners of 14 of their past 16 and 6.5 games ahead of second-place Tulane. The Pirates have clinched the top seed in the American Athletic Conference Tournament and will finish their regular season with a three-game series this weekend against Memphis.

At the center of the success has been Agnos, the Pirates’ junior left-hander who was a two-time NOVA Nine Team selection and our Player of the Year in 2016. The southpaw is 8-2 with a 2.19 ERA over his 13 starts, and he ranks ninth nationally in strikeouts (114) and strikeouts per nine innings (13.15). He’s recorded double-digit strikeouts in four of those starts, and has posted those numbers while showing improved control, walking just 31 in 78 innings after issuing 38 passes in 63.2 innings last spring.

"We are a close knit group and we are in the midst of a special season, but we all understand there is still a lot of work to do to accomplish our goals,” Agnos said. “We talk about it all the time, but we just have to go out each day and play our game and if we can do that, we will be in a good position to win a bunch of games."

Agnos continues to climb East Carolina’s record books. He needs six strikeouts to break Larry Crayton’s single-season mark set in 1961, and he currently ranks ninth all-time with 264 career strikeouts. The program record is 334, set from 2008-11 by Seth Maness, who pitched for five Major League seasons with St. Louis and Kansas City and is now pitching in the Texas Rangers system.

Last month, the 5-foot-11, 207-pound Agnos was one of 40 players named to the midseason watch for the Golden Spikes Award, given annually to college baseball’s best player. He raised his draft profile last summer while with the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, and he is expected to be chosen sometime on the second day of the draft. The first two rounds are selected on Day 1, with rounds 3-10 on Day 2 and rounds 11-40 on Day 3.

The Pirates will begin defense of their AAC championship when the tournament begins on May 21 in Clearwater, FL.

Note: This story was updated after originally posting on May 9.

Photo of Jake Agnos courtesy of East Carolina Athletic

College Notebook: Mason Enters Final Stretch Eyeing Strong Finish

May 9 - George Mason is unlikely to qualify for the seven-team Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament later this month, so the Patriots hope simply to finish the campaign on a high note entering its final two series this weekend at St. Louis and next weekend at home against first-place Virginia Commonwealth.

George Mason (19-29 overall, 5-13 conference) has lost three of its last four after a 4-3 home loss to in-state rival James Madison on Wednesday. Scott Morgan (Woodbridge) was 2-for-4 and connected on his second home run of the season in the loss. Logan Driscoll, who paces the team hitting .346 with 12 doubles, eight homers and 31 RBI, could be playing his final games with coach Bill Brown’s club as the junior catcher is likely to be selected in next month’s Major League Baseball Draft next month.

The Patriots, who have dropped five of their six conference series, are guaranteed of a fourth losing season in five years after winning the A-10 championship in their first year in the league in 2014.

In addition to Driscoll, the George Mason lineup has gotten a productive campaign from senior center fielder Brady Acker, who is hitting .291 with 10 doubles, six homers and 17 RBI in 34 games. Two pitchers hailing from Northern Virginia, junior Jared DiCesare (Chantilly) and freshman Patrick Halligan (Marshall), are tied with a team-high four wins. DiCesare is 4-5 with a 4.38 ERA and 57 strikeouts to 13 walks in 72 innings, and Halligan is 4-4 with a 5.03 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 53.2 innings.

CNU’s Jumper Earns 1st-Team All-CAC Honors; Biggs, Hague Named to 2nd Team

Christopher Newport junior right-hander Tyler Jumper (Robinson) earned first-team Capital Athletic Conference honors after helping the No. 3 Captains advance to the league’s championship series this weekend.

Jumper was one of six Christopher Newport players selected to the first team, which set a program record. He is 6-0 with a 1.18 ERA in 38.2 innings over his 22 relief appearances, and has recorded 36 strikeouts to just eight walks.

The Captains (33-6) host Penn State Harrisburg (31-11-1) this afternoon in Game 1 of a best-of-three championship series. Regardless of the outcome, they are likely to qualify for a 10th NCAA Tournament under coach John Harvell, who was named the CAC Coach of the Year for a second straight season.

Two Mary Washington players, senior pitcher Hank Biggs (Woodgrove) and junior outfielder Christian Hague, were named to the second team. Biggs leads all Division III pitchers with 100.1 innings, finishing his final campaign with the Eagles (15-22) with an 8-5 record and a 3.69 ERA with 79 strikeouts. Hague hit .395 with a .448 on-base percentage, 7 homers and 27 RBI in 35 games.

Saints’ Season Ends With Loss to Gwynedd Mercy in Atlantic East Tournament

Marymount dropped its second game in as many days to Gwynedd Mercy on Saturday to be eliminated from the double-elimination Atlantic East Conference Tournament.

The Saints (20-21) were the No. 3 seed in the tournament after going 8-4 in conference play in the league’s inaugural season, then beat Neumann on a 12th-inning walk-off single by Michael Wade on Friday. However, a 6-2 loss to Gwynedd Mercy later that day dropped them to the loser’s bracket, and a 19-9 loss on Saturday morning ended Mary Washington’s season.

Coach Frank Leoni’s club finished with its third 20-win season in four seasons. Luke Tyree was the Saints’ top offensive player, hitting .377 with 20 extra-base hits - including five homers - as well as 27 RBI and 18 steals. Ryan Bergenhagen anchored the staff, going 7-4 with three complete games, a 4.00 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 65.2 innings.

Sponsor: The magazine’s College Notebook is sponsored by the R&D Baseball Academy. For more information, visit www.rdbaseballacademy.com.

Photo of Jared DiCesare courtesy of George Mason Athletics