Prep Notebook: Bruins Start Thomas Era With Sweep of Concorde Favorites

March 21 - Lake Braddock’s first season under new coach John Thomas is off to a fast start, as the No. 5 Bruins unveiled their talented duo of sophomore left-handers in wins over Concorde District favorites Chantilly and Madison.

Last Friday, Andrew Schaeb struck out five and allowed one hit over four innings, with senior Lyle Miller-Green earning the win in relief thanks to senior shortstop Bobby Leitzel’s go-ahead single in the fifth inning in a 2-1 win over the then-No. 7 Chargers. On Tuesday, Lake Braddock put together an impressive 12-2 dismantling of No. 2 Madison on the Warhawks’ home field, benefitting from four errors that led to eight unearned runs but also getting multiple-hit nights from three players.

Mike Weidinger, the other half of Thomas’ second-year southpaw combo, scattered two hits and fanned four over four scoreless innings, with junior Noah Adcock-Howeth going the final three innings. Schaeb and Jay Cassady each had two hits and two RBI, and Leitzel also chipping in with two hits.

“We’re obviously happy to start the season with a couple of wins,” Thomas said. “But more importantly, it’s been great to see guys getting their first real opportunity at this level go out and assert themselves against quality competition early in the season.”

Miller-Green, the Patriot District’s Pitcher of the Year in 2017 and a second-team Class 6 all-state selection last year, will be deployed in a closer’s role assuming the likes of Schaeb, Weidinger and Cassady - a junior lefty - are able to get the Bruins through four or five innings each night.

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound slugger also has a different role offensively, batting lead off as Thomas attempts to dissuade teams from pitching around him. It’s worked so far, as Miller-Green is 3-for-7 with a walk and three runs through the first two games.

For 2nd Straight Year, North Tops Occoquan in Region Challenge

In the second Occoquan (6C) vs. Northern (6D) Region Challenge, organized by Chantilly coach Kevin Ford, the Northern teams won 14 of 20 games played between the two regions.

The participating teams were seeded in a vote by the coaches and pitted against teams of similar caliber, with each club getting one home game. The biggest winner during the Challenge was the Liberty District, which saw its teams win nine of 10 games - mostly in match-ups with Gunston District teams. The Gunston was 0-8.

The Concorde District (5-5) and Patriot District (6-6) spent most of the Challenge beating up on each other, though the Patriot took three of four in games featuring teams from the preseason Northern Virginia Top 10 Poll.

Paul VI’s Early Struggles Continue in WCAC Opener vs. McNamara

Paul VI Catholic is in danger of missing the VISAA Division I state tournament for the first time since 2003 and having its first losing season since 2002 after falling to Bishop McNamara, 6-2, in its Washington Catholic Athletic Conference opener yesterday.

The Panthers (1-5 overall, 0-1 WCAC) have struggled to produce runs and shaky defense has hurt them, in particular over the past two games. Coach Billy Emerson’s club is averaging just 2.8 runs per game and errors have led to 14 unearned runs, including nine over the past two days in a 5-1 loss to Flint Hill on Tuesday and in yesterday’s loss to the Mustangs.

Senior left-hander Nick Ortega worked around 10 hits to get through seven innings yesterday before McNamara scored twice in the top of the eighth on relievers Bryce Dolby and Aidan McDonald. An error and passed ball led to both of those runs being scored as unearned.

Under Emerson and former coach Jeff Nolan, Paul VI has made 15 consecutive state tournament berths, winning four state titles and eclipsing the 20-win mark seven times over that stretch.

Oakton’s Richards, Whipp Combine to No-Hit Woodson

Senior left-hander Seth Richards and reliever Jack Whipp combined on a no-hitter in Oakton’s 3-0 win over visiting W.T. Woodson last night.

Richards, who will pitch at Villanova next year, fanned seven while walking two over five innings to earn the win, with Whipp striking out four and walking one while earning a two-inning save. Richards retired nine of the first 11 batters he faced - the two runners reached on an error and dropped third strike - before he issued a walk to Roman Dominguez to begin the fourth.

Nick Morgan was 2-for-3 with two RBI to pace the Cougars (2-1), which gets a big test on Friday against No. 5 Lake Braddock. The Cavaliers (0-3) have been shutout in two of their three games.

Photo of Lake Braddock’s Mike Weidinger by Fred Ingham

Prep Notebook: Potomac Falls’ Savino Deals in ‘19 Debut

March 18 - Nate Savino wasted little time in giving us a signature moment in 2019. The only question now is how many encores will the talented Potomac Falls left-hander have this spring.

Savino, a junior committed to Virginia and a member of the NOVA Nine Team as a sophomore last year, struck out 18 without a walk while tossing a one-hit shutout in a 5-0 win over then-No. 4 Riverside on Friday. The southpaw needed just 81 pitches while recording his fourth career outing with 15 or more strikeouts, flashing a fastball that sat 93-95 MPH and reached 97 in addition to command of his two off-speed pitches. His strikeout total was one short of his career high of 19, set last May when he tossed a no-hitter against Broad Run.

The Potomac District and Region 5C Player of the Year last year, Savino is regarded as one of the nation’s top pitchers in his class and earlier this month was named as one of 80 players who will participate in the Major League Baseball-sponsored Prospect Development Pipeline League this summer. In 2018, he went 7-2 with a 0.82 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 51.1 innings while hitting .446 with 10 doubles.

Savino’s next start is likely on Friday at Rock Ridge.

With Back-to-Back Shutouts to Begin Season, No. 10 Westfield is Armed and Dangerous

Much of the buzz around Westfield this offseason centered on its returning senior right-handers, Joe Clancy and Danny Leo, the main reasons the Bulldogs are considered a contender to win their first Concorde District championship since 2010.

Apparently, Nick Lottchea is a third Bulldogs arm area teams will need to deal with this spring.

The sophomore left-hander struck out seven over five scoreless innings on Saturday, permitting just two hits in a 5-0 win over Falls Church a day after Clancy fanned six in three innings in a 12-0 season-opening win over T.C. Williams. Leo is lined up to make his first start of 2019 tomorrow against Hayfield.

