Quick Hits: In '04, Mason's Gibbons Outdueled ODU's Verlander

October 21 - Quick hits is a new weekly feature of the magazine, consisting of news and notes from around Northern Virginia baseball. 

The Latest: Most of the area’s senior pitchers have made their college commitments. One uncommitted arm to watch is Colgan right-hander Jared Dingus, who should find a landing spot soon … Three area head coaching openings remain: Jefferson has begun interviews while Park View and Gar-Field are currently accepting applications … Paul VI Catholic’s new turf baseball diamond is beginning to take shape in South Riding. The school will move to its new campus next August and the Panthers will debut at the field in March 2020 … Marymount coach Frank Leoni and his staff have landed four area recruits from the Class of 2020: West Springfield right-hander Coleman Grehawick, Briar Woods right-hander Kyle Lewis, Colonial Forge infielder Robert Moffett, and McLean right-hander Alexander Pawlowski … Christopher Newport coach John Harvell, who has recruited numerous area players over his two decades as the skipper at the Newport News school, was married on the Captains’ field over the weekend.

Remember When?: On Apr. 3, 2004, George Mason’s Eric Gibbons outdueled Old Dominion’s Justin Verlander in the Patriots’ 4-3 win over the visiting Monarchs. Gibbons, who has since served as the pitching coach at Oakton and Champe, scattered 10 hits while allowing three runs (two earned) in 7.1 innings. Verlander struck out nine but was reached for four runs on six hits. He would become an eight-time All-Star, won the American League’s Cy Young and MVP awards in 2011, a World Series ring with Houston in 2017 and married supermodel Kate Upton. On Wednesday, he’ll face the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg in Game 2 of the World Series.

Snooze Button: Riverside coach Sam Plank sent a clear message to his players who passed on the Rams’ early-morning weight lifting session on Friday: “16 players missed lifting this morning. Thanks to all the guys who wanted to get better! #Choices,” read a post on Riverside’s baseball Twitter handle

World Series: The Nationals begin play tomorrow night in the World Series against the Houston Astros. Here’s the schedule: Tuesday: Game 1 in Houston at 8:08 p.m. (Max Scherzer vs. Gerrit Cole); Wednesday: Game 2 in Houston at 8:07 p.m. (Stephen Strasburg vs. Justin Verlander); Friday: Game 3 in Washington at 8:07 p.m. (Patrick Corbin vs. Zack Greinke); Saturday: Game 4 in Washington at 8:07 p.m. (TBD vs. TBD); Sunday: Game 5 in Washington at 8:07 p.m.* (TBD vs. TBD); Tuesday, Oct. 29: Game 6 in Houston at 8:07 p.m.* (TBD vs. TBD); Wednesday, Oct. 30 in Houston at 8:08 p.m.* (TBD vs. TBD). * if necessary

Hungry?: Tomorrow from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., the Briar Woods program will be holding a fundraiser at the Chipotle located at 43660 Yukon Drive in Ashburn. During that time, the restaurant will donate 33 percent of it proceeds from customers who mention they’re there to support the Falcons. 

On Deck: The Metro Baseball Academy will be holding its annual open house on Sunday, Nov. 10 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at its facility in Lorton … Prime Time Baseball will be holding the grand opening of its new 7,200 square foot facility in Alexandria on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is open to the public … The magazine will be releasing its All-Decade Team this coming weekend, consisting of Northern Virginia’s best from 2010-19. 

Scoops: If you’d like to submit a note for consideration in our Quick Hits, email us here

Photos of Eric Gibbons, left, courtesy of George Mason Athletics and Justin Verlander, right, courtesy of Old Dominion Athletics

Mag Study: VHSL Baseball Player Participation Down 4.5% Since 2014

October 19 - Participation numbers among Virginia High School League schools fielding baseball programs have seen a steady decline in each of the past five seasons. 

Since 2014, the state’s public schools have seen a 4.5 percent drop in the number of players taking the field, down from 9,392 six years ago to 8,968 this past season. On average, the VHSL’s 309 programs rostered 29.02 players in 2019, a decrease from 30.39 in 2014. 

