Patriot Won’t Retain Steinberg, ‘17 Region Coach of the Year

September 18 - One of the area’s most-successful coaches over the past four years, Patriot’s Josh Steinberg, was told this morning that his contract would not be renewed, the magazine has learned. 

The decision comes after school administration left the 2017 6A North Region Coach of the Year and two-time league Coach of the Year in limbo regarding his status for over a week. 

Steinberg was initially informed by the school’s director of student activities, Brad Qualls, of his decision on Sept. 9, the coach’s first day back from paternity leave following the birth of his first child. Reports indicate Qualls asked Steinberg to resign, a request the coach rebuffed. The school’s principal, Mike Bishop, was unaware of the meeting or Qualls’ intentions and on Sept. 10 he placed Steinberg in a holding pattern until he was able to meet with Qualls. 

It wasn’t until this morning that they met with the coach and revealed their decision. 

“It’s too bad, I feel for the guy. He’s one of the best-prepared coaches that my teams have competed against,” Centreville coach Scott Rowland said. “It’s hard to find good coaches period, and you fire one of the best coaches in the state of Virginia? I think it’s B.S.” 

Added Madison coach Mark ‘Pudge’ Gjormand: “I was surprised by that because he’s a class guy and he’s a really good baseball coach.”

Since he took the reins prior to the 2016 season following the departure of Sammy Serrano, the 31-year-old Steinberg guided Patriot to a 67-24 record, two league championships and to the Class 6 state tournament in 2017. That spring, he led the Nokesville school to the region final before falling to Oakton. 

The Pioneers reached the regional tournament in each of Steinberg’s four seasons, winning at least one game in the tournament each year.

“The program has flourished, just look at the record over the past four years,” said Jaden Minnick, who graduated in June and is now playing at Montgomery College in Maryland. “Over my four years, I’ve seen every player progress and get better in their time there.”

Steinberg played at Gar-Field for current Battlefield coach Jay Burkhart, then played at George Mason University. He served as an assistant at Patriot for two seasons and has coached for a number of years with the Marucci Stars travel program. 

“Josh is a stand-up guy,” Burkhart said. “Always a tough competitor as an athlete and a coach. He has been instrumental in helping kids and a huge asset to the baseball community.“

Added Osbourn Coach Andrew Haden: “Josh is a class act on and off the field. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve come across and is a role model to his student athletes and everyone he encounters. Very shocked by the news I saw.”

Qualls and Bishop did not return several attempts to reach them. 

Photo of Josh Steinberg by Fred Ingham

Johnson Named New West Potomac Coach

September 16 - Dustin Johnson, who spent six years as a college assistant and most recently served as a scout with the San Diego Padres, has been hired as the new head coach at West Potomac. 

The school’s director of student activities, Aaron Helmick, confirmed the hire earlier today. 

Johnson becomes the Wolverines’ fourth coach in three years but just the seventh in the program’s 34-year history. He replaces Jimmy Linza, who led the Alexandria school to a 16-6 record and a second straight Gunston District championship this past spring. Jason Hescock skippered the team on an interim basis to conclude the 2018 campaign after longtime coach Jim Sullivan’s midseason resignation. 

“We’re excited to have him a part of the Wolverine community,” Helmick said. “At the end of the day, we want the best candidates to work with our student-athletes, and we feel like he has a strong background and knowledge in the game of baseball and that he’ll be a good role model for our student-athletes. 

“I think it’s a solid recipe for success.”

Johnson, 33, pitched at Division II Bloomsburg (PA), then joined his alma mater’s staff for two seasons in 2010-11. He would later coach for three years at Binghamton, helping the New York school win two America East Conference championships to earn automatic berths in the NCAA Tournament. In 2014, he joined Gregg Ritchie’s staff at George Washington before being hired by San Diego, who he’d serve as a full-time Mid-Atlantic Region scout for from the fall of 2015 until last year. 

Ironically, it was Johnson who scouted former West Potomac right-hander Jamie Sara and sold the Padres in taking him in the 12th round of the Major League Baseball Draft in 2016. Sara decided against signing, choosing instead to pitch at William & Mary. He was selected in the 25th round by Philadelphia in this year’s draft and is pitching in the Phillies’ system. 

Once Johnson’s wife, Tara, had their first child, he decided to leave scouting and take a position with Fairfax County Public Schools as a third grade teacher at Fort Belvoir Elementary School. That allowed him to be home more rather than constantly on the road while scouting. 