Jason Cheifetz and Travis Bee each tossed two scoreless innings in relief in the wins, and Westfield’s deep staff has coach Rob Hahne’s club off to a fast start as it prepares for a rugged district schedule. The Bulldogs entered the Northern Virginia Top 10 Poll this week for the first time since midway through the 2017 season, and look to have good balance both on the mound and at the plate, were they’ve gotten second baseman Jake Hockett and center fielder Derek Furr back from injuries.

No. 3 Eagles Gain Split Over Grueling 7-day, 4-game Stretch

Freedom-South Riding is just 2-2 after tonight’s 8-7 loss at No. 1 Battlefield, but the No. 3 Eagles have shown they are prepared to take the field with anyone as they eye a return to the Class 5 state tournament.

Over a seven-day stretch, Freedom split four games to begin its season. Coach Mark Wrighte’s club went on the road last week and outlasted Loudoun Valley, 2-0, in nine innings before beating then-No. 4 Riverside, 7-5, on Thursday. The Eagles dropped a 12-8 decision to visiting Liberty Christian Academy, one of the state’s top private school teams, on Saturday before losing on a walk-off wild pitch tonight in Haymarket.

Things don’t get much easier, as they’ll likely face Virginia Tech recruit Nick Lockhart tomorrow in another non-league test before beginning their Potomac District schedule next week. Freedom saw another Virginia Tech-bound pitcher in Michael Grupe for six innings in the win over Loudoun Valley, and then there’s the matter of Potomac Falls’ Nate Savino that they’ll have to contend with at some point this spring.

Stafford Wins Season-Opening Commonwealth District Tournament

In response to last year’s tournament being rained out, the Commonwealth District administrators decided to hold its championship event at the beginning of the season. That said, Stafford might very well be the first district champion crowned in March in state high school baseball history.

The Indians (2-0) edged Colonial Forge, 2-1, in Thursday’s semifinals before getting five-plus innings from Robbie Baker and clutch relief work from Tucker Sullivan and Joe Tolson in a 1-0 win over rival North Stafford (2-1) in Friday’s final.

Baker fanned seven and scattered two hits before Sullivan came on to fan five straight Wolverine batters and Tolson recorded the final out. Logan Steigerwald scored on a ground out by Jimmy Baker in the second inning to provide what would be the game’s lone run.

Photo of Nate Savino courtesy of Potomac Falls Baseball

Prep Notebook: Former Osbourn Skipper Howell Joins Staff at Patriot

March 14 - Keith Howell, who led Osbourn to three district and regional championships and a berth in the Group AAA state final in 2005, has joined the coaching staff at Patriot as an assistant this spring.

The longtime skipper brings experience and a winning pedigree to Josh Steinberg’s staff, which lost former head and assistant coach Sammy Serrano after the 2018 season. Steinberg and Howell are joined on staff by pitching coach Sean Cheetham and Matt Holman.

“Keith Howell brings a wealth of successful experience to the table and the program feels very fortunate to add a talented coach to the staff,” Steinberg wrote via text message. “We have been able to bounce a lot of ideas off him in regards to team defense, practice plans and drill work, and that has opened our minds to another perspective.

“His character and reputation adds tremendous value.”

Howell guided the Eagles program for 19 years over two stints - from 1996-2012 and then again from 2015-16 - leading Osbourn to 13 winning seasons and the 20-win plateau four times. The Eagles won a school-record 24 games in 2002 and then again in 2005 and were 252-160 overall under Howell.

Patriot has gone 50-19 in its first three seasons under Steinberg, who was named the 6A North Region Coach of the Year after leading the Pioneers to the region final and state semifinals in 2017. Patriot is 1-0 this spring after opening the season with an 11-1 win over C.D. Hylton on Tuesday.

Two Top 5 Clashes Highlight Opening Week Slate

Two matchups between teams ranked among the top five in the Northern Virginia Top 10 Poll will be held over the next two days.

Tonight, No. 3 Freedom-South Riding (1-0) travels to face No. 4 Riverside at 6 p.m. in Leesburg. The Eagles opened their season with a 2-0 win over Loudoun Valley on Tuesday, and are in the midst of a tough early-season stretch in which they face the Rams tonight, private school power Liberty Christian Academy tomorrow, and No. 1 Battlefield on Monday.

Freedom is coming off a 22-5 season last spring, when coach Mark Wrighte’s club won the Region 5C championships and advanced to the Class 5 state semifinals before falling to Potomac. Coach Sam Plank’s Rams will be opening their season after going 19-3 last year

Tomorrow night, No. 2 Madison is scheduled to travel to No. 5 West Springfield, the defending Class 6 state champion, in the season opener for both teams. The Warhawks are coming off a 15-7 season and are entering their 24th season under longtime coach Mark ‘Pudge’ Gjormand, while coach Jason Olms’ Spartans are coming off a 24-5 that saw them win the Region 6C championship and the fourth state title in program history.

Rams Area’s Top-Ranked Team in PBR Preseason Super 25 Poll

Riverside is ranked No. 9 in  Prep Baseball Report’s preseason Super 25 Poll of teams from Virginia and Washington, D.C., the top-ranked team from Northern Virginia.

The Rams are followed by No. 11 Potomac, No. 13 Madison, No. 16 Battlefield, No. 19 Fauquier, No. 20 Bishop O’Connell and No. 24 Highland School as area teams appearing in the poll.

To view PBR’s preseason poll, click here.

Photo of Keith Howell courtesy of Osbourn Baseball

College Notebook: Local Hurlers Help Key No. 3 CNU’s Undefeated Start

March 5 - Five area hurlers have played key roles on what has been one of the country’s top pitching staffs as undefeated Christopher Newport has risen to No. 3 in the latest Division III rankings.

In Saturday’s 11-5 win over visiting Marietta (OH), junior right-hander Teddy Herbert (Washington-Lee) posted four scoreless frames before running out of gas in the fifth, but still earned his second win as the Captains’ lineup reached double-digits in runs for the sixth time in eight games. In Sunday’s 14-1 drubbing of Gallaudet, junior Kyle Darmstead (Brentsville District) started and went three innings, sophomore Carter Strain (Lake Braddock) followed with three scoreless innings in relief, and Tyler Jumper (Robinson) pitched a perfect ninth.

