June 27 - Brett Norwood’s grandfather would be proud.
Norwood, who helped Chantilly to the Class 6 state championship in 2016, was an all-conference selection following his sophomore year at South Florida State College and continued that success in his first season after transferring to Virginia Commonwealth.
The grandson of late legendary Washington-Lee coach Del Norwood won the starting job at third base, then became an All-Atlantic 10 Conference performer in his first season at the Richmond school. The left-handed swinging Norwood was one of the Rams’ top offensive threats as they went 39-19, tying for the team lead with six home runs and leading the club with 25 stolen bases (in 25 chances).
He made just six errors in his 54 games and had hitting streaks of 11 and 13 games.
Norwood is joined on the magazine’s Collegiate Nine by East Carolina’s Jake Agnos (East Carolina), Shepherd’s Brenton Doyle (Kettle Run), George Mason’s Logan Drisoll (Lake Braddock), Xavier’s Conor Grammes (McLean), Tusculum’s Charles Hall (Forest Park), Randolph-Macon’s Michael Nickles (Colonial Forge), and James Madison’s Kyle Novak (Madison) and Fox Semones (C.D. Hylton).
The 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:
Jake Agnos, Junior, East Carolina - The left-hander from Battlefield was named the American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year after leading the Pirates to a second straight NCAA Tournament appearance. He went 11-3 with a 2.29 ERA and earned first-team All-America honors by Collegiate Baseball, setting school and conference single-season records for strikeouts with 145. He was drafted in the fourth round by the New York Yankees and has signed a professional contract. Was a member of the NOVA Nine Team in 2015 and 2016, when he was our Player of the Year.
Brenton Doyle, Junior, Shepherd - A two-time Division II All-America selection, the Kettle Run graduate hit .392 with 13 home runs, 42 RBI and 19 steals in 52 games and was named the Mountain East Conference Player of the Year. The outfielder was drafted in the fourth round by the Colorado Rockies earlier this month and has signed a professional contract. Was a member of the 2016 NOVA Nine Team.
Logan Driscoll, Junior, George Mason - The Lake Braddock product earned his second straight first-team All-Atlantic 10 Conference selection after hitting .343 with nine homers and 33 RBI in 42 games. The catcher became the Patriots’ highest-ever draft pick earlier this month, when he was taken 73rd overall by the San Diego Padres. He has sign a professional contract.
Conor Grammes, Junior, Xavier - A first-team All-Big East Conference selection, the McLean graduate was a two-way standout for the Musketeers and was selected as a pitcher in the fifth round by Arizona earlier this month. He was 5-5 with 3.95 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 68.1 innings and hit .330 with 14 doubles, eight homers and 28 RBI in 58 games. Has signed a professional contract.
Charles Hall, Senior, Tusculum - The Forest Park grad emerged in his final collegiate season, going 6-3 with a 2.31 ERA and leading all Division II pitchers with 148 strikeouts over his 89.2 innings. He set a national D2 single-game record with 22 strikeouts in a 10-2 win over Queens University of Charlotte in Mar. 15. Was drafted by Oakland in the 33rd round and has signed a professional contract.
Michael Nickles, Junior, Randolph-Macon - The third baseman, one of three brothers who played at Colonial Forge that are now suiting up for the Yellow Jackets, was named the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Player of the Year. He hit .358 with a .461 on-base percentage, 24 extra-base hits - including seven homers - with 43 RBI and 10 steals in 38 games.
Brett Norwood, Junior, Virginia Commonwealth - Transferred in after two junior college seasons and the Chantilly product made an immediate impact, winning the Rams’ starting job at third base and going on to earn second-team All-Atlantic 10 Conference honors. He hit .310 with a .427 on-base percentage - drawing 30 walks and getting hit by a pitch 14 times - with 11 doubles, six home runs, 37 RBI and 25 steals.
Kyle Novak, Freshman, James Madison - A third-team All-Colonial Athletic Association pick and member of the league’s All-Rookie Team, the Madison graduate hit .303 with a .389 on-base percentage, 11 extra-base hits and 28 RBI in 55 games. Struck out just 18 times in 188 at-bats. Was a member of the NOVA Nine Team last year, when he was named our Player of the Year.
Fox Semones, Junior, James Madison - A graduate of C.D. Hylton, he earned first-team All-Colonial Athletic Association honors as a utility player after starting at multiple positions in the infield and outfield for the Dukes. He hit .257 with a .371 on-base percentage, 14 extra-base hits, 30 RBI and 14 steals while starting 56 of 57 games. Was a member of the 2016 NOVA Nine Team.
Photo of Brett Norwood courtesy of VCU Athletics