Auxiliary Nines: Curley’s Command Made Him One of NOVA’s Nine Aces


June 23 - Jimmy Curley was a major reason West Potomac ended a 25-year league championship drought last year, and the senior right-hander was even better while leading the Wolverines to a second straight Gunston District title this spring.

Curley averaged 11.2 strikeouts per seven innings and walked just four batters all season, posting a 0.53 WHIP and limiting opposing hitters to a .123 batting average to earn a spot on the magazine’s 2019 Nine Aces. In his final two high school starts, he fired a three-hit shutout and had 15 strikeouts in a 9-0 win over T.C. Williams in the district final, then scattered four hits and had nine strikeouts in a complete game effort in a 4-1 region quarterfinal win over Robinson.

The other pitchers joining Curley on our Nine Aces are two members of the NOVA Nine Team, Westfield’s Joe Clancy and Stafford’s Mike Tolson, along with Riverside’s Gunner Canary, Patriot’s Riley Eikhoff, Marshall’s Robert Kelley, Woodgrove’s Nick Lockhart, Potomac’s Brody Mack and George Mason’s Jay Nesson.

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:

Gunner Canary, Riverside - A first-team All-Dulles District and All-Region 4C selection, the senior right-hander set a program single-season record for victories while helping the Rams win district and region championships and advance to the Class 4 state final. He finished 12-2 with two saves, a 0.85 ERA, 82 strikeouts to 25 walks in 74.1 innings. Will attempt to walk on at Virginia Tech.

Joe Clancy, Westfield - The Pitcher of the Year in the Concorde District and in Region 6D, the senior right-hander anchored a pitching staff that set a state record with 16 shutouts and led the Bulldogs to district and region titles and to the Class 6 state final. He went 9-1 with a save, a 0.85 ERA and 114 strikeouts to 29 walks in 65.2 innings. Will pitch at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County.

Jimmy Curley, West Potomac - The Pitcher of the Year in the Gunston District and a first-team All-Region 6C selection, the senior right-hander helped the Wolverines win a second straight district championship and advance to the region semifinals before falling to eventual region and state champion Lake Braddock. He went 6-2 with a 0.81 ERA and 69 strikeouts to just four walks in 43 innings, limiting opposing hitters a .123 batting average. Has signed to pitch at High Point University.

Riley Eikhoff, Patriot - The Pitcher of the Year in the Cedar Run District and a first-team All-Region 6D selection, the junior right-hander helped the Pioneers reach the district final and region semifinals. He was 6-2 with a 2.18 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 47.2 innings, earning two wins against rival Battlefield and struck out 11 while permitting two unearned runs in a 2-0 loss to Centreville in the region semifinals. Has reopened his recruitment after initially committing to play at the University of Virginia.

Robert Kelley, Marshall - A first-team All-National District and first-team All-Region 6D pick, the junior right-hander led the Statesmen to their sixth consecutive league championship. He 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.

Nick Lockhart, Woodgrove - A first-team All-Dulles District and second-team All-Region 4C pick, the 6-foot-7 senior right-hander anchored the Wolverines’ staff again this spring. He went 6-3 with a 1.21 ERA and had 68 strikeouts to just 18 walks in 52 innings, and in his final high school start, struck out eight over 7.1 innings in a 1-0 extra-inning district semifinal loss to Loudoun County. Will decide between signing a professional contract after being selected in the 11th round by the Texas Rangers or pitching at Virginia Tech.

Brody Mack, Potomac - A first-team All-Cardinal District and first-team All-Region 5D selection, the senior left-handed pitcher followed up a NOVA Nine Team campaign in 2018 by helping the Panthers win the district championship. He went 8-2 with a 1.11 ERA and 71 strikeouts to just 18 walks in 69 innings and finished with 22 career victories. Will play at the College of William & Mary.

Jay Nesson, George Mason - The Player of the Year in the Bull Run District and a first-team All-Region 2B pick, the senior right-hander led the Mustangs to the district final and region semifinals while pacing the area in innings pitched. He finished 9-1 with a 0.62 ERA and 100 strikeouts to 21 walks in 79.2 innings. Will pitch at Washington College in Maryland.

Mike Tolson, Stafford - The Player of the Year in the Commonwealth District and Region 5D, the senior right-hander anchored the Indians’ deep staff as they swept the district, region and state championships. He went 10-0 with a 1.55 ERA and 94 strikeouts with 43 walks in 77 innings, tossing a no-hitter in a 5-0 win over rival North Stafford in the region quarterfinals and finishing with a program-record 22 wins. Will play at Western Carolina 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 Jimmy Curley courtesy of West Potomac Baseball