Herbert has emerged as a starter after being used sparingly over his first two seasons at the Newport News school, posting 13 strikeouts over 11.2 innings. Darmstead, Strain, Jumper and Andrew Suppa (Robinson) - who earned the save in a 4-3 win over Randolph-Macon in a top-10 match-up last week - have totaled 17 strikeouts and posted a cumulative a 1.00 ERA in 18 innings over 13 appearances.

CNU’s staff has posted a 2.00 ERA in 72 innings under pitching coach Ron Frazier, who is in the first year of his third stint with the program. The Captains are at Eastern Mennonite today, then will host Hampden-Sydney on Thursday and Catholic on Saturday.

W&L’s Volpicelli Begins Sophomore Campaign With 8-Game Hitting Streak

Jason Volpicelli (Paul VI Catholic) had an eight-game hitting streak to open the season and the sophomore entered the week hitting .486 for Washington & Lee.

A middle infielder by trade, Volpicelli spent much of last season at third base and hit .300 in 150 at-bats during his rookie campaign at the Lexington school. He’s started the 2019 season as the Generals’ regular third baseman and has been one of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference’s best hitters, compiling five multi-hit games and nine RBI. He was tied for eighth nationally in base hits entering last weekend.

Volpicelli had back-to-back three-hit games in wins over Averett on Feb. 9-10 and totaled four hits and a career-high six RBI in a 15-13 loss at Pfeiffer (N.C.) on Feb. 16. He connected on his second career home run, his first of the season, on Feb. 21 at Emory. His hitting streak came to an end when he flied out as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning on Sunday at Ferrum.

Costello Homers Twice in The Mount’s Slugfest Win over Villanova

Zack Costello (Heritage) connected for two home runs and drove in three runs in Mount St. Mary’s 19-16 win over Villanova on Sunday in Port Charlotte, FL and the senior catcher entered today’s game against Georgetown with hits in each of the five games he’s played in.

Costello, who is 7-for-18 (.389) with six RBI, is in his second season with the Mountaineers after transferring from Frederick (MD) Community College. He hit .245 with a .388 on-base percentage and nine RBI in 98 at-bats last year. His best collegiate season came as a freshman at FCC in 2016, when he hit .270 with five homers and 35 RBI in 43 games.

Player of the Week: Zach Tsakounis, William & Mary (St. John’s/Arlington)

William & Mary freshman Zach Tsakounis (St. John’s) stymied Virginia in a midweek road victory and has been named the magazine’s Collegiate Player of the Week, sponsored by Northern Virginia Orthodontics.

The Arlington native struck out seven and allowed one run on four hits over 6.1 innings in Tuesday’s 9-3 win over the Cavaliers, and the left-hander is 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in 11 innings entering this afternoon’s game at Norfolk State. He was named the Colonial Athletic Association’s Rookie of the Week.

Tsakounis was a two-time first-team All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference selection at St. John’s, helping the Cadets win WCAC titles in 2017-18.

News & Notes: Kyle Wrighte (Freedom-South Riding) went 4-for-4 with a home run and two RBI as William & Mary completed a sweep of High Point and improved to 8-1 with an 8-6 win on Sunday. … Logan Driscoll (Lake Braddock) hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning to give George Mason a 7-6 victory over Princeton on Sunday, giving the Patriots a series win over the Tigers. Driscoll went 2-for-3 with three runs, two walks a double and two RBI after going hitless in the first two games of the series. … Hank Biggs (Woodgrove) and Stephen Johnston (C.D. Hylton) combined to shutout New Rochelle (N.Y.), 7-0, to complete a doubleheader sweep on Saturday. Johnston also hit a grand slam in the game and is 6-for-12 with 10 RBI through four games. ... Brett Stallings (West Springfield) went 4-for-5 with a double, triple and two RBI in Frederick (MD) Community College’s 14-9 loss at Lincoln Land (IL) yesterday.

Sponsor: The magazine’s College Notebook is sponsored by the R&D Baseball Academy. For more information on the academy, visit its website at

Photo of Teddy Herbert courtesy of CNU Athletics

Prep Notebook: West Potomac’s Rulapaugh to Miss Season After Elbow Surgery

March 4 - West Potomac senior right-handed pitcher Tyler Rulapaugh, a George Mason University recruit, had surgery last Wednesday to move a displaced nerve and will miss the entire season, coach Jimmy Linza confirmed this morning.

"My disappointment is only in that he will miss his senior year,” Linza wrote via text message. “We wish him a quick and full recovery."

Wednesday’s surgery moved a nerve that had grown in the wrong place and was creating discomfort when Rulapaugh pitched, an ailment that also limited him to 10 innings last spring. Linza said Rulapaugh had initially indicated a desire to pitch through the pain and have the surgery after the season, but George Mason’s coaches requested he have it sooner so he’d be fully recovered in time for his freshman campaign with the Patriots next spring.

Rulapaugh is 4-5 with two saves, a 3.20 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 45 innings over his two varsity seasons with the Wolverines.

Despite the loss of Rulapaugh, West Potomac should still have the deepest staff in the Gunston District. Senior right-hander Jimmy Curley, who has signed with High Point, was a second-team All-Region 6C selection after going 6-1 with a 1.60 ERA and 48 strikeouts to just five walks in 39.1 innings last year. The Wolverines also return two lefties, senior Jack Bachmore, who will pitch at Lynchburg, as well as talented junior Adam Fischer.

Former Hayfield Assistant Terrien is Freedom-Woodbridge’s New Coach

Joe Terrien, who spent the past three seasons as the junior varsity coach at Hayfield and 12 seasons overall as a coach with the Hawks program, was named as the new coach at Freedom-Woodbridge last month just prior to the season beginning.

Terrien becomes the ninth coach in 10 years to lead the Eagles, who went 1-18 last spring in its lone season under former coach Rich Davila. The magazine confirmed his hiring over the weekend via area coaching sources. Freedom’s director of student activities, Steve Bryson, did not return multiple attempts requesting confirmation of the school’s new coach.

Terrien has also coached football at Hayfield and has served as the golf coach at Lee. He works as a special education teacher with Fairfax County Public Schools.

