Pro Notebook: Dodgers’ Sborz Makes MLB Debut, Then Put on 10-Day Injured List


June 22 - A day after making his Major League debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers, former McLean High School standout Josh Sborz was placed on the 10-day injured list yesterday.

In Thursday’s 9-8 win over the San Francisco Giants, Sborz came on in relief in the eighth inning and retired Tyler Austin, Buster Posey and Brandon Belt in order. His second inning didn’t go as well, as he was replaced after giving up a two-run double to Brandon Crawford and was charged for three runs before Kenley Jensen came on to get the final three outs and earn the save.

Los Angeles put Sborz on the 10-day injured list yesterday with lower back soreness.

Sborz, 26, is in his fifth professional season since being drafted in the second round by the Dodgers in 2015. He was the Most Outstanding Player after helping Virginia win the College World Series that June. At McLean, he was named The Washington Post’s All-Met Player of the Year in 2012.

MLB Draft Update: 10 of 11 Area Draftees Have Signed Pro Contracts

Three weeks since the conclusion of the Major League Baseball Draft, 10 of the 11 area players who were taken have signed professional contracts and many have joined minor league clubs with their respective organizations.

Logan Driscoll (Lake Braddock), who became the highest-ever pick from George Mason when the catcher was taken 73rd overall by the San Diego Padres, inked a $600,000 signing bonus and has joined the Tri-City Dust Devils of the short-season Single-A Northwest League.

Two area players taken in the fourth round, outfielder Brenton Doyle (Kettle Run) and left-handed pitcher Jake Agnos (Battlefield), have also reported. Doyle signed a $500,000 bonus with Colorado and is off to a blazing start with the advanced rookie-level Grand Junction Rockies, hitting .450 (9-for-20) with two home runs and seven RBI though his first five games. Agnos inked a $411,500 bonus with the New York Yankees and has reported to their spring training complex in Tampa, FL.

Fifth-round pick Conor Grammes (McLean) signed with Arizona for $300,000 earlier this week and the right-hander is expected to receive his assignment soon. Right-handers Sam Ryan (Fairfax) and Jared DiCesare (Chantilly), who were taken by Toronto in the 12th and 17th rounds, respectively, have both signed and reported to the Blues Jays’ spring training facility in Dunedin, FL.

Others who have signed and received rookie-ball assignments include: right-hander Kevin Kelly (Paul VI Catholic), a 19th round pick of Cleveland who has reported to one of their Arizona League affiliates; right-hander Jamie Sara (West Potomac), a 25th round selection by Philadelphia who is with one of their affiliates in the Gulf Coast League; right-hander Charlie Hall (Forest Park), a 33rd round pick by Oakland who is with the A’s Arizona League club; and left-hander Carter Bach (Centreville), a 34th round pick by Tampa By who has joined their Appalachian League affiliate in Princeton, W.V.

The area’s lone high school senior taken in the draft, Woodgrove pitcher Nick Lockhart, has not signed with Texas after being selected in the 11th round. Wolverines coach Rusty Smith said earlier today that Lockhart plans to make his decision whether to sign or pitch at Virginia Tech in the next few days.

Lachance Signs Minor League Deal with Diamondbacks

Kevin Lachance (Centreville) earlier this month signed a minor league free agent contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, completing a journey back to affiliated ball after the former Dodgers draft pick spent the past year-plus playing in the independent Frontier League.

Lachance, 24, has been assigned to the Missoula Osprey of the advanced rookie-level Pioneer League after the Diamondbacks purchased his contract from the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the independent American Association. He was hitting .372 with a .509 on-base percentage, two homers and seven RBI in 13 games with Winnipeg.

The middle infielder was a 10th round pick by Los Angeles out of the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, but a shoulder injury prevented him from making his pro debut until 2017. He hit .258 in 50 games in rookie ball that year, then hit .267 in 37 games with Lake Erie during his indy ball stint last year.

Sponsor: The magazine’s Pro Notebook is sponsored by the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. For more information on the Blue Crabs, visit their website at www.somdbluecrabs.com.

Photos of, clockwise from left, Josh Sborz by Keith Birmingham via Pasadena Star-News, Brenton Doyle courtesy of KKCO in Colorado Springs, and Kevin Lachance courtesy of the Winnipeg Goldeyes


Prep Notebook: Westfield’s Clancy Named 3rd-Team ABCA/Rawlings All-America


June 21 - Senior right-hander Joe Clancy, who led Westfield to the Concorde District and Region 6D championships and to the Class 6 state final, was named earlier this week as a third-team ABCA/Rawlings All-America selection.

Clancy, who will pitch next year at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, went 9-1 with a save, a 0.85 ERA and 114 strikeouts to just 29 walks in 65.2 innings as the Bulldogs (24-4) had one of the best seasons in the program’s 20-year history. He anchored a pitching staff that set a state record with 16 shutouts and also hit .318 with a .511 on-base percentage, four home runs and 18 RBI.

“Obviously, I’m very thankful,” Clancy said. “A little surprised. Looking at the list of the guys that were on there, it was a huge honor with a lot of big names.”

Clancy was the only Virginia player named to any of the three teams and the first from the state to be honored since Langley’s Danny Hosley was also a third-team selection in 2017.

Tolson Named Free-Lance Star’s All-Area Player of the Year

Stafford’s Mike Tolson has been honored by the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star as their All-Area Player of the Year, the publication announced today.

The Indians’ senior, a member of the magazine’s NOVA Nine Team and the Class 5 State Player of the Year, went 10-0 with a 1.54 ERA and 94 strikeouts to 43 walks in 77 innings. He tossed a no-hitter in a 5-0 win over rival North Stafford in the Region 5D quarterfinals, then went five innings to earn the decision in a 3-1 win over Orange County in the region semifinals and a 5-0 win over Broad Run in the Class 5 state quarterfinals.