“Being a dad became super important,” said Johnson, who has a bachelor’s in elementary education and a master’s in instructional technology. “I had to re-evaluate where I was, and wanting to get off the road and have an impact with kids led to teaching. And in being around the kids, I realized I missed coaching and missed being on the field.”

At West Potomac, he takes the reins of a program that has produced winning campaigns in six of its past seven seasons. The Wolverines will return three first-team all-district players in shortstop Aidan Sanderson, outfielder Justin Bassett and left-hander Adam Fischer, who has committed to pitch at William & Mary. 

“My intentions are to win and build on their success and build a program that people want to be a part of,” Johnson said. “I want kids to want to come play baseball at West Potomac. I want to be a rock for these kids, someone who is consistent, someone they can trust. 

“I’m super happy about this opportunity, super thankful for the people I’ve worked for in the past.”

Photos of Dustin Johnson courtesy of Binghamton Athletics

Stone Bridge Tabs Hayes as Program's 4th Skipper

September 10 - Andy Hayes has been hired as the new coach at Stone Bridge, the school announced today. 

“We are very excited to have Coach Hayes as our new baseball coach,” the school’s athletics director, Joan Windows, wrote via email this afternoon. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our baseball team.”

Hayes, 42, coached the past two seasons as an assistant at Salem, serving as the team’s hitting coach and helping the Spartans earn back-to-back Class 4 state tournament appearances. They won the program’s first state title in 2018, defeating Jamestown in the final. This past spring, they lost to Riverside in the state quarterfinals. Salem won 37 of 46 games in his two seasons on staff.

He replaces Mat Shannon, who stepped down after leading the Bulldogs to the Region 5C title and a berth in the Class 5 state tournament this spring. Shannon, who was named the region’s Coach of the Year, left to become an assistant director of student activities at Independence, which opened last month. He was 27-19 in his two seasons. 

Hayes, who played at Virginia Tech from 1995-97, inherits a program that has averaged 15.9 wins per season and won eight district championships since fielding its first team in 2001. He becomes the Bulldogs’ fourth head coach, following Sam Plank (2001-15), Andrew Baird (2016-17) and Shannon. 

"I have followed Stone Bridge Baseball throughout the years as well, and in my opinion, the program has the potential each and every year to be a championship contender. I am excited and honored to help build on that tradition,” said Hayes, who is the founder and owner of the Gameday Broadcast Network and has served as the Virginia High School League’s voice for football and basketball state tournament broadcasts since 2007. 

The son of Tom Hayes, a longtime college football and NFL assistant coach, Hayes won a state championship as a high schooler in Norman, OK prior to playing at Virginia Tech. He moved with his wife, Courtney, and two sons to Roanoke to be closer to her family five years ago and has commuted across the state while operating his business. This summer, the family relocated back to Loudoun County. 

Now, Hayes will look to continue the success at a program that is just five years removed from a state title. The Bulldogs play in the Potomac District, one of the state’s toughest leagues, and understands the challenge the program will have competing with the likes of annual contenders Briar Woods and Freedom-South Riding and now with new additions Riverside and Woodgrove. 

"It starts with culture, and everyone has to buy in to building something special,” Hayes said. “It takes incredible discipline from everyone in the program to win a championship. I want to see us have fun, but also play with tremendous discipline, effort and passion." 

Photo of Andy Hayes courtesy of Salem Baseball

The P-Nats and The Pfitz, By the Numbers

September 5 - The Potomac Nationals’ final game at Pfitzner Stadium was played last week, marking the end of a 36-year era for the club at the Woodbridge ballpark. 

The impending move marks an end of nearly four decades in Prince William County, as the club shifts its focus to a new chapter next year at the $35 million ballpark currently being built in Fredericksburg. We detailed the franchise’s timeline at Pfitzner Stadium in our story last November. 

Potomac, a High-A Carolina League affiliate of the Washington Nationals, beat Myrtle Beach, 5-1, on Thursday in front of a crowd of 4,682 on hand to watch the final game at the ballpark. The P-Nats finished their final season at the ballpark with a 70-67 record, sweeping their final four games at Frederick over the weekend to finish the season on a seven-game winning streak. 