Gunst, Aker, Anchors from Paul VI’s 2012 WCAC, State Championship Team, Keynote Preseason Dinner

Mark Gunst and Mitchell Aker, who helped Paul VI Catholic win the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) and VISAA Division I state championships in 2012, served as the keynote speakers at the Panthers’ annual First Pitch Dinner on Saturday.

Gunst and Aker, who went on to pitch at James Madison and William & Mary, respectively, helped Paul VI go 23-11 and sweep the WCAC and state titles for the second time in school history. Gunst was a second-team all-conference selection that spring, with Thomas Beauchamp and Richard Mancari earning first-team honors.

Aker is entering his fourth year at the professional level, having signed to pitch this season for the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the independent Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball.

Photo of Tyler Rulapaugh courtesy of West Potomac Baseball

Pro Notebook: Parker Making Most of Opportunities in Angels’ Camp

March 2 - As he attempts a return to the Major Leagues, former Colonial Forge and University of Virginia standout Jarrett Parker has had an impressive start as a non-roster spring training invitee with the Los Angeles Angels.

Parker, 30, entered the weekend 4-for-8 with five walks, two doubles and a home run in five games. He’s posted a .692 on-base percentage and has hit in the middle of the Angels’ lineup when he’s been penciled in by first-year manager Brad Ausmus. The outfielder hit a solo homer off Milwaukee reliever Bubba Derby on Monday, then went 2-for-3 with an RBI double as Los Angeles’ cleanup hitter the following day.

After beginning 2017 as the Giants’ starting left fielder, he had his season cut short when he broke his collarbone crashing into the outfield fence at Oracle Park in San Francisco. He was out of baseball last year while continuing his recovery and rehab and was signed to a minor league contract by the Angels this winter.

Parker is considered a candidate for the club’s fourth outfield spot and as a left-handed option off the bench. Los Angeles has incumbent starters Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Kole Calhoun as well as Michael Hermosillo on its 40-man roster. Calhoun, who also hits left-handed, hit just .208 but had 19 homers in 137 games last year.

Justin Bour (Westfield), another free agent signing by the Angels this offseason, will make his spring training debut today after missing the first two weeks with a hamstring injury. Bour is expected to platoon with Albert Pujols at first base and serve as an option at designated hitter and as a left-handed pinch hitter. He is hitting third and starting at DH in today’s game against Cincinnati.

Snyder’s Early Success Against Lefties Helps in Bid for Nationals Roster Spot

Brandon Snyder (Westfield) entered the day having appeared in each of the Nationals’ seven spring training games, seeing the majority of his time in right field and also playing the second half of a game at first base.

Signed in the offseason to a minor league contract, the 32-year-old was the lone non-roster invitee in the lineup for Washington’s first game on Sunday. Snyder is 3-for-12 with a double, homer and two RBI and all three of his hits have come off left-handers, which is notable as he competes for one of the club’s bench spots.

Snyder appeared in two games last year with the Tampa Bay Rays and is attempting to reach the Major Leagues with his sixth team since being drafted in the first round by Baltimore in 2005.

Area Players Begin Reporting to Minor League Spring Training

Minor league players have begun reporting to spring training with their respective organizations, including several from Northern Virginia.

Some clubs opened minor league camps yesterday, and others will begin to do so over the next week. Minor league spring games will begin in mid-March, with opening day across the various levels scheduled for Apr. 5.

News & Notes: Brandon Guyer (Herndon) hasn’t played since going 0-for-3 in the White Sox’ first game of camp on Feb. 23 against the Dodgers. The former Rays and Indians outfielder is battling a sore right elbow, according to … In his first outing of the spring, Taylor Clarke (Broad Run) started and struck out two over two scoreless innings in Arizona’s game on Wednesday against the Padres.  … J.B. Bukauskas (Stone Bridge) has fanned three and permitted just two base runners over four scoreless innings in two relief appearances with the Astros. In his most-recent outing on Thursday, the 2017 first-round pick fanned three over two innings against the Marlins.

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

Photo of Jarrett Parker courtesy of Associated Press

College Notebook: Halligan Overcomes Shaky 1st Inning, Earns Win in GMU Debut

February 28 - Patrick Halligan started and went five innings in his collegiate debut, earning the victory when Logan Driscoll’s RBI single in the top of the sixth gave George Mason the go-ahead run in a 4-3 win at Longwood on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-5 right-hander, a member of the 2018 NOVA Nine Team as a senior at Marshall, allowed three runs while striking out three and not walking a batter. All three runs and four of the Lancers’ five hits off Halligan came in the first inning, including a leadoff home run by Antwaun Tucker. He would settle down in the second, and retired 11 of 12 batters before Tucker’s one-out single in the fifth.

Three relievers - Austin Cabone, Jared Lyons (West Springfield) and James Beasley (Battlefield) - then combined for four scoreless innings as the Patriots (4-2) snapped a two-game skid. Lyons fanned five of the six batters he faced over two perfect frames, and Beasley earned his second save.

“Patrick gave us a quality start in his first appearance as a Patriot,” coach Bill Brown said. “It didn’t start the way we all envisioned, but he stayed composed, worked through the first inning and went on to give us five great innings that put us in position to win the game. His command of the strike zone was excellent and he competed like a veteran, [which is] exactly why we were confident in giving him the start.”

Leadoff man Brady Acker went 3-for-4 with a double to pace the George Mason bats, while third baseman Greg Popatak had his team-leading eighth RBI. The Patriots are scheduled to host Princeton in a three-game series this weekend, though inclement weather is in the forecast.

Dukes’ Harju Continues Torrid Start, Homers in Back-to-Back Games

Brady Harju (Battlefield) homered in his second consecutive game in Tuesday’s 5-4 win over the Virginia Military Institute, and the junior transfer has been James Madison’s top offensive player as the Dukes have won seven of their first eight games.

The first baseman is hitting .355 with a .432 on-base percentage, five doubles, two homers and eight RBI in his first season with James Madison after transferring from Frederick (MD) Community College. He has hit safely in six of eight games and has recorded four multi-hit games.

