North to Field Versatile Roster at Next Month's Virginia Commonwealth Games

June 18 - North team coach Mike Covington has finalized his roster for next month’s Virginia Commonwealth Games, and he’ll have plenty of options with a club featuring a number of two-way players.

“I think the group that we got is pretty athletic, and I think we’re gonna hit,” said Covington, the Potomac coach who has skippered the North in each of the 30 years the Games have been held. He has led them to championships at the weekend-long tournament in eight of the past nine years.

The North team has three returning players from last summer’s Games, Bishop O’Connell infielder and right-hander Eddie Eisert, Highland School shortstop and right-hander Blake Fisher, and Briar Woods catcher Nathan Cmeyla. Eisert, an N.C. State recruit, hit .432 with 13 extra-base hits, 18 RBI and 17 steals and recorded 23 strikeouts and a 1.29 ERA in 16.1 innings en route to first-team VISAA Division I all-state honors this spring.

Fisher hit .380 with three homers and 21 RBI and was 6-3 with a 2.13 ERA in 42.2 innings, earning first-team VISAA Division II all-state honors while helping the Hawks reach the state final. Cmeyla hit .338 with 14 RBI and helped the Falcons win the Potomac District championship.

Joining Eisert and Fisher in the infield will be James Triantos, a McLean resident who has committed to play at North Carolina and was a first-team All-Met selection by The Washington Post following his freshman campaign at St. John’s (D.C.). Triantos hit .495 with 39 RBI and was 6-0 with a 0.44 ERA for the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champions.

South Lakes’ Ryan Dooley, a Virginia Military Institute recruit who hit .397 with a .531 on-base percentage while playing much of the season after breaking his hand, can play either of the middle infield positions and also in the outfield. South County’s Tre Williams, who hit .411 and posted a 1.88 ERA in 26 innings this spring, will be the team’s first baseman.

The outfield will consist of Westfield’s Nick Lottchea, the Concorde District Player of the Year, along with Centreville’s Thomas Trinca and Potomac’s Ben Thomas. Lottchea hit .422 with 14 extra-base hits, 27 RBI and 12 steals and was 9-1 with a 1.45 ERA in 43.1 innings while helping the Bulldogs win the Region 6D title and advance to the Class 6 state final. Trinca, who has committed to play at George Mason, hit .423 with 16 extra-base hits, 16 RBI and nine steals, while Thomas hit .515 with 28 RBI and nine steals.

Potomac’s Braden Mack and Page County’s Tristan Gordon will join Cmeyla as the catchers. Mack was the Cardinal District Player of the Year after hitting .449 with 25 RBI and going 6-1 with a 0.79 ERA and 47 strikeouts to seven walks in 35 innings, and Gordon hit .486 with 10 homers and 32 RBI.

“We’ve got a lot of versatility, and I’ll be able to move guys around,” Covington said of a group that features eight two-way players.

Eisert, Fisher, Triantos, Williams, Lottchea and Mack are all options on a pitching staff headlined by Page County left-hander T.R. Williams, a first-team Class 2 all-state pick who has committed to Virginia Tech, and Kettle Run’s Joe Vogatsky, a James Madison recruit who was the Region 4C Player of the Year.

Williams has posted gaudy numbers over his first two prep campaigns, totaling 20 wins, a 1.08 ERA and 276 strikeouts to just 32 walks over 148.2 innings. He was also a first-team all-state pick as a first baseman after hitting .375 with four homers and 21 RBI. Vogatsky was 6-3 with a 2.24 ERA and 82 strikeouts to just 14 walks in 59.1 innings this spring, and he also hit .403 with three homers and 21 RBI. He’ll be an option at both corner infield positions when not on the mound.

“I’m a little bit nervous about not having a couple more left-handed pitchers and another big left-handed bat,” Covington said. “But I’ve got a couple wild cards on the mound that, if they have a good weekend, it could be very special.”

Covington could be referring to the trio of McLean’s Teddy Merritt, who was 5-1 with a 3.02 ERA while helping the Highlanders to the Liberty District championship; Yorktown’s Nathan Knowles, who went 5-1 with a 1.85 ERA and 70 strikeouts to 13 walks in 41 innings; and Riverside’s Wyatt Shenkman, who was 5-1 with a 3.40 ERA while helping the Rams win the Dulles District and Region 4C titles and advance to the Class 4 state final.

“Merritt could go out there and be 83-85 [MPH], or he could be 88-90 and if it’s a day where he’s synched up, he can be pretty darn good,” Covington said.

The Games are held at Liberty University from July 19-21. The North team opens that Friday night at 8:30 p.m. against the East, then will play the West and Central on Saturday. The medal games are held on Sunday.

Photos of, from left, Highland School’s Blake Fisher, Bishop O’Connell’s Eddie Eisert and Potomac coach Mike Covington by Joey Kamide

Note: Roster views as table on desktop or if mobile device is held horizontally.

North Team Roster 2019 Virginia Commonwealth Games
Name School Class B T Positions
Nathan Cmeyla Briar Woods 2020 R R C/MIF
Ryan Dooley South Lakes 2020 L R MIF/OF
Eddie Eisert Bishop O'Connell 2020 S R IF/RHP
Blake Fisher Highland School 2020 L R MIF/RHP
Tristan Gordon Page County 2020 R R C
Nathan Knowles Yorktown 2021 R R RHP
Nick Lottchea Westfield 2021 L L OF/LHP
Braden Mack Potomac 2020 R R C/RHP
Teddy Merritt McLean 2020 R R RHP
Wyatt Shenkman Riverside 2021 R R RHP
Ben Thomas Potomac 2020 R R OF
Thomas Trinca Centreville 2020 R R OF
James Triantos St. John's (D.C.) 2022 R R MIF/RHP
Joe Vogatsky Kettle Run 2020 R R RHP/IF
T.R. Williams Page County 2021 L L LHP/IF/OF
Tre Williams South County 2020 R R IF/RHP
north team roster: Virginia Commonwealth Games