Prep Notebook: Former Osbourn Skipper Howell Joins Staff at Patriot

March 14 - Keith Howell, who led Osbourn to three district and regional championships and a berth in the Group AAA state final in 2005, has joined the coaching staff at Patriot as an assistant this spring.

The longtime skipper brings experience and a winning pedigree to Josh Steinberg’s staff, which lost former head and assistant coach Sammy Serrano after the 2018 season. Steinberg and Howell are joined on staff by pitching coach Sean Cheetham and Matt Holman.

“Keith Howell brings a wealth of successful experience to the table and the program feels very fortunate to add a talented coach to the staff,” Steinberg wrote via text message. “We have been able to bounce a lot of ideas off him in regards to team defense, practice plans and drill work, and that has opened our minds to another perspective.

“His character and reputation adds tremendous value.”

Howell guided the Eagles program for 19 years over two stints - from 1996-2012 and then again from 2015-16 - leading Osbourn to 13 winning seasons and the 20-win plateau four times. The Eagles won a school-record 24 games in 2002 and then again in 2005 and were 252-160 overall under Howell.

Patriot has gone 50-19 in its first three seasons under Steinberg, who was named the 6A North Region Coach of the Year after leading the Pioneers to the region final and state semifinals in 2017. Patriot is 1-0 this spring after opening the season with an 11-1 win over C.D. Hylton on Tuesday.

Two Top 5 Clashes Highlight Opening Week Slate

Two matchups between teams ranked among the top five in the Northern Virginia Top 10 Poll will be held over the next two days.

Tonight, No. 3 Freedom-South Riding (1-0) travels to face No. 4 Riverside at 6 p.m. in Leesburg. The Eagles opened their season with a 2-0 win over Loudoun Valley on Tuesday, and are in the midst of a tough early-season stretch in which they face the Rams tonight, private school power Liberty Christian Academy tomorrow, and No. 1 Battlefield on Monday.

Freedom is coming off a 22-5 season last spring, when coach Mark Wrighte’s club won the Region 5C championships and advanced to the Class 5 state semifinals before falling to Potomac. Coach Sam Plank’s Rams will be opening their season after going 19-3 last year

Tomorrow night, No. 2 Madison is scheduled to travel to No. 5 West Springfield, the defending Class 6 state champion, in the season opener for both teams. The Warhawks are coming off a 15-7 season and are entering their 24th season under longtime coach Mark ‘Pudge’ Gjormand, while coach Jason Olms’ Spartans are coming off a 24-5 that saw them win the Region 6C championship and the fourth state title in program history.

Rams Area’s Top-Ranked Team in PBR Preseason Super 25 Poll

Riverside is ranked No. 9 in  Prep Baseball Report’s preseason Super 25 Poll of teams from Virginia and Washington, D.C., the top-ranked team from Northern Virginia.

The Rams are followed by No. 11 Potomac, No. 13 Madison, No. 16 Battlefield, No. 19 Fauquier, No. 20 Bishop O’Connell and No. 24 Highland School as area teams appearing in the poll.

To view PBR’s preseason poll, click here.

Photo of Keith Howell courtesy of Osbourn Baseball