Junior right-hander Kevin Kelly (Paul VI Catholic) also continued his hot start, fanning seven while allowing two unearned runs over seven innings in Friday’s 5-3 win over visiting Lafayette. Kelly enters the weekend 2-0 with 14 strikeouts and has yet to permit an earned run in 11 innings.

The Dukes will get a big test this weekend, when they travel for a three-game series at No. 14 Louisville.

Player of the Week: Jake Agnos, East Carolina (Battlefield)

Jake Agnos matched his career high with 11 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings in Saturday’s 10-0 win over Monmouth and has been named the magazine’s Collegiate Player of the Week, sponsored by Northern Virginia Orthodontics.

The left-hander, who was named the American Athletic Conference’s Pitcher of the Week, scattered four hits, walked only one and struck out at least one batter in each of his seven frames in his second start of the season. Agnos is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 11 innings, and will likely start on Saturday against Wright State as the Pirates host the LeClair Classic this weekend.

At Battlefield, Agnos went 18-0 over his final two seasons while totaling 265 strikeouts in 129.1 innings. He was named the NOVA Nine Player of the Year as a senior in 2016.

News & Notes: Zach Tsakounis (St. John’s), a native of Arlington, struck out seven while limiting Virginia to one run on four hits over 6.1 innings of relief in William & Mary’s 9-3 victory in Charlottesville on Tuesday. … Andrew Suppa (Robinson) allowed a run but was able to get the final three outs to record the save in No. 7 Christopher Newport’s 4-3 win over visiting No. 4 Randolph-Macon on Tuesday. Mike Nickles (Colonial Forge) homered for the Yellow Jackets. … Wade Strain (Lake Braddock) struck out six while allowing one run on one hit over five innings on Friday for William & Mary (5-1), but his bullpen was unable to hold the lead in a 7-3 loss to Sacred Heart. … Jonathan Mahoney (Woodbridge) had nine strikeouts and allowed two unearned runs over seven innings, earning a no-decision in Norfolk State’s 4-3 loss to visiting NJIT on Sunday. The 6-foot-8 right-hander has recorded a 3.46 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 13 innings this spring. … This weekend, Mary Washington (1-1) is scheduled to host New Rochelle (N.Y.) for a three-game series beginning tomorrow, while incoming forecasted weather has forced Marymount (1-4) to cancel Saturday’s home doubleheader with Western Connecticut State. The Eagles’ home game on Sunday against Gettysburg remains scheduled for 1 p.m.

Sponsor: The magazine’s College Notebook is sponsored by the R&D Baseball Academy. For more information on the academy, visit its website at

Photo of Patrick Halligan by Jane Davis

Recruiting Notebook: Osbourn Park Frosh Shepard Commits to Hoosiers

February 27 - A.J. Shepard earlier this month became Osbourn Park’s second freshman catcher to commit to a Division I program before stepping on a high school field, announcing his intention to play at Indiana University.

The 6-foot, 175-pound backstop is part of the Yellow Jackets’ talented first-year tandem behind the plate, where he’ll compete for playing time with University of Virginia recruit Mason Balsis. Shepard is also listed as a corner infielder and outfielder.

He will become the first player from Virginia to suit up for the Hoosiers since Chris Behrens, a 6-foot-6 left-handed pitcher from Brooke Point who pitched at Indiana from 2001-04. Brad Edwards, a first-team All-Met selection as a senior at C.D. Hylton in 1998, pitched for three seasons with the Hoosiers prior to being drafted in the 16th round by the Baltimore Orioles in 2001.

As a member of the EvoShield Canes 2022 national team last year, Shepard hit .318 with 21 RBI in 31 games at Perfect Game events. He was 7-for-14 with five RBI to help the Canes win the WWBA 14U National Championship in Georgia in June, and went 8-for-15 with five doubles and 10 RBI over six games as they advanced to the semifinals of the Freshman World Championship in Florida in October.

Patriot’s Eikhoff, Briar Woods’ Cmeyla Shine at PBR’s Preseason All-State Showcase

Two of the area’s top juniors, Patriot shortstop and right-hander Riley Eikhoff and Briar Woods catcher Nathan Cmeyla, were among the top performers at Prep Baseball Report’s Preseason All-State Showcase earlier this month. The event was held over two sessions in Henrico and Ruther Glen.

Eikhoff, who has committed to the University of Virginia and is currently ranked No. 5 by PBR among the state’s Class of 2020 players, had his fastball reach 89 MPH and recorded a velocity of 85 MPH while throwing across the infield. The uncommitted Cmeyla, meanwhile, turned in the fifth-best pop time among catchers who attended the two sessions. His top time was recorded at 1.99.

Over 100 players participated in the showcase, which was attended by PBR and Major League Baseball scouts.

NCAA’s Recruiting Contact Period Begins on Friday

The five-month contact period for Division I and Division II coaches to contact high school underclassmen begins on Friday. College coaches have been under a quiet period since Nov. 16 - with a dead period from Jan. 3-6 - per the NCAA’s 2018-19 recruiting calendar.

During the contact period, Division I and Division II coaches can have “face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, watch student-athletes compete and visit their high schools, and write or telephone student-athletes or their parents,” the NCAA states on its website.

A contact occurs anytime a college coach says more than “hello” while off the college’s campus. High school baseball players are able to take official visits to college campuses beginning on Sept. 1 of their junior year.

The contact period will run through July 31. The NCAA’s recruiting calendar does not apply to Division III coaches, who are not permitted to offer athletic scholarships.

Photo of A.J. Shepard courtesy of EvoShield Canes

College Notebook: Locals Help Spark JMU’s 4-0 Start

February 20 - Three starting pitchers from Northern Virginia started in victories over the weekend for a staff that has posted a 2.50 ERA, and three other area natives have combined for 15 hits and eight RBI as James Madison has jumped out to a 4-0 start.

Kevin Kelly (Paul VI Catholic) struck out seven in five scoreless innings and Nick Stewart (Rock Ridge) fanned seven in 4.1 innings in Friday’s doubleheader sweep of Norfolk State. On Sunday, left-hander Joe Williams (Battlefield) made his Dukes debut after missing the past two seasons with an injury and while sitting out a year after transferring from George Mason, tossing five scoreless innings in a 6-5 win over the Spartans.