Stafford (24-3) would go on to beat Mills Godwin, 4-3, on Tucker Sullivan’s walk-off single to claim the program’s first state title.

Tolson, who will play at Western Carolina University, had a midseason slump at the plate but still managed to drive in 16 runs and had several key hits during the Indians’ postseason run. He finished his career with a school-record 22 victories.

Stafford’s Tommy Harrison was named the publication’s Coach of the Year, while Indians outfielders Ethan Lambros and Caleb McAlister and two-way standout Tucker Sullivan joined Tolson as first-team All-Area selections. Other Northern Virginia players chosen as first-team picks were Mountain View’s Andrew Neff, Spotsylvania’s Trevor Croson, North Stafford’s Owen Ledford and Colonial Forge’s Aiden Tierney.

To read the Free-Lance Star’s story on Tolson, click here. And to view the publication’s All-Area teams, click here.

Riverbend’s Sciandra Steps Down After 3 Seasons

Angelo Sciandra stepped down earlier this week after three seasons as the head coach at Riverbend, the magazine has confirmed.

“I don’t feel I can give time that the program deserves,” wrote Sciandra, whose wife recently had a baby, in a text message on Wednesday. “The players made it extremely enjoyable. I loved doing it and coaching the players about baseball, but more importantly, about life.”

After serving as Bears’ pitching coach for two seasons under former coach Stephen Morin, Sciandra was promoted prior to the 2017 season. He was 21-44 over his three seasons. This spring, Riverbend went 7-15, upsetting a 15-win Thomas Dale team in the Region 6B quarterfinals before falling to eventual region champion James River, 7-6, in extra innings in the semifinals.

The vacancy at the Fredericksburg school is the fourth in Northern Virginia, joining the openings at Champe, Herndon and Stone Bridge.

Miller-Green Named PBR’s Virginia/D.C. Player of the Year

Lake Braddock’s Lyle Miller-Green continues to pile up postseason honors after leading the Bruins to the Class 6 state championship.

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound senior outfielder and right-handed pitcher was named earlier this week as Prep Baseball Report’s Virginia/D.C. Player of the Year after hitting .435 with 12 home runs and 28 RBI and going 6-0 with five saves, a 1.24 ERA and 91 strikeouts to 27 walks in 56.1 innings. Miller-Green also earned Player of the Year for the magazine’s NOVA Nine Team, The Washington Post’s All-Met Team, the Patriot District, in Region 6C, and the Class 6 all-state team.

He has signed as a two-way player with George Mason University.

Other area players joining Miller-Green as first-team PBR selections were Battlefield senior shortstop and right-hander Zach Agnos, Stone Bridge senior outfielder Paul Moore, Battlefield senior outfielder Craig Miles, Westfield senior right-hander Joe Clancy and Potomac Falls junior lefty Nate Savino. Agnos, Clancy and Savino each joined Miller-Green as NOVA Nine Team selections.

To view each of PBR’s three postseason teams, click here.

Photos of, clockwise from left, Westfield’s Joe Clancy by Fred Ingham, Stafford’s Mike Tolson courtesy of Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, and Lake Braddock’s Lyle Miller-Green by Gregg Zelkin


Recruiting Notebook: Eikhoff Decommits From Virginia


June 17 - Riley Eikhoff, a first-team All-Region 6D selection this spring, has decommitted from the University of Virginia as the summer recruiting circuit heats up.

The junior right-handed pitcher and shortstop is a three-year starter for the Pioneers, who went 17-5 this spring before falling in the Region 6D quarterfinals to Centreville. He was 6-2 with a 2.18 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 47.2 innings this year.

“After much thought and conversation with my family, I have made the decision that is in my best interest to decommit from the University of Virginia, and I am reopening my recruitment,” Eikhoff posted earlier tonight on his Twitter handle.

Eikhoff initially committed to the Cavaliers in the fall of 2017. He plays during the offseason with the EvoShield Canes travel program.

Centreville’s Trinca Commits to George Mason

Thomas Trinca committed last week to play at George Mason, the Patriots’ first commitment from the Class of 2020.

The outfielder was a first-team All-Region 6D selection this spring after hitting .423 with a .484 on-base percentage, 16 extra-base hits - including 11 doubles - with 16 RBI and nine steals. He plays in the offseason with the Marucci Stars travel program.

Commonwealth Games to Be Held July 19-21 in Lynchburg

The 30th annual Virginia Commonwealth Games, the state’s premier recruiting event, will be held July 19-21 in Lynchburg.

Potomac coach Mike Covington, who has coached the North team each year the Games have been held, said today he hopes to finalize his roster in the next couple days. Covington led the North team to the championship last year after having a seven-year title run snapped in 2017.

On July 19, teams will hold batting practice on the field at Liberty University, followed by the opening ceremonies. The West will play the Central at 6 p.m. and the North will play the East at 8:30 p.m. On July 20, games begin at 9:30 a.m., with the Central playing the North in the first game, followed by the West vs. the East, the East vs. the Central, and the North vs. the Central.

On July 21, the Bronze Medal game is scheduled in the morning, with the Gold Medal game held in the afternoon.

Photo of, clockwise from left, Patriot’s Riley Eikhoff and Centreville’s Thomas Trinca by Fred Ingham, and Mike Covington by Joey Kamide


Prep Notebook: Eight Locals to Play in VHSCA All-Star Game at JMU


June 12 - Eight area seniors were selected to play in the Virginia High School Coaches Association All-Star Game later this month in Harrisonburg.