Locally, 66 public schools in the magazine’s Northern Virginia coverage area have fielded programs during that span - Colgan, Rock Ridge and Riverside have opened since 2014, so are not included in the study - and those programs have seen a smaller drop in numbers. They combined to field 2,258 players in 2014 and 2,203 in 2019, a 2.5 percent drop. The average Northern Virginia program carried 34.21 players in 2014 and 33.38 this past season.

Six area schools - Centreville, C.D. Hylton, Edison, Lee, Patriot and Stonewall Jackson - saw double-digit drops in numbers from 2014 and 2019. Patriot’s drop is a bit skewed, as the Pioneers had a state-high 53 players in 2014 and still rostered an above-average 40 players this past spring. Centreville, had 34 players in its program during a season in which the Wildcats earned a Class 6 state tournament berth. C.D. Hylton, which was in the state tournament as recently as 2016, saw its participation numbers reach an all-time low of 24 players this past season. 

Low 2019 player turnout at Lee (18), Manassas Park (18), Stonewall Jackson (17), Park View and Freedom-Woodbridge (10) prevented the schools from fielding junior varsity teams. In 2020, Freedom-Woodbridge will field only a junior varsity team and won’t compete at the varsity level. 

Find more information on participation numbers at VHSL and Northern Virginia programs in the tables below.

Photo of C.D. Hylton coach Jason Ritenour by Caitlyn Verberg

VHSL Player Participation
Includes 2014-19 Seasons
Year Players Programs Per Program
2014 9,392 309 30.39
2015 9,324 308 30.27
2016 9,293 308 30.17
2017 9,239 310 29.80
2018 9,098 309 29.44
2019 8,968 309 29.02

Northern Virginia Public Schools
Player Participation Numbers
School 2014 2019
Annandale 35 31
Battlefield 38 42
Brentsville 30 31
Briar Woods 34 35
Broad Run 28 32
Brooke Point 29 33
C.D. Hylton 34 24
Centreville 46 34
Champe 16 29
Chancellor 26 28
Chantilly 38 40
Colonial Forge 35 42
Courtland 28 29
Dominion 30 36
Edison 37 27
Fairfax 38 36
Falls Church 30 31
Forest Park 35 34
Freedom-SR 25 35
Freedom-W 17 10
Gar-Field 28 25
George Mason 36 34
Hayfield 39 36
Heritage 29 35
Herndon 39 33
Jefferson 32 32
Justice 26 29
Kettle Run 37 30
Lake Braddock 41 42
Langley 43 42
Lee 30 18
Loudoun County 33 28
Loudoun Valley 31 27
Madison 46 48
Manassas Park 27 18
Marshall 43 43
Massaponax 25 32
McLean 32 39
Mount Vernon 27 25
Mountain View 36 39
North Stafford 28 32
Oakton 45 42
Osbourn 40 33
Osbourn Park 41 33
Park View 15 13
Patriot 53 40
Potomac 30 30
Potomac Falls 28 29
Riverbend 35 33
Robinson 38 40
South County 34 39
South Lakes 42 43
Spotsylvania 28 33
Stafford 38 35
Stone Bridge 35 36
Stonewall Jackson 31 17
T.C. Williams 33 43
W.T. Woodson 46 37
Wakefield 29 32
Washington-Liberty 42 38
West Potomac 36 38
West Springfield 46 48
Westfield 43 36
Woodbridge 36 35
Woodgrove 32 35
Yorktown 45 39
NOTE: Includes schools fielding programs from 2014-19. Colgan, Rock Ridge and Riverside have opened since 2014.

Gar-Field's Grove 'Voluntarily Reassigned', Becomes Patriot's New Coach

October 18 - Nick Grove, who spent the past two seasons as the head coach at Gar-Field, has been ‘voluntarily reassigned’ by Prince William County Schools to fill the vacancy at Patriot. 

The school made an announcement earlier this afternoon after PWCS human resources informed applicants that no interviews would be conducted. “We fully support this decision and welcome him to our school,” the school wrote in a release. “Coach Grove will meet with interested baseball players in the near future.”

Added Gar-Field via its athletics Twitter handle: “Head coach Nick Grove has accepted a voluntary reassignment to be the next head baseball coach at Patriot. Coach Grove has been a great asset to our program and will be missed. We’re excited for him and [Patriot].”