“I was really happy for Joe today,” James Madison coach Marlin Ikenberry said in a release by the school. “He came out and was trying to find his rhythm early after not pitching for two years.

In yesterday’s 3-1 win over Longwood, designated hitter Michael Morgan (Paul VI Catholic) hit a go-ahead two-run triple in the fifth inning and first baseman Brady Harju (Battlefield) provided the final margin when he scored Morgan with a sacrifice fly later in the frame. "I am pleased with the way that our guys responded to being down in this ballgame,” Ikenberry said in the school’s release. “It was the first time that we had trailed this season and I think the guys handled that very well.”

Harju, a transfer from Frederick Community College, is 5-for-14 (.357) with three doubles and three RBI, while Morgan is 5-for-16 (.313) and paces the team with two triples and seven runs. Freshman second baseman Kyle Novak (Madison), the 2018 NOVA Nine Player of the Year, is off to a fast start in his rookie season with the Dukes. The left-handed swinging Novak has batted second or fourth in each game and is 5-for-15 (.333) with two doubles and three RBI.

James Madison, which had today’s game at Richmond cancelled due to snow, will host Lafayette for a three-game series this weekend.

Mason’s Driscoll Has Scouts’ Attention as Draft Stock Continues to Rise

George Mason junior catcher Logan Driscoll (Lake Braddock) homered over the 415-foot center field wall at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, FL in a season-opening win on Friday and caught every inning as the Patriots swept their three games over Iowa, Marshall and Villanova.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound backstop continues to gain the attention of Major League Baseball scouts, and George Mason coach Bill Brown said over a dozen were in attendance at each of the team’s games in Florida. “There were a ton of pro guys in to watch Logan play,” said Brown, who added that Driscoll’s homer struck three-quarters of the way up the batter’s eye. “A guy I know very well who has watched a ton of spring training games there said he’s only seen two or three balls go where he hit it … He did nothing to hurt his stock.”

Osceola County Stadium is the former spring training home of the Houston Astros and now serves as the home park for a Single-A Florida State League club. Driscoll was a first-team all-conference pick last spring and was named by Baseball America as the A-10’s preseason Player of the Year.

The Patriots’ 3-0 start is in stark contrast to the beginning of their 2018 season, when they dropped their first eight games before rebounding to finish 29-27 and advance to the Atlantic-10 Conference championship game.

“We ended up being a pretty good team, but our record really didn’t indicate it because we had started so poorly,” Brown said. “So our returners were really dialed in this weekend, and I’m proud of them for taking ownership of really wanting to start strong.”

Senior third baseman Greg Popatak went 5-for-11 (.455) with seven RBI to pace George Mason offensively, while starting pitchers Jared DiCesare (Chantilly), Nick Zegna and Brian Marconi surrendered just four earned runs on 18 hits in 16 innings.

“Popatak had a huge weekend,” Brown said. “The last few weeks last year, something just clicked with Greg defensively. He was lights out as a third baseman, and not coincidentally, his offense took off as well. And it’s nice to see it carry over and translate into this year too.

Marymount Splits, Mary Washington Posts Shutout to Open Seasons

Marymount split a Sunday doubleheader with Widener (PA) at the Nationals Youth Academy in D.C. and Mary Washington posted an 8-0 shutout of Methodist (N.C.) yesterday as the area’s Division III teams opened their 2019 seasons.

Saints junior second baseman Mike Ferrara had two hits - including a solo homer - in Marymount’s 2-1 win in the second game. The Pennsylvania native came in to score what proved to be the game’s winning run on a seventh-inning throwing error and was named the first-ever Player of the Week for the new Atlantic East Conference.

Three pitchers - starter Ryan Bergenhagen and relievers Kenny Frank and Matthew Schneider - combined to limit Widener to two hits over seven innings in the second game.

The Eagles, meanwhile, pounded 14 hits after having their season-opener moved up a day due to the incoming snow storm. Senior first baseman Stephen Johnston (C.D. Hylton) led the way, going 3-for-4 with a walk and three RBI. Starter Robert Cross scattered three hits over six scoreless innings to earn the win, with Hank Biggs (Woodgrove) tossing three scoreless innings in relief.

Both teams return to action this weekend, when Marymount plays Stevenson (MD), Washington (MD) and Gallaudet in the Bison Baseball Classic in D.C. and Mary Washington will host Oneonta (N.Y.) for a three-game series.

Menendez Serving as Early-Season Workhorse for Wake Forest Staff

Sophomore reliever Antonio Menendez (Herndon) has appeared in three of Wake Forest’s first four games and earned the save in Sunday’s 5-3 win over Georgetown.

Menendez, who struggled with a 9.99 ERA in 25 appearances during his freshman campaign, has a 2.45 ERA with four strikeouts in 3.2 innings for the Demon Deacons (2-2).

Another area player, Michael Ludowig (Briar Woods), is also off to a good start with Wake Forest. The 2017 NOVA Nine Player of the Year after leading the Falcons to the Class 5 state championship, Ludowig is 4-for-11 (.364) with two walks, a double and two RBI in three games.

Christopher Newport’s Herbert Earns Win in 1st Career Start

Junior right-hander Teddy Herbert (Washington-Lee) made his first career start in Christopher Newport’s 19-3 win over Oglethorpe (GA) on Friday, earning the victory after striking out six and allowing one run on two hits over five innings.

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Herbert, who pitched a scoreless inning in relief in a 16-1 win over Ferrum the previous weekend, has worked his way into the Captains’ rotation after making just four appearances over his first two seasons.

Christopher Newport (5-0), which was ranked No. 13 in the NCBWA/ preseason poll, has been dominant to begin the season. The club’s pitchers have compiled a 1.40 ERA in 45 innings, and the Captain lineup is hitting a cumulative .331 with a .462 on-base percentage while averaging 13.4 runs.

Player of the Week: Brenton Doyle, Shepherd (Kettle Run)

Shepherd’s Brenton Doyle (Kettle Run) went 7-for-11 over three games last weekend and has been named the magazine’s Collegiate Player of the Week, sponsored by Northern Virginia Orthodontics.

A first-team Division II All-America selection last spring, Doyle picked up where he left off to begin his junior season. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound junior outfielder totaled three doubles, three RBI and four stolen bases as the Rams took two of three games from Tiffin (OH).

