Fall Recruiting Preview: Area’s Top Uncommitted Junior Players

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August 27 - Four uncommitted Northern Virginia players lead a deep Class of 2020 group as the NCAA’s fall recruiting period approaches its Sept. 14 start.

Bishop O’Connell’s Eddie Eisert, Briar Woods’ Nathan Cmeyla, Osbourn Park’s Shane Saunders and Centreville’s Thomas Trinca are all on the radars of several Division I programs throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region. They are part of what could be the area’s best crop of players since the Class of 2016.

A switch-hitting shortstop and right-handed pitcher, Eisert earned first-team All-WCAC honors after hitting .403 with 11 doubles and 16 RBI in the spring, and he also compiled a 1.20 ERA and three saves in 22 innings. He’s likely a college infielder, and is a better hitter from the left side of the plate. That casts some doubt over his ability to hit from both sides at the next level, but regardless , he will be a big get for whichever program lands him.

The same can be said for Cmeyla, another switch-hitter who raised his stock with a good showing at last month's Virginia Commonwealth Games in Lynchburg. Cmeyla will transition from second base to catcher, his natural position, after the graduation of George Rosales, who will play at Fairleigh Dickinson next spring. His big sophomore campaign included a .459 batting average, 14 extra-base hits and 27 RBI.

Saunders won’t wow college scouts with his size, but his ability to consistently put the bat on the ball - he hit .484 with 31 hits for the Yellow Jackets in the spring - and his speed (14 steals and a 6.6 in the 60) and defensive prowess is what has made him such an attractive prospect. For a smaller player, the outfielder has shown the ability to drive the ball - 11 of his hits went for extra bases - and his academic marks have put him on the radar with Ivy League schools. Trinca possesses all the physical traits that gain the attention of college coaches. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound outfielder runs a 6.8 60 and the arm strength that projects well as a Division I corner outfielder. About the only issue giving college coaches pause with the two-time all-league selection is how well his swing will translate at the next level.

Two middle infielders who could see their stock rise this fall and beyond are Forest Park’s Griffin Boone and T.C. Williams’ Shane Tucker. Both are under 6-feet, meaning they’d likely be second basemen should they ascend to the Division I level, but both have already proven that they can perform at a high level after earning first-team all-district honors as sophomores in the spring. A corner infielder to watch is Patriot’s Connor Jersey, who has a college-ready swing but questions about what his position would be at the next level.

Four versatile players - Highland School’s Blake Fisher, C.D. Hylton’s Ethan Marotske, Chantilly’s Thomas Latham and Trinity Christian’s Brenham Daniel - are collegiate players. It’s unclear, however, at what level and at which position.

Fisher put up impressive numbers after transferring from Battlefield and reclassifying last year, earning first-team VISAA Division 2 all-state honors following a spring that saw the middle infielder hit .404 with 17 extra-base hits and 30 RBI while going 4-2 with a 1.05 ERA in 40 innings.

Marotske hit .394 with 12 steals and earned second-team All-Region 6C honors while playing every defensive position sans shortstop for the Bulldogs. Latham played all over the field while hitting .358 with 12 doubles and 18 RBI for the Chargers, and Daniel hit .458 and went 6-2 with a 3.47 ERA in 44.1 innings as the Gryphons earned their first VISAA Division 2 state tournament berth.

Others to keep an eye on include Flint Hill’s 6-foot-4, 235-pound first baseman Brendan Albrittain, McLean outfielder Anthony Farmakides, Dominion corner infielder and right-hander Mario Canestraro, Potomac Falls shortstop Jack Campbell, Madison catcher Chris Polymeropoulos, Robinson outfielder and catcher Maalik Kabra, and Oakton infielder and right-hander Julian Heitman.

Photo of Briar Woods' Nathan Cmeyla by Joey Kamide