Players nominated by their high school coach were selected in a draft held by the game’s two head coaches, Blue team coach Mike Covington (Potomac) and Red team coach Roland Wright (Western Branch). The All-Star Game will be held at 7 p.m. on June 24 at James Madison University’s Veterans Memorial Park.

Selected for the Blue team were Westfield right-hander Joe Clancy, Brentsville pitcher and shortstop Jake DeLisi, Madison lefty Matt Howat, George Mason right-hander Jay Nesson and Potomac pitcher and infielder Josue Cumba. Chosen for the Red team were West Springfield catcher David Giorgis, Madison first baseman and left-hander Josh Gjormand and Chantilly shortstop and pitcher Dylan Siesky.

Champe Seeking Coach After Not Renewing Prince’s Contract

John Champe will not retain coach Michael Prince, who was 12-27 in his two seasons at the Aldie school.

The Knights (9-12) increased their win total by six in their second season under Prince, who previously served as an assistant at Stone Bridge and Broad Run. Prince was hired in September 2017 after Joe McDonald stepped down after guiding the program in its first five seasons. McDonald was hired last month as the coach at Loudoun County’s new school, Independence, which opens this fall.

The vacancy is the third in Northern Virginia. Stone Bridge coach Mat Shannon is leaving to become an assistant director of student activities at Independence, and Herndon coach Chris Metz stepped down as his family is relocating from the area. Both Shannon and Metz also spent two seasons at the helm of their respective programs.

All-Met: Lake Braddock’s Miller-Green Named Player of the Year, Wesfield’s Hahne is Coach of the Year

Lake Braddock’s Lyle Miller-Green was named Player of the Year and was one of 10 players from Northern Virginia schools named to The Washington Post’s annual All-Met Team honoring the D.C. metro area’s top players. Westfield’s Rob Hahne was honored as the Post’s Coach of the Year.

Miller-Green was also named the Player of the Year for the Patriot District and Region 6C, and the George Mason University recruit will take the field with the No. 2 Bruins (24-3) tomorrow in the Class 6 state semifinals against James River. Hahne’s No. 1 Bulldogs (23-3) will also play in the Class 6 state semifinals tomorrow against Ocean Lakes.

Joining Miller-Green as first-team selections were Battlefield senior Zach Agnos, Westfield senior Joe Clancy and Potomac Falls junior Nate Savino. Second-team selections from area schools included Brentsville District senior Jake DeLisi, Patriot junior Riley Eikhoff, McLean senior Jackson Kantor, Lake Braddock senior Bobby Leitzel, Westfield sophomore Nick Lottchea and Potomac junior Braden Mack.

Also named as a first-team selection was St. John’s (D.C.) freshman James Triantos, who is a resident of McLean.

To view this year’s All-Met teams, click here.

Photo of West Springfield’s David Giorgis by Fred Ingham


Recruiting Notebook: Madison Grads Nielsen, Favero to Transfer to Mason; Tuft Commits to UVA


June 3 - The last couple weeks were busy for current and former Madison players, with Warhawk alums Pete Nielsen and Matt Favero announcing their intention to transfer from Brigham Young to George Mason and sophomore outfielder Colin Tuft committing to Virginia over the weekend.

Nielsen and Favero helped key Madison’s run to the Class 6 state championship in 2015 and join an incoming Patriots recruiting class that includes Lake Braddock outfielder and right-hander Lyle Miller-Green, West Potomac righty Tyler Rulapaugh and Battlefield outfielder Craig Miles. Both are currently serving as missionaries as part of their obligation to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after playing with the Cougars in 2017.

Nielsen, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound infielder, was a first-team All-Met selection by The Washington Post in 2016. He saw limited action in his one season at BYU, going 1-for-4 while appearing in two games, and will have three years of eligibility remaining. Favero, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound left-handed pitcher, did not appear in any games with the Cougars and retains all four years of eligibility.

Tuft was one of two sophomores - Westfield’s Nick Lottchea was the other - named a first-team All-Concorde District selection this spring. He joins Justice lefty Dean Kampschror as area players from the Class of 2021 to commit to the Cavaliers.

Paul VI Frosh Dolby to Join McLean’s Stieg With Hokies

Paul VI Catholic’s Bryce Dolby, a 6-foot-5 right-hander and one of several freshmen to see significant time for the Panthers this spring, committed last week to pitch for Virginia Tech.

Dolby becomes the second area freshman to commit to the Hokies, joining McLean outfielder Griffin Stieg.

Earlier this year, Paul VI freshman lefty Bradley Gagen announced his intention to pitch for Virginia. A talented area 2022 class has also yielded commitments from Osbourn Park’s Mason Balsis (Virginia) and A.J. Shepard (Indiana) as well as the St. John’s (D.C.) duo of James Triantos (North Carolina) and Jack O’Connor (Virginia), both residents of Northern Virginia.

Retrievers Get Late Additions in Westfield’s Clancy, Transfer Belanger

The University of Maryland at Baltimore County got two late additions to its incoming recruiting class, gaining the commitment of Westfield senior right-hander Joe Clancy and former West Potomac standout Luke Belanger over the past two weeks.

Clancy, who has been one of Northern Virginia’s best pitchers this season, enters this week’s Class 6 state tournament carrying a perfect 9-0 record with a 0.24 ERA and 111 strikeouts to 25 walks in 57.2 innings. Belanger hit .200 in 35 at-bats as a freshman at Radford in 2018 and .195 in 41 at-bats this past spring at St. Johns River State College, a Florida junior college. He will retain two years of eligibility.

Clancy and Belanger join UMBC’s incoming class that includes Fairfax infielder Dylan Wilkinson.