He enters the week hitting .486 with seven extra-base hits, six RBI and six steals in nine games.

Sponsor: The magazine’s College Notebook is sponsored by the R&D Baseball Academy. For more information on the academy, visit its website at

Photo of Jared DiCesare courtesy of George Mason Athletics

College Notebook: DiCesare Earns Win, Driscoll Homers as Mason Tops Iowa in Opener

February 15 - Last year, it took nine games for George Mason to earn its first victory. The Patriots made sure there was no such wait this season, beating Iowa, 7-2, to open their 2019 campaign earlier today at Heritage Park in Kissimmee, FL.

Junior starter Jared DiCesare (Chantilly) allowed two runs on six hits over six innings to earn the decision, junior catcher Logan Driscoll (Lake Braddock) hit a two-run home run and senior third baseman Greg Popatak had a three-run double to provide the game’s final margin in the first of three games this weekend.

James Beasley (Battlefield), a junior transfer from Frederick Community College, struck out three and scattered two hits over three scoreless innings to earn the save in his debut with the Patriots. The trio of DiCesare, Driscoll and Beasley were three of six Northern Virginia natives to take the field for coach Bill Brown’s club: sophomore second baseman Daniel Brooks (Spotsylvania), sophomore right fielder Scott Morgan (Woodbridge) and freshman left fielder Jared Lyons (West Springfield) were in the starting lineup.

George Mason will play Marshall tomorrow at 2 p.m. and Villanova on Sunday at 11 a.m. at Heritage Park, which served as the spring training home of the Houston Astros from 1985-2016.

Local Hurlers Kelly, Stewart, Williams Projected Starters for JMU’s Opening Weekend

James Madison’s game notes for its weekend home series against Norfolk State had three area natives - junior Kevin Kelly (Paul VI Catholic), sophomore Nick Stewart (Rock Ridge) and senior left-hander Joe Williams (Battlefield) - listed as its probable starting pitchers for this weekend’s season-opening series against Norfolk State.

Kelly and Stewart are coming off impressive 2018 campaigns, posting ERAs of 3.74 and 2.86, respectively, over a combined 23 starts. Williams will be making his debut with the Dukes, having sat out last spring after transferring from George Mason.

Four natives of Northern Virginia were in James Madison’s lineup this afternoon, junior left fielder Fox Semones (C.D. Hylton), freshman second baseman Kyle Novak (Madison), junior catcher Michael Morgan (Paul VI Catholic) and junior first baseman Brady Harju (Battlefield).

Schroeder Draws Bases-Loaded Walk in Debut as No. 6 UNC Tops Grammes, Xavier

Will Schroeder (Freedom-South Riding) drew a pinch-hit bases-loaded walk as No. 6 North Carolina beat Xavier, 12-3, in the season opener for both teams earlier today.

The freshman infielder was making his debut with the Tar Heels, who are hosting a three-game series with the Musketeers this weekend.

Xavier’s two-way standout, junior Conor Grammes (McLean), had mixed results as his team’s opening day starter and No. 3 hitter. Grammes went 2-for-4 with a double and a stolen base, but was touched up for six runs (five earned) in 3.2 innings to take the loss.

Eagles Open Season With Sunday Twinbill vs. Widener at Nationals Youth Academy

Marymount will open its sixth season under coach Frank Leoni when the Eagles host Widener (PA) in a Sunday doubleheader beginning at 12:30 p.m. at the Nationals Youth Academy in Washington, D.C.

Entering its first year in the new Atlantic East Conference, Marymount is seeking its first winning season since 2016. The Eagles, who were picked to finish fifth in the conference, went 13-23 last year and 20-21 in 2017 after setting a program record with 23 wins in 2016.

Leoni, the former skipper at Division I programs Rhode Island and William & Mary, is entering his 26th season as a collegiate head coach.

Sponsor: The magazine’s College Notebook is sponsored by the R&D Baseball Academy. For more information on the academy, visit its website at

Photo of Jared DiCesare courtesy of George Mason Athletics

Pro Notebook: Guyer Inks Minor League Deal with White Sox

February 7 - Brandon Guyer on Tuesday agreed to a minor league contract with Herndon High School graduate Brandon Guyer, who will receive an invite to the club’s Major League camp when spring training begins later this month.

Guyer, 33, will attempt to revitalize a big league career that began in 2011 with the Tampa Bay Rays and includes an appearance in the World Series with the Cleveland Indians in 2016. Injuries led to an inconsistent season last year with the Indians, who did not pick up his team option for 2019.

The outfielder, who has earned a reputation for his ability to get on base and hit left-handed pitchers, hit .206 with a .300 on-base percentage, seven home runs and 27 RBI in 221 plate appearances in 2018. He’s a .250 career hitter, and has batted .274 with a .376 on-base percentage in 792 career plate appearances against lefties. In 2015-16, he led the American League in back-to-back seasons in times getting hit by a pitch, doing so a total of 55 times.

Should Guyer make Chicago’s opening day roster, it could be as a platoon option in a corner outfield spot with the left-handed swinging Daniel Palka, who hit 27 homers in his rookie campaign last year but hit just .200 with two homers and 34 strikeouts in 83 plate appearances against lefties. The White Sox currently have five outfielders on their 40-man roster, Palka along with Nicky Delmonico, Ryan Cordell, Luis Alexander Basabe and highly-regarded prospect Eloy Jimenez, who is expected to start the season in the minor leagues.

Guyer’s signing with the White Sox marks a return to Chicago. The Cubs drafted him in the fifth round in 2007 out of the University of Virginia.

Right-Hander Aker Signs with Winnipeg of Independent American Association

Mitchell Aker (Paul VI Catholic) signed late last month to pitch for the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the independent American Association.

The 24-year-old right-hander will be entering his fourth professional season after spending last year with the Evansville Oilers of the Frontier League, where he was named an All-Star en route to a league third-best total of 19 saves. Aker pitched in the independent United Shore Professional Baseball League in 2016 and with reached the Double-A level in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ system in 2017.