Mike Covington, the longtime Potomac coach and a Prince William native, was an assistant at the Dumfries school when it beat Lake Braddock, 6-4, in the Group AAA state final on the field in 1988. He also recalls fondly throwing out the first pitch on ‘Billy Deck Day’ named for the former Panthers star who played with the then-Potomac Cannons from 1998-2000, and the ‘The Fall Classic’ run by former Potomac coach Jerry Gardziel that was held at the stadium and attracted some of the country’s top players. 

“It’s been a nice place to play, the facilities were very good for the era when it first opened,” Covington said. 

Originally established as the Alexandria Dukes in 1978, the franchise moved to its new home after six seasons at what was then known as Municipal Stadium at Four Mile Run Park. Today, the ballpark is named Frank Mann Field and serves as the home to Bishop Ireton in the spring and the Alexandria Aces of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League in the summer. 

Pfitzner Stadium has been the home to dozens of future Major Leaguers, and it was a former big leaguer that provided former Gar-Field coach Mike Meadows with one of his favorite memories at the park. The colorful Joe Charboneau, who suited up for the then-Prince William Pirates in 1984, was ejected from a game and proceeded to entertain the crowd by tossing bats and water coolers on the field.

Meadows, who grew up playing and coaching not far from the stadium, also remembers fans getting on Billy Ripken, the younger brother of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr.

“Billy Ripken came through playing shortstop for Hagerstown and he was unmercifully harassed by the fans,” Meadows said, adding that the younger Ripken brother handled the heckling well. “Also, another wonderful experience was having American Legion ball in the stadium.”

Since the opening of the stadium, the club has been affiliated with six Major League organizations and had eight different names. The ballpark itself has had four names, beginning as Davis Ford Park, then becoming Prince William County Stadium, then Pfitzner Stadium, and for the past two years, going by Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium. 

Here are some more stadium numbers:

$2,000,000 - The cost of the stadium, which was built in 1983 and early 1984. 

236,772 - The number of fans that attended the P-Nats’ home games in 2013, a club record and an average of 3,534 over the 67 contests. 

12,916 - Number of days the club called Pfitzner Stadium home, debuting on Apr. 19, 1984 and playing its final game at the ballpark on Aug. 29, 2019. 

.488 - The club’s overall winning percentage in its 36 seasons at the stadium, having compiled a 2,438-2,556 record and 14 winning campaigns. 

84 - Victories in 2013, a franchise record. The P-Nats also set a franchise record that season with 47 home wins, but would lose in the Carolina League championship series to Salem. 

11 - Carolina League playoff appearances, in the 36 seasons the team played at the stadium. The franchise’s other postseason came in 1982. 

6 - Major League organizations the franchise has been affiliated with while at the stadium, including the Pirates from 1984-86, the Yankees from 1987-93, the White Sox from 1994-96, the Cardinals from 1997-2002, the Reds from 2003-04, and the Nationals from 2005-19. 

4 - Carolina League championships won by the club while playing at the stadium, winning in 1989, 2008, 2010 and 2014. The franchise also won a title in 1982 while playing in Alexandria. 

2 - Carolina League MVP honors won while at the stadium, earned by Troy Farnsworth in 2000 and Tyler Moore in 2010. Farnsworth holds the franchise record with 113 RBI and Moore clubbed 31 home runs, also a club record.  

McBroom Traded to Royals, Could Debut Tonight

September 3 - Ryan McBroom was traded from the New York Yankees to Kansas City on Sunday and he was added earlier today to the Royals’ 40-man roster. He could make his Major League debut tonight against the Detroit Tigers. 

McBroom, 27, was dealt for international cash considerations after hitting .315 with a .402 on-base percentage, 29 doubles, 26 home runs and 66 RBI in 117 games at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre this season. The former Courtland and West Virginia University standout is a four-time minor league All-Star, including this year in the International League. 

While the Major League trade deadline was on July 31, minor league players are eligible to be traded at any point during the season. 

“In my opinion, he’s the MVP of this league,” Scranton/Wilkes Barre manager Jay Bell told the Press Enterprise. “He’s done a phenomenal job. We’re in the position we’re in because of Ryan McBroom. I’m really, really happy that he gets the opportunity to go to Kansas City and go to the big leagues.”

It’s the second time the first baseman has been traded since he was taken by the Blue Jays in the 15th round in 2014. He was acquired by New York in July 2017 in a deal that sent Rob Refsnyder to Toronto. McBroom is tied for seventh all-time in homers (29) and ranks sixth in RBI (162) at West Virginia. 