Marucci Stars Honor 40 College-Bound Seniors at Banquet

The Marucci Stars held a banquet over the weekend and recognized the 40 seniors who suited up for the travel program last year and will play next year at the collegiate level.  

The Stars’ senior class includes several Division I-bound players, including: Battlefield’s Zach Agnos (East Carolina) and Carter Cunningham (Gardner-Webb), Centreville’s Hunter Bell (Virginia Commonwealth), Flint Hilll’s Alex Walsh (Lafayette), Freedom-South Riding’s Ben Williamson (William & Mary), Lake Braddock’s Lyle Miller-Green (George Mason), Loudoun County’s Donovan Burke (James Madison), Madison’s Matt Howat (William & Mary), Potomac’s Brody Mack (William & Mary), Robinson’s Ethan Rothstein (James Madison) and West Potomac’s Tyler Rulapaugh (George Mason).

Additionally, Fauquier’s Carson McCusker, who will play at Roanoke, was awarded with the annual Matthew Vernon Poyner Memorial Foundation Scholarship and Leadership Award. The scholarship and award is named for late Stars and Langley player Matt Poyner, who passed away in February 2015 of viral myocarditis, which is an inflammatory disease of the heart muscle.

Photos, clockwise from left, of Madison’s Colin Tuft by Albert Jacquez, Westfield’s Joe Clancy by Fred Ingham, Luke Belanger courtesy of Radford Athletics, and of Carson McCusker courtesy of Marucci Stars


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


Prep Notebook: Episcopal advances to Tomorrow’s IAC Semifinals vs. St. Albans


May 7 - John Moses was 3-for-3 with a home run and three stolen bases and Thomas Windels struck out nine in a three-hit complete-game effort as Episcopal beat St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes, 4-1, in their Interstate Athletic Conference quarterfinal yesterday in Alexandria.

The No. 3 seed Maroon (16-7) advance to tomorrow’s semifinals at No. 2 seed St. Alban’s (12-14). In the other IAC semifinal, top-seeded Georgetown Prep (27-5) will host No. 5 seed Bullis (5-10), a 7-6 winner over No. 4 seed Landon (11-12) in yesterday’s other quarterfinal.

Windels, who will pitch at Macalester College in Minnesota next year, improved to 7-2 with a 1.05 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 53 innings. Moses, who will play at the University of Rochester in New York, leads the team hitting .406 with eight extra-base hits, 14 RBI and 16 steals.

The Maroon are currently ranked No. 6 in the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) Division I poll and are seeking their first state tournament berth in program history. The top nine teams in Sunday’s final poll earn berths.

MAC, DAC Begin Conference Tournaments Today

Two private school conferences featuring multiple local teams begin their postseason tournaments today.

In Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAC) Tournament, No. 2 seed Flint Hill (14-9) will host No. 7 seed St. Andrew’s Episcopal (3-11) and No. 6 seed Sidwell Friends (4-13) traveling to No. 3 seed Maret (9-7). The winners will meet in the semifinals on Thursday. On the other side of the bracket, No. 5 seed Potomac School (5-17) plays No. 4 seed Georgetown Day (7-9), with the winner travel to top seed St. James (15-4) in Thursday’s semifinals.

Flint Hill coach Tom Verbanic enters the contest seeking to become Northern Virginia’s seventh coach to reach 400 career victories.

And in the Delaney Athletic Conference (DAC) Tournament, No. 5 seed Randolph-Macon (2-7) travels to No. 4 Seton (2-9) this afternoon, with the winner traveling to top seed Highland School (17-4) on Thursday. No. 3 seed Trinity Christian (9-9) will play at No. 2 seed Fredericksburg Christian (9-10) in the other semifinal.

The DAC championship game will be held on Friday, and the MAC final on Saturday. Both will be hosted by the higher seed.

Knights Rally, Upset St. John’s in Game 1 of WCAC Semifinal Series

Two days after beating Paul VI Catholic in dramatic, walk-off fashion in the 11th inning of their Washington Catholic Athletic Conference quarterfinal contest, Bishop O’Connell used the short game and benefitted from a trio of St. John’s (D.C.) errors to rally from a 2-0 deficit for a 6-3 win in Game 1 of their best-of-three semifinal series.

The miscues by the Cadets (23-3), the top-ranked team in The Washington Post’s metro poll, came on two sacrifice bunts and a squeeze attempt in the top of the fourth and allowed the Knights (16-8) to take a 3-2 lead. An RBI single by Ryan Bhojwani and two-run double by Elijah Pinkney provided insurance in the top of the seventh, and Eddie Eisert would get the final two outs to earn the save.

Jake Berry recovered from a shaky start to go five innings and earn the win, striking out six while walking four and allowing four hits. Brandon Kim relieved and pitched into the seventh before being relieved by Eisert. The Knights will host Game 2 today at 4:30 p.m. in Arlington.

Paul VI’s Ortega, Zavacky, O’Connell’s Eisert, Ireton’s OGrady Earn 1st-Team All-WCAC

Two Paul VI Catholic seniors - left-hander Nick Ortega and outfielder Devon Zavacky - were joined by Bishop O’Connell junior shortstop and right-hander Eddie Eisert and Bishop Ireton junior lefty Jack O’Grady in earning first-team All-WCAC honors.

Bishop McNamara swept the conference’s individual honors, with Anthony Sosnoskie earning Coach of the Year and senior Ian Cawthorne being named the league’s Player of the Year.

Others named to the first team included: outfielders Jake Maske (DeMatha Catholic) and Kasey Winegardner (St. Mary’s Ryken); infielders Jack Bulger (DeMatha) and James Triantos (St. John’s); pitchers Luke Schauer (St. John’s) and Joe Quelch (McNamara); catcher Ryan Shieh (McNamara); and Blake Badman (DeMatha) as the DH/Utility player.