Grove, 34, was hired by Gar-Field in November 2017 and guided the Indians to a 19-24 record in his two seasons. In his first season, they posted a 15-7 record, winning the Division II championship at the Mingo Bay Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C. and advancing to the Region 6C Tournament before falling in the first round to W.T. Woodson. This past spring, Gar-Field slumped to a 4-17 record.

The Pennsylvania native is 61-64 overall in six seasons as a high school head coach, previously serving as the skipper at Hughesville (PA) from 2008-10 and Sunrise Mountain (NV) in 2013 before relocating with his family to Northern Virginia. 

“I want to say thank you to all of the players I have fortunate enough to coach at Gar-Field,” Grove wrote via text message. “These players showed large amounts of improvement in my two years with them, and this would not even be possible without their commitment to the program and our philosophies.

“I am very excited about this opportunity. I have been coaching since I was 22-years-old, and have always dreamed big. I have always wanted to coach at a top-of-the-line program, and I am extremely humbled that I am the new head coach at Patriot.”

A social studies teacher at Gar-Field, Grove holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Grand Canyon University. He pitched collegiately at Spartanburg Methodist College, a Division I junior college in South Carolina, and then at Division II Mansfield University in Pennsylvania. 

At Patriot, he inherits a program that went 67-24 over the past four seasons under former coach Josh Steinberg. On Sept. 18, Steinberg was dismissed without legitimate cause by the school’s director of student activities, Brad Qualls, in a move that upset parents and players in the program. 

The Pioneers will field a talented core this spring that includes three Division I recruits: senior right-hander and infielder Riley Eikhoff (Coastal Carolina), sophomore catcher Mason Balsis (Virginia) - a transfer from Osbourn Park - and sophomore first baseman and left-hander Eli Serrano (N.C. State).

Photos courtesy of Gar-Field Athletics

Nick Grove File
Year School Record Pct
2008 Hughesville (PA) 10-11 .476
2009 Hughesville (PA) 15-5 .750
2010 Hughesville (PA) 15-8 .652
2013 Sunrise Mountain (NV) 2-16 .111
2018 Gar-Field 15-7 .682
2019 Gar-Field 4-17 .190
Overall 61-64 .488

College Notebook: Camp Settles in As Mason’s Pitching Coach

October 17 - Shawn Camp is no stranger to Raymond H. “Hap” Spuhler Field, the home park of George Mason. It’s there where he set the program record for strikeouts per nine innings from 1995-97 before an 11-year career as a Major League reliever.

Now, Camp has returned to ‘The Hap’ as the Patriots’ pitching coach, and the early returns have been good. 

“It’s been great having him around. He’s made a huge, positive impact on our staff,” said Lyle Miller-Green, a freshman from Lake Braddock who will pitch and play first base. “Camp has brought so much knowledge, not only the staff but to the entire team So everyone is pumped that he’s here.”

Camp takes over pitching coach duties from Brian Pugh, who is now the program’s recruiting coordinator and third base coach. He joined coach Bill Brown’s staff after spending his first five years post-retirement as the pitching coach at Battlefield, where he helped develop eight college pitchers, including four who went on to pitch at the Division I level. 

“The impact Shawn has, not just from the standpoint with his expertise in teaching pitching, but is the aura that comes with him,” Brown said. “The energy, the fun that comes with him, not only does that rub off on our kids but it impacts recruiting as well. And we’ve seen that already.”

JMU Releases Schedule, Will Face Mason in Consecutive Weeks in April

James Madison last week released its 2020 schedule, which includes games against three teams that made the NCAA Tournament and its annual home-and-home series with in-state rival George Mason. 

The Dukes, which went 31-26 last spring in coach Marlin Ikenberry’s fourth season, open their season with a three-game series at N.C. State from Feb. 14-16. They’ll open at home the following weekend against Quinnipiac, the reigning Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion. 

James Madison’s schedule includes 10 games against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents - three-game series against the Wolfpack and at Pittsburgh and midweek games against Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech. They’ll play a home-and-home with the Terrapins. The Dukes’ two games against George Mason are on Apr. 8 in Fairfax and Apr. 14 in Harrisonburg. 

