Prep Notebook: Lineup Change Helps Spark Briar Woods’ 7-Game Winning Streak

May 1 - Briar Woods coach Rob Sikora moved junior center fielder Jacob Weaver up in the order while the Falcons were in South Carolina over spring break, and his club hasn’t lost since.

The Falcons (11-2 overall, 7-0 Potomac District) overcame two early deficits to knock off visiting Freedom-South Riding, 6-2, last night and enter tomorrow’s game at Ashburn rival Stone Bridge on a seven-game winning streak. They have a two-game lead over Broad Run (8-4, 5-2) and Freedom (10-5, 6-3).

At the center of Briar Woods’ success has been Weaver, who has gone 11-for-24 with eight runs, seven stolen bases and six RBI while hitting in one of the top two spots in the lineup since the change was made following a 4-2 loss to Halifax County on Apr. 15. Weaver is batting .400 with 13 runs and 12 steals this season.

“We had Weaver in the 9-spot early because I wanted somebody there who could turn the lineup over to the top of the order,” Sikora said. “In Myrtle Beach, we wanted to try some different things. He got hot and has stayed hot.”

The Falcons are also getting big campaigns from junior catcher Nathan Cmeyla (.378, 11 RBI) and sophomore second baseman Evan Smith (.364, 12 RBI), a West Virginia recruit who transferred in from St. John’s (D.C.). Senior Tyler Woody is also hitting over .300 and has had several key hits, junior third baseman Nick Famiglietti remains a presence atop the lineup and junior Ian Smith - Evan’s older brother - has forced his way into the lineup in recent weeks.

Sikora also credits a pitching staff that has a number of new contributors after the graduation of ace Wilson Ayers, who anchored the unit while Briar Woods won the state championship in 2017 and made a second straight Class 5 state tournament appearance last year.

“I’m real pleased with how we’re pitching,” the coach said. “We don’t have that big-name arm, that stud who just goes out and shoves. But what we have are guys who control their pitches and force hitters to put the ball in play.

“In all honesty, I’m not surprised with how we’re playing. If you look at the state game we played last year against Potomac, we had four or five sophomores playing in that game … We knew two years ago that the freshman class was really strong, and now they’re starters.”

Mack Becomes Potomac’s 9th Player to Reach 100 Hits

Brody Mack had two hits in No. 6 Potomac’s 2-1 extra-inning win over Colonial Forge on Monday to become the Dumfries program’s ninth player to reach 100 career hits.

Mack, a left-handed swinging outfielder and left-handed pitcher who has signed to play at the College of William & Mary, has been hot of late after a slow start. He had another two hits and three RBI in last night’s win over Freedom-Woodbridge and has hits in seven of his last games, totaling four multi-hit games over that stretch.

He is hitting .370 with 20 RBI after earning NOVA Nine Team honors last year, when he hit .462 with an area-high 36 RBI. The Panthers (15-3 overall, 9-1 Cardinal District) will play at Colgan (9-8, 5-4) on Friday.

Northern Virginia Teams Represented in Latest Post, PBR Rankings

Six area teams appear in The Washington Post’s metro area Top 10 and seven are in Prep Baseball Report’s latest Power 25 Poll ranking the top teams in Virginia and D.C.

The Post’s bi-weekly poll, which was last released on Apr. 22, has Battlefield (13-3) at No. 2. Northern Virginia teams also possess the last five spots in the poll - No. 6 Lake Braddock (16-2), No 7 Potomac (15-3), No. 8 Madison (14-3), No. 9 Westfield (15-3) and No. 10 Patriot (13-2). The Post’s coverage area does not include the counties of Fauquier, Spotsylvania or Stafford.

In PBR’s newest Power 25, released on Monday, Patriot jumped from No. 21 to No. 8 and is the highest-ranked local team. The Pioneers are followed by No. 11 Madison, No. 12 Highland School (15-4), No. 15 Battlefield, No. 16 Lake Braddock, No. 19 Stafford (15-2) and No. 21 Brentsville District (12-2).

Dominion Southpaw Weber Taking Mound Against Area’s Top Arms

In his six starts this season, Dominion senior left-hander Dylan Weber has faced three opposing pitchers who have committed or signed with Division I programs and another who likely will join that group.

Weber, who will pitch for one of the country’s top Division III programs at Christopher Newport, split his first two starts with Patriot’s Riley Eikhoff (Virginia) and Loudoun County’s Donovan Burke (James Madison) in March. Last week, he had his best outing of the spring in a 5-0 win over Heritage, striking out a season-high eight while tossing a no-hitter to beat Heritage and Dylan Saale, a 6-foot-4 junior right-hander who has received Division I interest.

He wasn’t able to replicate that form last night, taking the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) in five innings as the Titans (9-6) saw their five-game win streak halted with a 6-3 loss to Woodgrove. Weber’s counterpart was 6-foot-6, 220-pound right-hander Nick Lockhart, who has signed with Virginia Tech.

Weber, who is 2-4 with a 2.12 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 29.2 innings, will likely be pitted against another Virginia Tech recruit next week in Loudoun Valley’s Michael Grupe. Dominion is scheduled to play the Vikings on back-to-back nights on Monday and Tuesday.

Photos of, clockwise from left: Jacob Weaver courtesy of Briar Woods Baseball, Potomac’s Brody Mack by Michael Greene, and Dylan Weber courtesy of Dominion Baseball