Kansas City begins a three-game home series with Detroit tonight. 

Photo of Ryan McBroom courtesy of

The Mag’s 2019 College Summer All-Star Team

September 1 - The magazine’s third annual College Summer All-Star Team consists of a 25-man roster of players hailing from Northern Virginia. 

This year’s team is led by Matt Thomas, who hit .366 with 43 RBI and led the Bethesda Big Train to the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League championship. He’s joined in our starting lineup by seven other players who hit over .300 this summer: Watertown Rapids catcher George Rosales (.352), Alexandria Aces first baseman and outfielder Scotty Morgan (.319), Charlottesville TomSox second baseman Trey McDyre (.325), Vermont Mountaineers shortstop Austin Gauthier (.301), Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts third baseman Lucas Donlon (.300), FCA Braves outfielder Jordan Ebersole (.311) and New Market Rebels outfielder Jonah Seagears (.306). 

FCA Braves right-hander Jack Cone, who led the CRCBL with a 2.70 ERA, and Alexandria Aces right-hander Jared Lyons (2.85 ERA, 45 K’s) anchor the rotation, with the bullpen paced by two relievers with who had sub-2.00 ERAs this summer - the D.C. Grays’ Magnus Ellerts and Matsu Miners’ Owen Lamon. 

The 25 players selected come from 17 different teams in eight leagues - the Alaska Baseball League, CRCBL, Cape Cod League, Coastal Plain League, New England Collegiate Baseball League, Northwoods League, Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League and the Valley Baseball League.

Here are this year’s selections:

Catcher: George Rosales, Watertown Rapids - The Briar Woods grad hit .352 with a .510 on-base percentage, one homer and 12 RBI in 23 games in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. Had a 13-game hitting streak in July and finished with seven multi-hit games. Entering his sophomore year at Fairleigh Dickinson University. 

First Base: Scotty Morgan, Alexandria Aces - The Woodbridge grad was a first-team All-Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League selection after hitting .319 with a .434 on-base percentage and a league-high nine home runs along with 29 RBI in 36 regular season games. Had a 16-game hitting streak in June and into early July and finished with nine multi-hit games. Entering his junior year at George Mason University. 

Second Base: Trey McDyre, Charlottesville TomSox - The Loudoun Valley grad hit .325 with a .424 on-base percentage and helped the TomSox reach the Valley Baseball League championship series. Had a five-hit game in June, finished with 39 hits and 19 RBI in 32 regular season games. Entering his senior year at Liberty University. 

Shortstop: Austin Gauthier, Vermont Mountaineers - The South County grad hit .301 with a .406 on-base percentage, 14 extra-base hits and 18 RBI in 43 regular season games while earning New England Collegiate Baseball League All-Star honors. Had 17 multi-hit games, five contests with three hits, and finished tied for eighth in doubles (11), tied for 13th in the league in hits (50) and tied for third in walks (39). Entering his junior year at Hofstra University. 

Third Base: Lucas Donlon, Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts - The Georgetown Prep grad and McLean resident was one of the top rising freshmen in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, hitting .300 with a .376 on-base percentage and 12 RBI in 25 regular season games. He was even better in the playoffs, hitting .368 with three homes and five RBI in five games as the Thunderbolts reached the league championship series. Entering his freshman year at Virginia Tech. 

Outfield: Hunter Gore, Wilson Tobs - The Loudoun Valley grad hit .223 with a .374 on-base percentage, seven homers and 35 RBI in 43 games in the Coastal Plain League. Also had 11 doubles and his 32 walks were tied for seventh in the league. Entering his redshirt junior year at the University of Mount Olive. 

Outfield: Jordan Ebersole, FCA Braves - The Madison grad hit .311 with a 419 on-base percentage, four homers and 14 RBI in 25 regular season games in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. Was 4-for-5 with two homers and five RBI in a win over the Alexandria Aces on July 13. Entering his senior year at the Virginia Military Institute. 

Outfield: Jonah Seagears, New Market Rebels - The Battlefield grad hit .306 with a .428 on-base percentage, three homers and 18 RBI and finished second in the Valley League in steals (21) and tied for eighth in runs (32). Had 13 multi-hit games, including five straight at one point in June. Entering his sophomore year at Virginia Tech. 