Their 2020 roster includes eight players from Northern Virginia, including the following returners: right-hander Nick Stewart (Rock Ridge), left-hander Liam McDonnell (Paul VI Catholic), catchers Kyle Hayes (Madison) and Michael Morgan (Paul VI Catholic), infielders Fox Semones (C.D. Hylton) and Kyle Novak (Madison) and first baseman Brady Harju; and the following incoming freshmen: lefty Donovan Burke (Loudoun County) and catcher Ethan Rothstein (Robinson). 

ECU’s Agnos Shines in Scrimmages in Charlottesville

Zach Agnos (Battlefield), a two-time NOVA Nine Team selection, appears to be primed to have an impact as a two-way player during his freshman season this spring at East Carolina. 

The shortstop and right-hander had a single and a double in the Pirates’ first game against Virginia on Sunday in Charlottesville, then had his fastball reach 91 MPH when he took the mound for a couple relief innings in the second contest. Agnos is following his older brother, Jake, a left-hander who earned All-American honors at East Carolina last spring before being taken in the fourth round by the New York Yankees in June’s Major League Baseball Draft. 

“Good news, ECU fans. You may have lost an Agnos, but you gained an Agnos too, and this one is gonna be very good,” D1Baseball’s Aaron Fitt tweeted after taking in the two scrimmages. “Zach Agnos is a legit 2-way guy, had a liner single and a ringing double in Game 1, tough out, feel for barrel. And he attacks with three pitches, 88-91 [MPH] with sink.”

Photos of, clockwise from left, George Mason pitching coach Shawn Camp by Joey Kamide, Nick Stewart courtesy of JMU Athletics, and Zach Agnos courtesy of D1Baseball

Hawks' New Home Field Will Be Ready for 2020 Season

October 17 - After it had to move its practices and home games off campus last spring, it appears Hayfield will be getting its yard back for the 2020 season. 

Constant wet conditions on the Hawks’ field began last fall and when a solution couldn’t be found, a decision was made late in the winter to shift the program’s practices and home games 10 miles southwest to the turf field at South County Middle School. This spring, a conclusion was made that an entire new playing surface would need to be installed. 

“After being on a field for so many years, you get an idea of how wet it should be after it rains,” Hayfield coach Mike Shore said. “Me and my assistant coaches were like, ‘Why isn’t it dry? It’s still wet’. I suspect the biggest reason is that we’re lowest part of our campus, and I think the Bermuda grass just got so sick and dense that the water had nowhere to drain. It just sat like a lake.”

After months of planning, work started earlier this week, with Game Day Inc. working from early each morning to tear out the old playing surface, level the grounds, and now begin the process of laying sod and cutting out where the dirt will remain. All told, Shore said the project will cost in the neighborhood of $65,000. 

The Hawks’ new field will be ready for them to get back on in time for tryouts in February. In the meantime, Shore said they have access once a week to practice at South County Middle School while continuing their offseason weight training program. The program also has access to indoor batting cages that were installed in the school’s auxiliary gymnasium. 

Shore credits the work and support of his director of student activities, E.W. Nowland, and principal, Ed Grimm, along with Fairfax County Public School’s DSA, Bill Curran, with pushing the process through to ensure the Hawks would be back on their field next season. 

“They’ve been nothing but great and supportive through the whole process,” the coach said. “[Nowland] did a good job keeping me in the loop as best as he could.”

Shore indicated the renovation may include moving the outfield fence in several feet from left-center field to right-center field to allow for a better drainage system to be installed. If that is the case, a higher fence would be needed. The field’s current dimensions are 330 feet down both lines, 345 feet to the gaps and 370 feet to center.

“The kids are excited, they’ve been excited, and I’m getting excited that they’re actually here working on it so we can see some progress,” Shore said. “I’ve had some parents reaching out saying they’ve been driving by and seeing the work done and asking if there’s anything they can do. 

“There has been a lot of excitement and that will only grow as things get closer to be completed.”

