March 18 - Nate Savino wasted little time in giving us a signature moment in 2019. The only question now is how many encores will the talented Potomac Falls left-hander have this spring.
Savino, a junior committed to Virginia and a member of the NOVA Nine Team as a sophomore last year, struck out 18 without a walk while tossing a one-hit shutout in a 5-0 win over then-No. 4 Riverside on Friday. The southpaw needed just 81 pitches while recording his fourth career outing with 15 or more strikeouts, flashing a fastball that sat 93-95 MPH and reached 97 in addition to command of his two off-speed pitches. His strikeout total was one short of his career high of 19, set last May when he tossed a no-hitter against Broad Run.
The Potomac District and Region 5C Player of the Year last year, Savino is regarded as one of the nation’s top pitchers in his class and earlier this month was named as one of 80 players who will participate in the Major League Baseball-sponsored Prospect Development Pipeline League this summer. In 2018, he went 7-2 with a 0.82 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 51.1 innings while hitting .446 with 10 doubles.
Savino’s next start is likely on Friday at Rock Ridge.
With Back-to-Back Shutouts to Begin Season, No. 10 Westfield is Armed and Dangerous
Much of the buzz around Westfield this offseason centered on its returning senior right-handers, Joe Clancy and Danny Leo, the main reasons the Bulldogs are considered a contender to win their first Concorde District championship since 2010.
Apparently, Nick Lottchea is a third Bulldogs arm area teams will need to deal with this spring.
The sophomore left-hander struck out seven over five scoreless innings on Saturday, permitting just two hits in a 5-0 win over Falls Church a day after Clancy fanned six in three innings in a 12-0 season-opening win over T.C. Williams. Leo is lined up to make his first start of 2019 tomorrow against Hayfield.
Jason Cheifetz and Travis Bee each tossed two scoreless innings in relief in the wins, and Westfield’s deep staff has coach Rob Hahne’s club off to a fast start as it prepares for a rugged district schedule. The Bulldogs entered the Northern Virginia Top 10 Poll this week for the first time since midway through the 2017 season, and look to have good balance both on the mound and at the plate, were they’ve gotten second baseman Jake Hockett and center fielder Derek Furr back from injuries.
No. 3 Eagles Gain Split Over Grueling 7-day, 4-game Stretch
Freedom-South Riding is just 2-2 after tonight’s 8-7 loss at No. 1 Battlefield, but the No. 3 Eagles have shown they are prepared to take the field with anyone as they eye a return to the Class 5 state tournament.
Over a seven-day stretch, Freedom split four games to begin its season. Coach Mark Wrighte’s club went on the road last week and outlasted Loudoun Valley, 2-0, in nine innings before beating then-No. 4 Riverside, 7-5, on Thursday. The Eagles dropped a 12-8 decision to visiting Liberty Christian Academy, one of the state’s top private school teams, on Saturday before losing on a walk-off wild pitch tonight in Haymarket.
Things don’t get much easier, as they’ll likely face Virginia Tech recruit Nick Lockhart tomorrow in another non-league test before beginning their Potomac District schedule next week. Freedom saw another Virginia Tech-bound pitcher in Michael Grupe for six innings in the win over Loudoun Valley, and then there’s the matter of Potomac Falls’ Nate Savino that they’ll have to contend with at some point this spring.
Stafford Wins Season-Opening Commonwealth District Tournament
In response to last year’s tournament being rained out, the Commonwealth District administrators decided to hold its championship event at the beginning of the season. That said, Stafford might very well be the first district champion crowned in March in state high school baseball history.
The Indians (2-0) edged Colonial Forge, 2-1, in Thursday’s semifinals before getting five-plus innings from Robbie Baker and clutch relief work from Tucker Sullivan and Joe Tolson in a 1-0 win over rival North Stafford (2-1) in Friday’s final.
Baker fanned seven and scattered two hits before Sullivan came on to fan five straight Wolverine batters and Tolson recorded the final out. Logan Steigerwald scored on a ground out by Jimmy Baker in the second inning to provide what would be the game’s lone run.
Photo of Nate Savino courtesy of Potomac Falls Baseball