Designated Hitter: Scout Knotts, North Adams SteepleCats - The South County grad hit .296 with a .388 on-base percentage, nine doubles, two homers and 26 RBI in 41 games for his New England Collegiate Baseball League club. Had 13 multi-hit games, including five straight at one point in early July. Entering his junior year at Shippensburg University. 

Utility: Matt Thomas, Bethesda Big Train - A first-team all-league selection and the playoff MVP after helping the Big Train win the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League title, the Lake Braddock grad led the CRCBL in RBI (43) and was second in hits (45) and third in batting average (.366) during the regular season. Had an 11-game hitting streak in July and finished with 16 multi-hit games. Hit .417 in the postseason and a go-ahead three-run homer in the deciding game of the league championship series. Entering his sophomore year at the College of William & Mary. 

Reserves: Lyle Miller Green, OF/1B, Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts; Michael Ludowig, OF, Harwich Mariners; Anthony Stehlin, UTL, Edenton Steamers; Parker Denny, 1B, Newark Pilots … Notes: Miller-Green (Lake Braddock/George Mason) joined the CRCBL team late after helping the Bruins win the VHSL Class 6 state title, hitting .313 with a .380 on-base percentage and nine RBI in 18 games …  Ludowig (Briar Woods/Wake Forest) hit .256 in 28 regular season games, then batted .375 in the Cape Cod League postseason … Stehlin (Forest Park/Concord) hit .273 with a .366 on-base percentage, 3 homers and 25 RBI in 44 games in the Coastal Plain League … Denny (Yorktown/Seton Hill) hit .239 with a .359 on-base percentage, three homers and 18 RBI in 33 games during the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League’s regular season.

Starting Pitcher: Jack Cone, RHP, FCA Braves - The South County grad went 3-2 with a league-best 2.70 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 36.2 innings. Had a 14.1-inning scoreless streak to begin the summer, and allowed two runs or less in four of his six starts. Also earned two saves while making three relief appearances and the versatile player hit .210 with a .320 on-base percentage and two homers in 62 at-bats. Entering his sophomore year at the College of William & Mary. 

Other Starting Pitchers: Jared Lyons, RHP, Alexandria Aces; Antonio Menendez, Harwich Mariners; Marty Tolson Jr., Rochester Honkers … Notes: Lyons (West Springfield/George Mason) recorded a 2.85 ERA with 45 strikeouts - both ranked second in the CRCBL - in 28.1 innings over his eight starts … Menendez (Herndon/Wake Forest) came on strong late after shifting from the bullpen and was one of the Cape Cod League’s top starters down the stretch, finishing with a 3.72 ERA in 29 innings during the regular season and tossing six scoreless innings in his lone postseason start … Tolson (Stafford/Maryland-Eastern Shore) went 5-2 with a 3.63 ERA in 52 innings for his Northwoods League club.

Relief Pitchers: Nick Stewart, RHP, Harwich Mariners; Jack Nathan, LHP, FCA Braves; Jack Weeks, LHP, Bethesda Big Train; Magnus Ellerts, RHP, D.C. Grays; Owen Lamon, RHP, Matsu Miners; Kevin Ledford, RHP, Winchester Royals … Notes: Stewart (Rock Ridge/James Madison) had 32 strikeouts and recorded three saves, compiling a 4.68 ERA in 25 innings for the Cape Cod League club … Nathan (South Lakes/High Point) posted a 3.29 ERA over 27.1 innings in 10 appearances … Weeks (Paul VI Catholic/Georgetown) compiled a 3.05 ERA in 17.2 innings over 12 relief outings … Ellerts (Woodbrdge/Harford CC), a rising freshman, had a 1.45 ERA with two saves and 18 strikeouts in 12.1 innings over 11 outings … Lamon (Oakton/Georgetown) posted a 1.84 ERA in 14.2 innings over 15 relief appearances with his Alaska Baseball League club … Ledford (North Stafford/Roanoke) posted a 4.50 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 20 innings and ranked second in the Valley Baseball League with five saves.

Triantos, O’Connor Transferring from 6-Time WCAC Champion St. John’s

August 31 - Two talented young players, James Triantos and Jack O’Connor, will not return to St. John’s next spring as the Washington, D.C. power seeks an unprecedented seventh consecutive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship.