Selected to the second team were the following players: outfielders Khalil Brown (DeMatha), Jimmy Clark (Paul VI) and Kyras Dawson (St. John’s); infielders Aiden McDonald (Paul VI), Justin Riemer (St. John’s), Ian Remalia (St. John’s) and Kenny Baer (Good Counsel); pitchers Jack Silder (DeMatha), Jake Newquist (Good Counsel), Sean Culkin (St. John’s) and Donovan Frayer (McNamara); catcher Riley O’Donovan (O’Connell); and DH/Utility Garrett Newsome (Gonzaga).

Photos of, clockwise from left, were submitted: Episcopal players and coaches, Flint Hill’s O’Kelly McWilliams, and Bishop O’Connell’s Eddie Eisert.


Prep Notebook: Swank Returns, Riverside Runs Winning Streak to 7


May 6 - John Heltebran hit a walk-off double to give Riverside a 2-1 win over Loudoun County on Friday to cap a week in which the Rams got Carson Swank back from an injury and increased their winning streak to seven games.

Friday’s win allowed Riverside (10-7 overall, 8-2 Dulles District) to keep pace with Woodgrove (11-7, 9-1) in the league standings entering their showdown tomorrow night in Purcellville.

The return of Swank provides a lift for coach Sam Plank’s club, which dropped its first five games and lost the 2018 NOVA Nine Team member and Yale University recruit to a broken hand after its second game. The senior shortstop is 4-for-7 with four walks since returning to the lineup in Monday’s 3-2 win over Loudoun Valley and hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning in Friday’s win over the Raiders.

“Getting our leader and senior captain back in the lineup was huge,” Plank said. “Our team started out 0-5 and faced some adversity with injuries, [but] they never made excuses or turned on each other. They just showed up every day and worked hard. I am proud of this team.”

Swank joins a lineup that has been paced by Heltebran and leadoff man Sajon Belser over the seven-game streak. Heltebran is 12-for-20 with three doubles and nine RBI over the stretch, while Belser, a College of Charleston recruit, is 10-for-19 with eight runs, four doubles, two homers and six steals.

Senior right-hander Gunner Canary, meanwhile, has put the Riverside staff on his back in the absence of classmate David Setien, the team’s top returning pitcher who will miss the season with a shoulder injury. Canary has appeared in five of the past seven games, twice in relief, and is 4-0 with a save, a 0.00 ERA and 22 strikeouts to four walks in 16 innings in those outings. Sophomore righty Wyatt Shenkman has also helped fill the void, striking out nine in a five-hit complete game in Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Heritage and going six innings in a 3-2 win over Woodgrove on April 25.

Wolverines’ Curley, Fischer Combine to No-Hit Hayfield

Senior right-hander Jimmy Curley and junior lefty Adam Fischer totaled 10 strikeouts in a combined no-hitter in West Potomac’s 4-0 win over Hayfield on Friday.

Curley, a High Point recruit, retired the first seven and walked one before handing off to Fischer, who then struck out the side in the fifth and fanned six over his three innings. Justin Bassett had two hits for the Wolverines (12-5), which scored in each of the first four innings.

No. 7 Westfield Clinches Top Seed in Concorde District Tournament

Joe Clancy went 2-for-3 with a double, home run and five RBI in a 9-3 win over Chantilly on Friday and Nick Lottchea went 6.2 scoreless innings as Westfield posted its 12th shutout in a 6-0 win over Flint Hill on Saturday as the Bulldogs clinched the top seed in the Concorde District Tournament and finished the regular season on a five-game winning streak.

The Bulldogs (17-3 overall, 7-1 district) are off until next Wednesday, May 14, when they will host the winner of the tournament’s play-in game. The Concorde’s middle three seeds will be determined tomorrow, when Oakton (5-13, 0-7) travels to No. 1 Madison (15-4, 4-3) and Centreville (14-5, 4-3) travels to Chantilly (9-10, 3-4).

Photos of, clockwise from top left: Jimmy Curley courtesy of West Potomac Baseball, Carson Swank courtesy of Riverside Baseball, and Westfield’s Joe Clancy by Fred Ingham


Prep Notebook: Independence Tabs McDonald as Program’s 1st Coach


May 3 - Loudoun County’s newest high school has hired a familiar face as its first baseball coach.

Independence, slated to open in Ashburn this August, yesterday named former McLean, Marshall and John Champe skipper Joe McDonald to its post. The school’s athletics director, Ryan Rogers, announced the hire with a post on Independence’s athletics Twitter handle.

McDonald, on his personal Twitter handle, wrote: “Honored to be selected as the head baseball coach at [Independence]!!! Can’t wait to get started!”

It will be his fourth stop as a head coach at the prep level, having served in the same capacity with the Highlanders from 2001-05, the Statesmen from 2009-12 and most recently with the Knights from 2013-17. He was twice named the Liberty District’s Coach of the Year, earning the honor at McLean in 2004 and Marshall in 2012. McDonald was also the first coach at Champe, who he led two appearances in league championship games. He has a career record of 119-148 in his 14 seasons.

Additionally, McDonald has served as the vice president of the Loudoun South Little League, was a founding coach with the Aldie Senators travel program, and he currently coaches with the EvoShield Canes travel program.

The Tigers will be affiliated with the Loudoun County-based Dulles District and aligned in Region 3B.

