June 23 - One of the most-feared hitters in one of the state’s top districts, Thomas Trinca provided a consistent presence in the middle of Centreville’s order as the Wildcats set a program record for victories and earned their first state tournament berth since 2003.
Trinca, who last month committed to play at George Mason University, hit .423 with 16 extra-base hits and helps lead our 2019 Junior Nine, a group that includes three members of the NOVA Nine Team - Colgan’s Ryley Johnson, Potomac’s Braden Mack and Potomac Falls’ Nate Savino.
Joining those four players are Bishop O’Connell two-way standout Eddie Eisert, Marshall’s Robert Kelley, Stafford’s Tucker Sullivan, Potomac’s Ben Thomas and Kettle Run’s Joe Vogatsky. Five of the nine players selected have made their college commitments, with Mack, Sullivan and Thomas as four of the area’s top uncommitted players entering the summer recruiting period.
The magazine’s Auxiliary Nines are part of our NOVA Nine Team series honoring the top players from Northern Virginia. The series is sponsored by The St. James in Springfield.
Here’s a look at this year’s selections:
Eddie Eisert, Bishop O’Connell - A two-time All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and VISAA Division I all-state selection, the shortstop and right-handed pitcher hit .432 with a .510 on-base percentage, 35 hits - 13 that went for extra bases - along with 18 RBI and 17 steals while going 1-2 with two saves, a 1.29 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 16.1 innings. Has committed to play at N.C. State.
Ryley Johnson, Colgan - The Cardinal District Player of the Year, a first-team All-Region 6C selection and member of the NOVA Nine Team, the outfielder and right-handed pitcher hit .463 with a .610 on-base percentage, 32 runs, 31 hits, 19 RBI and 40 steals and was 2-1 with a save, a 0.33 ERA and 37 strikeouts to 20.1 innings. Has committed to play at East Carolina University.
Robert Kelley, Marshall - A first-team All-National District and first-team All-Region 6D pick, the right-hander finished 7-2 with a 1.03 ERA and 90 strikeouts to 21 walks in 61 innings. Struck out 14 over 6.2 innings against Justice in the district final and tossed a three-hit shutout in the first round of regionals against Chantilly. Has committed to pitch at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County.
Braden Mack, Potomac - A first-team All-Cardinal District and first-team All-Region 5D selection and member of the NOVA Nine Team, the catcher and right-handed pitcher hit .449 with a .552 on-base percentage, 31 hits and 25 RBI while going 6-1 with a 0.79 ERA and 47 strikeouts to seven walks in 35 innings as the Panthers won the district championship.
Nate Savino, Potomac Falls - A first-team All-Potomac District and first-team All-Region 5C pick and two-time member of the NOVA Nine Team, the left-hander and outfielder was 3-2 with a 0.70 ERA and 71 strikeouts to only nine walks in 35 innings while also hitting .353 with a .460 on-base percentage, 26 hits, seven doubles and eight RBI. Has committed to pitch at the University of Virginia.
Tucker Sullivan, Stafford - A first-team All-Commonwealth District and second-team All-Region 5D selection, the shortstop and right-hander helped key the Indians’ postseason run and had the walk-off hit to win the Class 5 state championship game. He hit. 395 with a .528 on-base percentage, 32 hits, 18 RBI and 14 steals and was 6-2 with six saves, a 1.77 ERA and 45 strikeouts to 12 walks in 35.2 innings.
Ben Thomas, Potomac - A first-team All-Potomac District and first-team All-Region 5D pick, the outfielder hit .515 with a .590 on-base percentage, 34 hits, eight doubles, 28 RBI and nine steals as the Panthers won the district championship.
Thomas Trinca, Centreville - A first-team All-Concorde District and first-team All-Region 6D selection, the outfielder hit .423 with a .484 on-base percentage, 33 hits, 11 doubles, three triples, two home runs, 16 RBI and nine steals as the Wildcats set a program record with 18 victories and advanced to the state tournament for the first time since 2003. Has committed to play at George Mason University.
Joe Vogatsky, Kettle Run - The Player of the Year in the Northwestern District and in Region 4C, the right-handed pitcher and third baseman went 6-3 with three saves, a 2.24 ERA and 82 strikeouts to just 14 walks in 59.1 innings and hit .403 with a .495 on-base percentage, 31 hits, three homers and 21 RBI as the Cougars won the district title and advanced to the state tournament. Has committed to pitch for James Madison University.
Sponsor: This year’s NOVA Nine Team and Auxiliary Nines are sponsored by The St. James Sports, Wellness and Entertainment Complex in Springfield. For more information, visit www.thestjames.co.
Photo of Centreville’s Thomas Trinca by Fred Ingham