The two Northern Virginia natives helped the Cadets go 30-3 and win the WCAC and D.C. city championships in their first prep seasons, and Triantos became the first freshman ever to earn first-team All-Met honors by The Washington Post. O’Connor has enrolled at Bishop O’Connell and Triantos plans to transfer prior to the spring semester, his father confirmed earlier this week. It’s undecided where he will enroll.

O’Connor, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound right-hander and first baseman who resides in Arlington, committed last fall to play at the University of Virginia. He was 1-1 with a 0.54 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 13 innings and went 6-for-12 with eight RBI while serving mostly as a pinch hitter for a deep Cadets lineup. 

Triantos, a North Carolina recruit who resides in McLean, quickly became a two-way threat on the mound and in the middle of the order as coach Mark Gibbs’ club became the first to win six straight WCAC titles. He hit .495 with a .576 on-base percentage, 49 hits - including 22 that went for extra bases - along with 12 steals and 39 RBI. On the mound, he was 6-0 with a 0.44 ERA and 41 strikeouts to eight walks in 32 innings. 

Both players are rated among Prep Baseball Report’s top Class of 2022 recruits in D.C. and Virginia, Triantos ranked at No. 3 and O’Connor at No. 5. Two others on that list - left-hander Bradley Gagen (No. 6) and catcher Mason Balsis (No. 8) - also transferred over the summer in what was a busy offseason for player movement. Gagen, who recently decommitted from Virginia, transferred from Paul VI Catholic to Independence, Loudoun County’s newest school. Balsis, a Virginia recruit, has moved over from Osbourn Park to Patriot. 

Other area Division I recruits who transferred over the summer include: sophomore right-hander Bryce Dolby (Virginia Tech), who went from Paul VI to Independence; sophomore outfielder Elijah Lambros (Virginia Tech), who left defending VHSL Class 5 state champion Stafford to attend Fredericksburg Christian Academy, a small VISAA Division II private school; and left-hander Brandon Clarke (Alabama), who left Rock Ridge to attend Independence. 

Photos of James Triantos, left, and Jack O’Connor, right, by Mark Seal

Injury Cuts Savino’s USA Baseball Tenure Short

August 28 - Due to an undisclosed injury, Potomac Falls senior left-hander Nate Savino will not be with the USA Baseball 18U National Team for the upcoming WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Gijang, South Korea. 

“Unfortunately, due to injury, Nate Savino is no longer with the team,” a member of USA Baseball’s media relations staff wrote this morning. The staff member was not able to confirm the nature of the injury.

Savino, who last pitched in a game on Aug. 15 during the USA Baseball’s trials period, is returning home after spending the past few days with the team for tuneup games in Taiwan against Chinese Taipei. The University of Virginia recruit was named to manager Jack Leggett’s 20-man roster earlier this month, becoming the eighth player from Northern Virginia to earn a spot on the 18U National Team. 

He was hoping to become the third area player to help the team win a gold medal at the World Cup. Jeff Baker (Gar-Field) and Andy McGuire (Madison) helped the team to championships in 1999 and 2012, respectively. 

Savino is one of the country’s top-rated senior prospects. He’s currently ranked No. 6 in the country by Prep Baseball Report and No. 4 nationally by Perfect Game.

A two-time NOVA Nine Team selection, the southpaw went 10-4 with a 0.73 ERA and 180 strikeouts to 32 walks in 86.1 innings over the past two seasons at Potomac Falls. This summer, he compiled a 2.27 ERA over 12.1 innings during stints in Major League Baseball’s PDP League, the MLB High School All-Star Game, the Perfect Game All-American Classic, the Under Armour All-America Game, and with USA Baseball.

Team USA is the four-time defending champion at the World Cup and will Friday’s opener against South Africa on a 16-game winning streak at the tournament. The team will continue pool play against Chinese Taipei on Saturday, Japan on Sunday, Panama on Monday and Spain on Tuesday. The top three teams from both six-team pools will advance to bracket play, which is held from Sept. 5-8. 

Photo of Nate Savino courtesy of USA Baseball

Briar Woods’ Cmeyla to Play at Dartmouth College

August 27 - Senior catcher Nathan Cmeyla has committed to play at Dartmouth College, Briar Woods coach Rob Sikora confirmed this evening. 

A two-time first-team All-Region 5C selection and one of the area’s top remaining uncommitted players from the Class of 2020, Cmeyla chose the Ivy League school over offers from other highly-regarded academic institutions. This past spring, he helped the Falcons go 20-5 and win the Potomac District championship en route to second-team Class 5 all-state honors. 