The 12-team American Association was established in 2005 and is based in the central United States, with Winnipeg as the league’s lone Canadian team. The Goldeyes have won three of the past eight league championships, but are coming off a 2018 season that saw them finish fifth in the North Division after winning the AA title the previous season.

Award-Winning P-Nats Marketing Staff Will Honor 36 Years at Pfitzner Stadium

In the club’s final season at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, the Potomac Nationals will give a nod to its 35 seasons at the ballpark with several promotions during the 2019 season.

The club’s staff, which has won two consecutive Carolina League Marketing & Promotional Excellence Awards, has filled Potomac’s 70-game home slate with promotions that include five bobblehead giveaways, a legendary celebrity appearance lineup, three Scout Nights, seven custom theme jersey auctions, wide-ranging theme nights, and Fourth of July festivities and fireworks.

"The P-Nats are prepared to put on an excellent show in 2019 that will honor the decades of success our franchise, our fans, our corporate partners, our community partners, and our booster club members have enjoyed in Prince William County at The Pfitz," P-Nats General Manager of Operations, Aaron Johnson, said in a release by the club.

Potomac will move to a new ballpark in Fredericksburg in 2020. To view the release and the club’s entire promotional schedule, click here.

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

Photo of Brandon Guyer courtesy of USA Today

College Notebook: Study Ranks CRCBL, VBL No. 3 Among Summer Leagues

January 25 - The Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League and Valley Baseball League finished tied at No. 3 in a ranking of the country’s summer collegiate leagues.

According to the Collegiate Summer Baseball Register, the two leagues were behind the Cape Cod League and New England Collegiate Baseball League, finishing ahead of the Northwoods and Coastal Plains leagues.

The eight-team CRCBL is based throughout the greater Washington and Baltimore area and now has two Northern Virginia teams - the Alexandria Aces and FCA Braves - after the Loudoun Riverdogs folded after the 2018 season. The league also lost one of its flagship clubs, the Baltimore Redbirds, which won or shared five of the past seven CRCBL championships. The 11-team VBL, which is based along I-81 and I-64 in the Shenandoah Valley, has one Northern Virginia team, the Purcellville Cannons.

Rankings were based on a “paradigm that measured the relative competitiveness of all the leagues for which we were able to find detailed roster information,” according to the Collegiate Summer Baseball Register.

According to the study, the CRCBL has had 24 Major League players suit up for its teams since it was established in 2005. The VBL, which was established in 1923, has had over 1,000 Major Leagues play for its teams.

Doyle, Atkinson Named NCBWA 1st-Team Preseason All-Region Selections

Shepherd outfielders Brenton Doyle (Kettle Run) and Nick Atkinson (Osbourn Park) were both named NCBWA preseason first-team Division II All-Atlantic Region selections earlier this week.

Doyle, a junior, was a first-team All-American last year after hitting .415 with a nation-high 98 hits, 14 home runs and 68 RBI as the Rams went 38-17. Atkinson, a senior, hit .347 with 15 homers and 42 RBI in 2018.

Both players were NOVA Nine Team selections as seniors, Atkinson in 2015 and Doyle in 2016.

Nationals Announcers Slowes, Jageler to Keynote Mason’s First Pitch Dinner

Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler, the radio play-by-play announcers for Washington Nationals’ broadcasts on 106.7 The Fan, will be the keynote speakers at George Mason’s First Pitch Dinner on Feb. 8.

Tickets and sponsorships are available at the event, which serves as an annual fundraiser for the Patriots’ baseball program. The First Pitch Dinner will be held at the Country Club of Fairfax beginning with a social hour at 6:30 p.m. A reception will be held beginning at 6 p.m. for sponsors who purchase an MVP Table.

For more information on Mason’s First Pitch Dinner, click here.

Sponsor: The magazine’s College Notebook is sponsored by the R&D Baseball Academy. For more information on the academy, visit its website at

Photo by Mark Briscoe

Pro Notebook: Pirates Name South Lakes Grad Toregas as Manager at High-A Bradenton

January 23 - Wyatt Toregas continues to climb the managerial ladder in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ minor league system, as the organization announced last weekend that the South Lakes High School graduate has been named the skipper of their High-A Florida State League affiliate, the Bradenton Marauders.

Now in his fifth year as a minor league manager, the 36-year-old Toregas guided the Single-A West Virginia Power over the past two seasons after managing the short-season Single-A  West Virginia Black Bears in 2015-16. He led the Black Bears to the New York-Penn League championship in his first season.

A first-team Class AAA All-State selection as a senior at South Lakes in 2001, Toregas then caught for three seasons at Virginia Tech before an eight-year professional career. He appeared in the Major Leagues with the Cleveland Indians in 2009 and with the Pirates in 2011.

Toregas served as a scout and coach in the Pittsburgh system from 2012-14 before being hired to manage the Black Bears in 2015.

George Mason’s Kalish Gets Invite to Big League Camp with Royals

Jake Kalish hopes to become the seventh player from George Mason University to play in the Major Leagues, as the left-hander has received an invite to attend Major League camp during spring training with the Kansas City Royals.

Kalish, 27, was drafted in the 32nd round by the Royals after his redshirt senior season with the Patriots in 2015. He has finished the past two seasons at Triple-A Omaha, and last year he was 8-8 with a 3.88 ERA over 127.2 innings between Omaha and Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

The New Jersey native’s older brother, Ryan, played in parts of four seasons as an outfielder with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs between 2010-16.

Blue Crabs Invite Marshall Grad Blackstone to Training Camp

Kent Blackstone, who hit .336 with 29 doubles, 12 home runs and 65 RBI in 79 games during stints in the independent Pecos League and Pacific Association last year, has been invited to attend training camp with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.

The former Marshall and George Mason infielder initially impressed the Blue Crabs staff at the pro day workout held at R&D Baseball in Herndon earlier this month. After a private workout last weekend, they extended an invite to Blackstone along with catcher Andy Mocabee, a Georgia native who played locally with the Herndon Braves of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League during the summers in 2015-17, and to pitcher Miguel Nunez, a former Philadelphia Phillies farmhand who works out at R&D Baseball.

The Blue Crabs play in the Atlantic League, regarded as one of the top independent leagues in the country.

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

Photo of Wyatt Toregas courtesy of West Virginia Black Bears