Photos courtesy of Hayfield Baseball

At PWCS School Board Meeting, Davila Goes to Bat for Steinberg

October 17 - Rich Davila, who served as Patriot’s junior varsity coach this past spring, spoke during the public session at last night’s PWCS School Board Meeting in Manassas. 

Davila emphasized to the school board that he was speaking to defend former Pioneers coach Josh Steinberg and not to criticize the handling of the situation by the school’s principal, Mike Bishop, and director of student activities, Brad Qualls. 

“When I heard of Josh’s dismissal, my first thought was both of my boys and how I was going to explain to them that you can be better than just about everyone in your field, earning multiple coach of the year honors, be a credit to your school and community, treat everyone - from parents to umpires to opposing coaches and players - with the utmost respect, and still get fired for such petty things as weeds on the warning track … and not attending a booster club meeting.” 

Steinberg was dismissed on Sept. 18, ending a four-year tenure that included a 67-24 record and two league championships. He led the Pioneers to the 6A state tournament in 2017, when he was named the 6A North Region Coach of the Year. He’s also been named his league’s coach of the year twice.

Davila’s motivation in attending the meeting and speaking centered around his two sons, his youngest of whom will attend Patriot next year and hopes to play for the Pioneers’ program. Many current Patriot parents reached by the magazine have stated they are hesitant to speak publicly about the situation for fear it could be held against their sons by administration or the next coach. 

That’s not the case with Davila, who remains outspoken in his displeasure of Steinberg’s ouster. 

“I’m here for my sons, one who graduated from Patriot High School this past year, and one who is an eighth grader at Marsteller Middle School,” Davila said. “I have taught my sons to stand up and be heard when you seen an injustice being done, so here I am. Josh is a great educator and coach, as both my sons will tell you. My oldest took his economics class and loved every minute of a very dry subject. And my youngest is coached by Josh on his travel baseball team, and I’m sure some will think this is the reason that I support Josh, to get better playing time for my boy. My boy plays what he earns, and that’s why I support Coach Josh.”

As he concluded his remarks, Davila left the school board with the following statement: “‘Whenever you have a chance to make things better, and you don’t, you’re wasting your time on this earth’. That’s my favorite quote spoken by Hall of Fame player Roberto Clemente. 

“I couldn’t stand by without being heard. Coach deserved better than what he got.”

Photo and video courtesy of PWCS

Recruiting Notebook: Lottchea, 2019 NOVA Nine Team Pick, to Play at William & Mary

October 16 - Nick Lottchea, who exploded on the scene as a sophomore this spring while helping Westfield reach the Class 6 state final, committed earlier today to play at William & Mary. 

“Every time I step on the field, I am going to give it everything I have. There is something to be said for heart,” said Lottchea, who was a second-team all-state selection and member of the NOVA Nine Team. “I feel as though that is the brand of baseball coach [Brian] Murphy and his staff push their team to be like, and that is the group of people I want to surround myself with.”

An outfielder and left-handed pitcher, Lottchea hit .422 with a .505 on-base percentage, 14 extra-base hits and 27 RBI and was 9-1 with 1.45 ERA in 43.1 innings last season. He and right-hander Joe Clancy, another NOVA Nine Team selection, led the Bulldogs (24-4) to their second region championship and state final appearance in program history. 

Lottchea, who plays in the offseason with the Marucci Stars travel program, is part of a talented young core at Westfield that also includes two pitchers who have committed to James Madison, junior left-hander Tyler Muscar and sophomore right-hander Jason Cheifetz. 

Lottchea was recruited as an outfielder, but he said the William & Mary coaches indicated he’d be given an opportunity to pitch as well should his velocity see an increase over his final two prep seasons. The Tribe’s Class of 2021 recruiting class also includes area pitchers Nathan Knowles (Yorktown) and Mike Weidinger (Lake Braddock). 

“Not only do they care about competing at the highest level, they care about what kind of education their kids are trying to pursue. And more importantly, they care about what kind of men their kids are going to become,” Lottchea said of the coaches at William & Mary, which went 33-22 overall and 12-11 in the Colonial Athletic Association last spring. “I took a visit back in September, and it exceeded all expectations. The environment, the culture just the way everyone at William & Mary goes about their business it top-notch.”