Cmeyla plays in the offseason with the Dirtbags travel program and helped the North team win gold at the Commonwealth Games the past two summers. He becomes the sixth Briar Woods player since 2017 to commit to a Division I program. 

“We are extremely excited for Nathan and his family,” Sikora wrote via text message. “He’s an outstanding student-athlete that has a bright future ahead of him. His hard work - on and off the field - has been a large reason for our success over the past two years.”

Over those two seasons, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Cmeyla has batted .399 with 59 hits - including 22 that have gone for extra bases - along with 41 RBI. His athleticism allowed him to make a seamless transition from second base to catcher, and he had eight stolen bases this past spring - a high number considering the backstop often had a courtesy runner once he reached base.

He will be part of a talented returning core at Briar Woods that includes junior infielder Evan Smith, a West Virginia recruit, and senior Jacob Weaver, one of the area’s best defensive outfielders who will play at Division II Lincoln Memorial in Tennessee. Senior right-hander Kyle Lewis also made his college commitment today and will pitch for Division III Marymount.

Cmeyla will become the first player from Northern Virginia to suit up for the Big Green since Ben Socher (Madison) did so from 2014-17. Dartmouth went 15-26 overall and 8-13 in the Ivy League this past season under longtime coach Bob Whalen. 

Photo of Nathan Cmeyla courtesy of Briar Woods Baseball

Down, Not Out: Loudoun South Looks to Bounce Back in LLWS Elimination Game

August 22 - Loudoun South American faces elimination at the Little League World Series after having an 18-game winning streak snapped last night in Williamsport, PA. 

The Southeast Region champions dropped to the loser’s bracket after suffering a 12-9 loss to Central East Maui from Wailuku, HI. As a result, they’ll play Eastbank from River Ridge, LA - the Southwest Region champions - in an elimination game tonight at 7 p.m. on ESPN. 

The West Region champions (15-2) advance to Saturday’s United States final and will await tonight’s winner.

After falling behind early, Loudoun South American (19-2) rallied for six runs in the bottom of the third inning to tie the game, 8-8. They’d hand the lead back, however, as the Hawaiians scored once on Chase Obstgarten in the fourth and three times on Brady Yates in the fifth. 

Justin Lee, who combined with Liam Thyen and Obstgarten on a no-hitter in a 3-0 win over Barrington, R.I. on Friday and tossed a four-inning no-hitter in an 11-0 win over Coon Rapids, MN on Sunday, gave up four runs and was unable to get out of the first inning. He’ll be available to pitch tonight, as will Obstgarten after both had abbreviated outings. Thyen, the team’s No. 2 pitcher during its run this summer, will not be available after throwing 51 pitches. 

Loudoun South American used five pitchers, with Kian Henson closing the game out with two scoreless frames. 

Colton Hicks and Noah Culpepper had two hits apiece and combined for five RBI to pace Loudoun South American. Lee was 1-for-2 with two walks and Chase Triplett had his third pinch-hit single of the tournament.

With the loss, the two-time Virginia champions will face a hot Eastbank (13-1) team that has run off three straight wins since a 5-2 opening-round loss to Central East Maui. The Louisiana team is led by Reese Roussel, who is 9-for-13 at the tournament, and a pitching staff that has allowed just 16 hits and posted a 0.86 ERA in its four games in Williamsport. 

Eastbank is likely to start right-hander Marshall Louque, who took the loss after being charged with four unearned runs against Central East Maui last week but has posted a 1.10 ERA with 25 strikeouts to just three walks in 16.1 innings since the beginning of the Southwest Regional. 

Notes: Only six teams remain alive in Williamsport, as Eastbank eliminated Mid-Atlantic Region champion Elmora (Elizabeth, N.J.) with a 4-1 win and Carribean champion Pabao (Willemstad, Curacao) eliminated Latin American champion Cacique Mara (Maracaibo, Venezuela) with a 9-2 victory. Pabao will play Asia-Pacific champion Chung Nam (South Chungcheong, South Korea) this afternoon for the right to face Japanese champion Chofu in the international final on Saturday … After playing two error-free games while posting consecutive shutouts to begin the tournament, Loudoun South American committed five errors last night. The team’s five pitchers threw a combined 163 pitches.

Photo of Matt Coleman by Joey Kamide