Flint Hill’s Verbanic Eyes Win No. 400 Tomorrow at Westfield

Tom Verbanic led Westfield’s football program to two state championships in 2003 and 2007. Tomorrow afternoon, when the Flint Hill coach returns to the campus where he built a gridiron juggernaut to coach his team against No. 7 Westfield, he’ll be doing so hoping to pick up his 400th career victory as a high school baseball coach.

The contest will also feature another reunion of sorts: Westfield’s coach, Rob Hahne, was a freshman letterman in Verbanic’s first and only season as the skipper at Langley in 1984. Verbanic would depart for Fairfax after that spring, later serving as the Rebels’ baseball coach from 1985-2000 and their football coach from 1989-99. When Westfield opened in the fall of 2000, he began an 11-year run as the Bulldogs’ football coach while also serving as an assistant for a number of years on Chuck Welch’s baseball staff.

Verbanic retired as a football coach after leading Flint Hill to a second straight VISAA Division I state title last fall, finishing with 234 career wins in 29 seasons. He enters tomorrow’s game with a baseball coaching record of 399-234 and with his next win he will become Northern Virginia’s seventh coach to win the 400-win mark.

The Huskies (14-8) have won 10 of their last 12, while the Bulldogs (15-3) have posted an area-best 11 shutouts. The game is scheduled for 2 p.m.

After Snapping Marshall’s 47-game District Win Streak, Justice Eyes Playoff Run

Last year, Justice won its first regional tournament game in 33 years. Last week, the Wolves snapped Marshall’s 47-game winning streak against National District opponents. Once considered a middling program in Northern Virginia, coach Randy Lightle’s club continues to emerge and could be a dark horse in the Region 6C Tournament later this month.

Justice (12-6 overall, 9-2 district) enters tonight’s regular season finale at Falls Church (6-8, 3-6) having locked up at least the No. 2 seed in the league tournament, which means the Wolves wouldn’t have to face the five-time defending league champion Statesmen (12-6, 10-1) until the championship game.

Leading the way have been senior shortstop Archer Rutledge (.470, team-high 31 hits) and sophomore second baseman Nick Guerra (.464, 2 HR, 29 RBI), and senior catcher Quincy Wilkins and Guerra have also taken on secondary roles on a pitching staff paced by senior Teddy Coates and sophomore lefty Dean Kampschror. Coates has pitched in 12 of the Wolves’ 18 games, making four starts while compiling a 3-2 record with a save, a 2.76 ERA and 22 strikeouts to 12 walks in 25.1 innings.

Kampschror, who committed last summer to pitch at the University of Virginia, is 2-0 with a 0.37 ERA and 25 strikeouts with nine walks in 19 innings. He’s been used primarily in a relief role in recent weeks after a heavy workload early in the season. Lightle’s club also got a recent lift with the return of senior Jack Primrose, who went five innings to earn the win against Marshall in his first start in over a year following shoulder surgery.

MLB Commissioner’s Office to Present Savino With PDP League Jersey

Next Thursday, Potomac Falls junior left-hander and outfielder Nate Savino will be presented by a representative from the Major League Baseball Commissioner’s Office with the jersey that he will wear at the Prospect Development Pipeline League in Florida this summer.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound southpaw is one of 80 players nationally who were selected to participate in the league, which is a joint MLB and USA Baseball initiative and will serve as the primary identification event for the USA Baseball 18U National Team. The teams will take place over a month in June and July, with games held at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL.

Approximately 40 players will be invited from the PDP League to attend the 18U National Team Trials, which will be conducted in late August in Los Angeles. The final 20-man roster will travel for team training in Asia and then compete in the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Busan, South Korea in early September. Clemson University coach Jack Leggett will serve as the national team manager.

Next week’s jersey presentation is open to the public and will be held beginning at 5:45 p.m. on the Panthers’ field at the Sterling school.

Photos of, clockwise from top left: Tom Verbanic courtesy of Flint Hill Baseball, Joe McDonald by Fred Ingham, Nate Savino courtesy of Potomac Falls Baseball, and Archer Rutledge courtesy of Justice Baseball


Prep Notebook: Lineup Change Helps Spark Briar Woods’ 7-Game Winning Streak


May 1 - Briar Woods coach Rob Sikora moved junior center fielder Jacob Weaver up in the order while the Falcons were in South Carolina over spring break, and his club hasn’t lost since.

The Falcons (11-2 overall, 7-0 Potomac District) overcame two early deficits to knock off visiting Freedom-South Riding, 6-2, last night and enter tomorrow’s game at Ashburn rival Stone Bridge on a seven-game winning streak. They have a two-game lead over Broad Run (8-4, 5-2) and Freedom (10-5, 6-3).

At the center of Briar Woods’ success has been Weaver, who has gone 11-for-24 with eight runs, seven stolen bases and six RBI while hitting in one of the top two spots in the lineup since the change was made following a 4-2 loss to Halifax County on Apr. 15. Weaver is batting .400 with 13 runs and 12 steals this season.

“We had Weaver in the 9-spot early because I wanted somebody there who could turn the lineup over to the top of the order,” Sikora said. “In Myrtle Beach, we wanted to try some different things. He got hot and has stayed hot.”

The Falcons are also getting big campaigns from junior catcher Nathan Cmeyla (.378, 11 RBI) and sophomore second baseman Evan Smith (.364, 12 RBI), a West Virginia recruit who transferred in from St. John’s (D.C.). Senior Tyler Woody is also hitting over .300 and has had several key hits, junior third baseman Nick Famiglietti remains a presence atop the lineup and junior Ian Smith - Evan’s older brother - has forced his way into the lineup in recent weeks.

Sikora also credits a pitching staff that has a number of new contributors after the graduation of ace Wilson Ayers, who anchored the unit while Briar Woods won the state championship in 2017 and made a second straight Class 5 state tournament appearance last year.