Briar Woods’ Famiglietti, Hylton’s Barrett Make Commitments

Briar Woods senior Nick Famiglietti and C.D. Hyton junior Diego Barrett made their college commitments over the past two days. 

Famiglietti committed yesterday to play at Massachusetts, becoming the latest college-bound player at the Ashburn school. The infielder, who plays with the NOVA Premier travel program during the offseason, joins senior catcher Nathan Cmeyla (Dartmouth), senior infielder Cole Kumpf (Wagner) and junior infielder Evan Smith (West Virginia) as Falcons players now committed to Division I programs. 

Additionally, senior pitcher Kyle Lewis will play at Division III Marymount and senior outfielder Jacob Weaver will play at Division II Lincoln Memorial. 

Barrett, meanwhile, committed earlier today to play at George Mason. The infielder and right-handed pitcher, who plays with the Marucci Stars travel program, had his fastball reach 89 MPH earlier this month at the Perfect Game WWBA Underclass World Championship in Fort Myers, FL. 

Former Woodgrove Standout Hanvey to Transfer to East Tennessee State

Justin Hanvey, a first-team Class 4 all-state selection as a senior at Woodgrove in 2018, is transferring to East Tennessee State after one season at Florence-Darlington Tech.

Hanvey initially was to play at Radford before transferring last winter to the South Carolina junior college. At Woodgrove, he holds the career record for runs, triples, home runs, RBI and games played.

East Tennessee State was 34-21 overall and 11-12 in the Southern Conference last season under coach Joe Pennucci, the program’s best season since 2011.

Photos of, clockwise from left, Westfield’s Nick Lottchea by Fred Ingham, Diego Barrett courtesy of C.D. Hylton Baseball, Briar Woods’ Nick Famiglietti by Michael Ferrara, and Justin Hanvey courtesy of Woodgrove Baseball

PWCS School Board May Have Patriot’s Coaching Search in Holding Pattern

October 16 - Multiple sources have indicated the situation surrounding the head coaching position at Patriot will be among the topics covered at tonight’s Prince William County School Board meeting. 

The school board’s interest in the matter and tonight’s discussion, which would be held during the meeting’s closed session, could be one of the factors delaying the school’s search for a new coach. Five of the applicants for the position confirmed that as of last night they had not heard from the school’s director of student activities, Brad Qualls, indicating the process could be in a holding pattern.

The advertisement for the position on the PWCS website closed 17 days ago, on Sept. 30. Coaching candidates are generally contacted the week following the closing of an advertised position, with interviews scheduled soon thereafter.

The Pioneers’ vacancy was created on Sept. 18, when Qualls and an assistant principal at the school met with coach Josh Steinberg and informed him that his contract would not be renewed for the 2020 season. School officials did not respond to multiple inquiries requesting reasons for the dismissal, citing an inability to comment on personnel matters. 

The magazine has confirmed several of those reasons given by Qualls, some of which included: weeds on the field’s warning track, attendance at boosters club meetings, players spotted in batting cages without helmets, and hats not being ordered in the past on the DSA’s Oct. 1 mandated deadline. No reasons provided by Qualls were related to on-field success, issues with parents or players, spring break incidents or bad language used by the coach - examples of common reasons for a school to part ways with a coach. 

Qualls initially met on Sept. 9 with Steinberg, who went 67-24 over his four seasons, and attempted to gain the coach’s resignation. Steinberg declined and later that day he contacted the school’s principal, Mike Bishop, who indicated he was unaware of Qualls’ intentions. Bishop refuted that inference along with the magazine’s reports in a letter he sent to parents and players and posted on the school’s athletics website on Sept. 23. In that letter, the principal wrote that “there are times you need to make decisions that some will not like. This happens to be one of those occasions.”

That is overwhelmingly the case among current and former Patriot players. In a survey circulated by the magazine, 100 percent of the 33 players that responded said they didn’t support Qualls’ decision to dismiss the coach. Of the 41 parents who responded, 36 said they didn’t support the decision. 

Two members of Steinberg’s staff, varsity assistant Keith Howell and junior varsity coach Rich Davila, resigned and have publicly supported the coach on social media. Two other assistants, Sean Cheetham and Matt Holman, have at least temporarily been retained and are leading offseason practices on Wednesdays and Fridays at 2:30 p.m.. Both are listed on the school’s athletics website.

Bishop, who has been under fire in the past for unrelated issues and at one point had a lawsuit filed against a former PWCS school board member, was reached by the magazine after releasing his letter. He hung up the phone once he realized who had called him. A video detailing Bishop’s role in Steinberg’s dismissal was posted yesterday, the latest in a series of documentations related to the principal.

The handling of the situation by Bishop and Qualls has raised a number of questions in and around the Nokesville school and in the Northern Virginia baseball community. 

Now, the PWCS school board seems to have some of its own regarding Steinberg’s ouster and the circumstances surrounding it. Public backlash over the dismissal of the popular and successful coach, a teacher at the school, has included dozens of public comments of support and several parents contacting school board members. It’s unclear if any of those parents plan to attend or speak at the public session tonight. 

Steinberg has maintained a desire throughout the magazine’s coverage not to comment on the matter. 

Note: The magazine does not identify applicants for coaching vacancies, as some are currently assistant or head coaches at other area high school programs and may not want their candidacy made public. 

Travel Notebook: Cmeyla Helps Dirtbags to Runner-up Finish in Jupiter

October 14 - Nathan Cmeyla played a key role as the North Carolina-based Dirtbags bounced back from a loss in their opening pool play game to reach this morning’s final at the Perfect Game WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, FL. 

Cmeyla, the Briar Woods senior catcher who has committed to Dartmouth, went 6-for-14 (.429) with three extra-base hits and three RBI as the Dirtbags won three bracket play games yesterday and avenged their pool play loss with a 7-2 semifinal win this morning against Florida’s Scorpions Founders Club. He was 3-for-4 with a triple, a home run and three RBI as the Dirtbags rallied from a 4-0 deficit for an 8-5 win over Reds Midwest Scout Team in their first round game yesterday morning. 

In today’s championship game, the Dirtbags fell, 11-2, to Florida Burn Platinum. 

Also shining in Jupiter was Jake Berry, the 6-foot-10, 230-pound Bishop O’Connell left-hander who was playing with the Royals Scout Team. Berry started and went 3.2 innings in an 8-0 pool play win over Texas’ Stix Baseball on Thursday, striking out four and allowing three hits. The Virginia recruit had his fastball reach 90 MPH during the outing. 

Two Marucci Stars southpaws, Georgetown recruit Everett Catlett (Colgan) and William & Mary commit Adam Fischer (West Potomac), had 14 strikeouts in 11.1 innings over a combined five relief appearances. The Stars went 2-1 in pool play but failed to advance. 

Call in the Cavalry: Manassas Club Claims Ripken Kick Off Tournament

Jackson Poteat hit a go-ahead single in the top of the seventh inning as the Manassas Cavalry 13U Blue beat Ohio’s ProNine NEO Sidewinders 13U to win the championship yesterday at the Ripken Fall Kick off Tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C. 

The Cavalry (18-4-1) swept their five games at the tournament, outscoring their opponents 72-32 and reaching double-digit run totals in each contest. Luke Pierce tossed a five-inning no-hitter in Saturday’s first pool play game, a 13-0 win over North Carolina’s Riptide 13U Blue. 

In yesterday’s final, Poteat went 2-for-4 with three RBI to pace a 13-hit attack. He was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Stars 14U Huller Storms to Batten Down the Hatches Tournament Title

After it needed two runs in the top of the seventh to win its first pool play game on Saturday, Marucci Stars 14U Huller rolled through the rest of the weekend en route to the championship at the Batten Down the Hatches Tournament in Olney, MD. 

Jackson Sirois had six hits - including three doubles - and scored six runs over the final two games and Griffin Burkholder, Braedy Peck and Nate Hoskins each had two hits in a 9-3 championship game win over Maryland’s On Plane Performance. Burkholder earned the win after scattering two hits and allowing one unearned run over four innings. 

The Stars (17-2) have won five straight and nine of their past 10 games. 

Photos of, clockwise from left, Nathan Cmeyla, the Manassas Cavalry 13U Blue, and Braedy Peck courtesy of Marucci Stars