“I’m real pleased with how we’re pitching,” the coach said. “We don’t have that big-name arm, that stud who just goes out and shoves. But what we have are guys who control their pitches and force hitters to put the ball in play.

“In all honesty, I’m not surprised with how we’re playing. If you look at the state game we played last year against Potomac, we had four or five sophomores playing in that game … We knew two years ago that the freshman class was really strong, and now they’re starters.”

Mack Becomes Potomac’s 9th Player to Reach 100 Hits

Brody Mack had two hits in No. 6 Potomac’s 2-1 extra-inning win over Colonial Forge on Monday to become the Dumfries program’s ninth player to reach 100 career hits.

Mack, a left-handed swinging outfielder and left-handed pitcher who has signed to play at the College of William & Mary, has been hot of late after a slow start. He had another two hits and three RBI in last night’s win over Freedom-Woodbridge and has hits in seven of his last games, totaling four multi-hit games over that stretch.

He is hitting .370 with 20 RBI after earning NOVA Nine Team honors last year, when he hit .462 with an area-high 36 RBI. The Panthers (15-3 overall, 9-1 Cardinal District) will play at Colgan (9-8, 5-4) on Friday.

Northern Virginia Teams Represented in Latest Post, PBR Rankings

Six area teams appear in The Washington Post’s metro area Top 10 and seven are in Prep Baseball Report’s latest Power 25 Poll ranking the top teams in Virginia and D.C.

The Post’s bi-weekly poll, which was last released on Apr. 22, has Battlefield (13-3) at No. 2. Northern Virginia teams also possess the last five spots in the poll - No. 6 Lake Braddock (16-2), No 7 Potomac (15-3), No. 8 Madison (14-3), No. 9 Westfield (15-3) and No. 10 Patriot (13-2). The Post’s coverage area does not include the counties of Fauquier, Spotsylvania or Stafford.

In PBR’s newest Power 25, released on Monday, Patriot jumped from No. 21 to No. 8 and is the highest-ranked local team. The Pioneers are followed by No. 11 Madison, No. 12 Highland School (15-4), No. 15 Battlefield, No. 16 Lake Braddock, No. 19 Stafford (15-2) and No. 21 Brentsville District (12-2).

Dominion Southpaw Weber Taking Mound Against Area’s Top Arms

In his six starts this season, Dominion senior left-hander Dylan Weber has faced three opposing pitchers who have committed or signed with Division I programs and another who likely will join that group.

Weber, who will pitch for one of the country’s top Division III programs at Christopher Newport, split his first two starts with Patriot’s Riley Eikhoff (Virginia) and Loudoun County’s Donovan Burke (James Madison) in March. Last week, he had his best outing of the spring in a 5-0 win over Heritage, striking out a season-high eight while tossing a no-hitter to beat Heritage and Dylan Saale, a 6-foot-4 junior right-hander who has received Division I interest.

He wasn’t able to replicate that form last night, taking the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) in five innings as the Titans (9-6) saw their five-game win streak halted with a 6-3 loss to Woodgrove. Weber’s counterpart was 6-foot-6, 220-pound right-hander Nick Lockhart, who has signed with Virginia Tech.

Weber, who is 2-4 with a 2.12 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 29.2 innings, will likely be pitted against another Virginia Tech recruit next week in Loudoun Valley’s Michael Grupe. Dominion is scheduled to play the Vikings on back-to-back nights on Monday and Tuesday.

Photos of, clockwise from left: Jacob Weaver courtesy of Briar Woods Baseball, Potomac’s Brody Mack by Michael Greene, and Dylan Weber courtesy of Dominion Baseball


Prep Notebook: Is Herndon’s Jones Northern Virginia’s Most-Underrated Player?


April 17 - Mike Jones might be Northern Virginia’s best player you’ve never heard of.

Now you have.

Herndon’s senior third baseman hasn’t spent his summers trekking all over the east coast to gain exposure on the showcase circuit, opting instead to play in the local Babe Ruth League. In the fall, he was busy playing for the Hornets’ football team, earning first-team All-Liberty District honors as a wide receiver and kick returner and a second-team All-Region 6D nod as a returner.

After hitting four home runs en route to first-team all-district honors last spring, the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Jones has picked up where he left off, slugging his way onto college coaches’ radars this spring. He entered today hitting .429 with five homers, 14 RBI and 19 runs for Herndon, who are 7-4 overall and 2-0 over its spring break trip to Orlando, FL. Of his 18 hits, 11 have gone for extra bases.

“Mike Jones is a great kid and has a bright future in front of him,” Hornets second-year coach Chris Metz wrote. “He is also a very coachable kid. Very quiet and goes about his business on the field.”

While the reserved Jones might prefer a low profile, his athleticism and muscular build strike comparisons to the program’s highest-profile alum, Brandon Guyer, another former two-sport star at the school who is now in his eighth season in the Major Leagues. Jones is able to dunk a basketball while standing flat-footed under the basket, and a quick search of football highlights such as this one demonstrate his agility and speed.

Now, finally on the recruiting radar halfway through is final prep season, Jones hopes to help the Hornets make a push for their first regional appearance since 2015 while continuing to improve his stock with college coaches.

Herndon resumes play in Orlando tomorrow against Brooks College Prep/Chicago International Charter-Hawkins.

Tigers’ Foursome Has Defending Region 3B Champs Rolling

No. 9 Brentsville District had winning streaks of eight and six en route to a Region 3B championship and a berth in the Class 3 state semifinals. The Tigers have carried that momentum into the 2019 season, winning their first nine games before yesterday’s 7-6 loss to No. 8 Stafford in the Eddie Hope “Let’s Play Two” Tournament semifinals.

Brentsville (10-1) rebounded to beat Rock Ridge, 5-2, in today’s third-place game and has now won 24 of 27 games since dropping four of five during a stretch in late March and early April last year. A big reason for its success this spring has been the pitching combination of senior Jake DeLisi and junior Vince DiMauro and a lineup paced by versatile senior infielder Billy Hoad and senior center fielder Luke Binsted, who transferred after earning second-team All-Northwestern District honors at Manassas Park in 2018.

DeLisi is 4-0 with a save and a 0.67 ERA with 32 strikeouts to five walks in 21 innings, while DiMauro is 4-0 with a save and a 1.85 ERA with 53 strikeouts and eight walks. The two right-handers combined for a no-hitter in a 4-0 win over Fauquier on Mar. 25, and also combined to hold Skyline hitless in a season-opening 11-0 win that was shortened to five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.

Meanwhile, Hoad is hitting .472 with four extra-base hits and 18 runs out of the leadoff spot and Binsted is hitting .436 with five extra-base hits and 12 RBI.

The Tigers resume play on Tuesday at Kettle Run.

Teams Navigate Early-Season Injury Bug

Injuries have plagued area teams that entered the season with high hopes.

Riverside, a preseason Northern Virginia Top 10 team after going 19-3 last year, will be without one of its top pitchers, senior David Setien, for the entire season with a labrum injury to his shoulder. After dropping their first five games, the Rams (3-6) have won three of four entering today’s game against Bishop England (S.C.) at the Hanahan Invitational Tournament in Charleston, S.C., and hope to get senior shortstop Carson Swank, a Yale recruit and member of the 2018 NOVA Nine Team, back at the end of the month as he recovers from a broken hand.

Fauquier, coming off a Class 4 state tournament berth, lost 6-foot-6, 225-pound right-hander Lane Pearson to Tommy John Surgery prior to the season. Pearson will pitch next year at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The same fate occurred for Bishop O’Connell’s Nick Liverpool, who will also miss his final prep season after having TJ before going down to play at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina next year.

Two Division I-bound players have also suffered minor injuries - O’Connell junior shortstop and right-hander Eddie Eisert (N.C. State) missed some time due to a hip injury and South Lakes junior shortstop Ryan Dooley (Virginia Military Institute) is out for a few games with a dislocated finger - and Potomac sophomore third baseman Dylan Heil, one of the Panthers’ top hitters this season, is out for at least two more weeks following hernia-related surgery last Friday.

Photo of Herndon’s Mike Jones by Patrick Mills

Prep Notebook: Streaking West Potomac Pulls 2nd Upset, Has Won 5 of 6


Alex Grove (1).png

April 8 - For the second time in two weeks, West Potomac upset a team ranked in the Northern Virginia Top 10, taking an early lead and holding on when reliever Alex Grove worked out of a bases-loaded, no outs jam in the bottom of the seventh inning to preserve a 3-1 win at No. 2 Potomac on Thursday.

“[I was] proud of our guys for the preparation they put in to get ready and for battling all the way against a very good team,” Wolverines coach Jimmy Linza said. “We’ve shown ourselves that we can compete with the best, but have to respect every opponent, no matter their record.”

The win was the third straight and fifth in six games for West Potomac (5-2), which beat No. 9 Bishop O’Connell, 4-3, on Mar. 20. The loss was the first of the season for the Panthers (7-1), who had the heart of their order up once they loaded the bases in the seventh only to have Grove retire Julian Cumba, Brody Mack and Braden Mack on two strikeouts and a fly ball.

“A loss is a loss,” Potomac coach Mike Covington texted following the game. “We played poorly tonight.”

The Wolverines posted three runs over the first two innings against Panthers starter Braden Mack, then saw their starter, senior left-hander Jack Bachmore, along with relievers Albert Pallasch and Grove work around constant traffic. Potomac stranded eight runners in scoring position.

Bachmore struck out eight over five innings to earn the win.

Wortman, Eagles’ New Leadoff Man, Sparks 3-Game Win Streak

Colonial Forge has begun to hit its stride, entering the week on a three-game winning streak since coach Dave Colangelo inserted switch-hitting senior catcher and first baseman Jake Wortman into the leadoff spot in his order.

Wortman, a Bucknell University recruit, is hitting .450 and enters today’s game against Clover Hill riding an 11-game hitting streak that dates to last season. He has found success from both sides of the plate, going 6-for-14 batting left-handed and 3-for-6 batting right-handed.

Last spring, Wortman hit .345 with a .494 on-base percentage, two home runs and 13 RBI en route to second-team All-Commonwealth District honors, and he hit .393 with a .514 on-base percentage and 17 RBI as a sophomore in 2017.

The Eagles have scored 40 runs over their three-game streak.

Independence to Begin Search for Baseball Coach This Month

Loudoun County’s newest high school, Independence, will begin the hiring process for its first baseball coach this month. The Ashburn school is expected to advertise the position on the LCPS website later this week.

Independence, which will be the county’s 17th high school, will open this fall. The Tigers have hired a number of coaches for its fall and winter sports teams. Also in place are the school’s athletics director, Ryan Rogers, as well as assistant athletic director, Mat Shannon, the current baseball coach at Stone Bridge.

From 1954-96, LCPS had just four high schools - Loudoun County, Loudoun Valley, Broad Run and Park View. In 1997, Potomac Falls opened, and during the two-decade period between Stone Bridge opening in 2000 and Independence opening this fall, one of the country’s fastest-growing counties will have christened a dozen new high schools.

Photo of Alex Grove courtesy of West Potomac Baseball