The Mag’s 2019 College Summer All-Star Team

September 1 - The magazine’s third annual College Summer All-Star Team consists of a 25-man roster of players hailing from Northern Virginia. 

This year’s team is led by Matt Thomas, who hit .366 with 43 RBI and led the Bethesda Big Train to the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League championship. He’s joined in our starting lineup by seven other players who hit over .300 this summer: Watertown Rapids catcher George Rosales (.352), Alexandria Aces first baseman and outfielder Scotty Morgan (.319), Charlottesville TomSox second baseman Trey McDyre (.325), Vermont Mountaineers shortstop Austin Gauthier (.301), Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts third baseman Lucas Donlon (.300), FCA Braves outfielder Jordan Ebersole (.311) and New Market Rebels outfielder Jonah Seagears (.306). 

FCA Braves right-hander Jack Cone, who led the CRCBL with a 2.70 ERA, and Alexandria Aces right-hander Jared Lyons (2.85 ERA, 45 K’s) anchor the rotation, with the bullpen paced by two relievers with who had sub-2.00 ERAs this summer - the D.C. Grays’ Magnus Ellerts and Matsu Miners’ Owen Lamon. 

The 25 players selected come from 17 different teams in eight leagues - the Alaska Baseball League, CRCBL, Cape Cod League, Coastal Plain League, New England Collegiate Baseball League, Northwoods League, Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League and the Valley Baseball League.

Here are this year’s selections:

Catcher: George Rosales, Watertown Rapids - The Briar Woods grad hit .352 with a .510 on-base percentage, one homer and 12 RBI in 23 games in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. Had a 13-game hitting streak in July and finished with seven multi-hit games. Entering his sophomore year at Fairleigh Dickinson University. 

First Base: Scotty Morgan, Alexandria Aces - The Woodbridge grad was a first-team All-Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League selection after hitting .319 with a .434 on-base percentage and a league-high nine home runs along with 29 RBI in 36 regular season games. Had a 16-game hitting streak in June and into early July and finished with nine multi-hit games. Entering his junior year at George Mason University. 

Second Base: Trey McDyre, Charlottesville TomSox - The Loudoun Valley grad hit .325 with a .424 on-base percentage and helped the TomSox reach the Valley Baseball League championship series. Had a five-hit game in June, finished with 39 hits and 19 RBI in 32 regular season games. Entering his senior year at Liberty University. 

Shortstop: Austin Gauthier, Vermont Mountaineers - The South County grad hit .301 with a .406 on-base percentage, 14 extra-base hits and 18 RBI in 43 regular season games while earning New England Collegiate Baseball League All-Star honors. Had 17 multi-hit games, five contests with three hits, and finished tied for eighth in doubles (11), tied for 13th in the league in hits (50) and tied for third in walks (39). Entering his junior year at Hofstra University. 

Third Base: Lucas Donlon, Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts - The Georgetown Prep grad and McLean resident was one of the top rising freshmen in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, hitting .300 with a .376 on-base percentage and 12 RBI in 25 regular season games. He was even better in the playoffs, hitting .368 with three homes and five RBI in five games as the Thunderbolts reached the league championship series. Entering his freshman year at Virginia Tech. 

Outfield: Hunter Gore, Wilson Tobs - The Loudoun Valley grad hit .223 with a .374 on-base percentage, seven homers and 35 RBI in 43 games in the Coastal Plain League. Also had 11 doubles and his 32 walks were tied for seventh in the league. Entering his redshirt junior year at the University of Mount Olive. 

Outfield: Jordan Ebersole, FCA Braves - The Madison grad hit .311 with a 419 on-base percentage, four homers and 14 RBI in 25 regular season games in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. Was 4-for-5 with two homers and five RBI in a win over the Alexandria Aces on July 13. Entering his senior year at the Virginia Military Institute. 

Outfield: Jonah Seagears, New Market Rebels - The Battlefield grad hit .306 with a .428 on-base percentage, three homers and 18 RBI and finished second in the Valley League in steals (21) and tied for eighth in runs (32). Had 13 multi-hit games, including five straight at one point in June. Entering his sophomore year at Virginia Tech. 

Designated Hitter: Scout Knotts, North Adams SteepleCats - The South County grad hit .296 with a .388 on-base percentage, nine doubles, two homers and 26 RBI in 41 games for his New England Collegiate Baseball League club. Had 13 multi-hit games, including five straight at one point in early July. Entering his junior year at Shippensburg University. 

Utility: Matt Thomas, Bethesda Big Train - A first-team all-league selection and the playoff MVP after helping the Big Train win the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League title, the Lake Braddock grad led the CRCBL in RBI (43) and was second in hits (45) and third in batting average (.366) during the regular season. Had an 11-game hitting streak in July and finished with 16 multi-hit games. Hit .417 in the postseason and a go-ahead three-run homer in the deciding game of the league championship series. Entering his sophomore year at the College of William & Mary. 

Reserves: Lyle Miller Green, OF/1B, Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts; Michael Ludowig, OF, Harwich Mariners; Anthony Stehlin, UTL, Edenton Steamers; Parker Denny, 1B, Newark Pilots … Notes: Miller-Green (Lake Braddock/George Mason) joined the CRCBL team late after helping the Bruins win the VHSL Class 6 state title, hitting .313 with a .380 on-base percentage and nine RBI in 18 games …  Ludowig (Briar Woods/Wake Forest) hit .256 in 28 regular season games, then batted .375 in the Cape Cod League postseason … Stehlin (Forest Park/Concord) hit .273 with a .366 on-base percentage, 3 homers and 25 RBI in 44 games in the Coastal Plain League … Denny (Yorktown/Seton Hill) hit .239 with a .359 on-base percentage, three homers and 18 RBI in 33 games during the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League’s regular season.

Starting Pitcher: Jack Cone, RHP, FCA Braves - The South County grad went 3-2 with a league-best 2.70 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 36.2 innings. Had a 14.1-inning scoreless streak to begin the summer, and allowed two runs or less in four of his six starts. Also earned two saves while making three relief appearances and the versatile player hit .210 with a .320 on-base percentage and two homers in 62 at-bats. Entering his sophomore year at the College of William & Mary. 

Other Starting Pitchers: Jared Lyons, RHP, Alexandria Aces; Antonio Menendez, Harwich Mariners; Marty Tolson Jr., Rochester Honkers … Notes: Lyons (West Springfield/George Mason) recorded a 2.85 ERA with 45 strikeouts - both ranked second in the CRCBL - in 28.1 innings over his eight starts … Menendez (Herndon/Wake Forest) came on strong late after shifting from the bullpen and was one of the Cape Cod League’s top starters down the stretch, finishing with a 3.72 ERA in 29 innings during the regular season and tossing six scoreless innings in his lone postseason start … Tolson (Stafford/Maryland-Eastern Shore) went 5-2 with a 3.63 ERA in 52 innings for his Northwoods League club.

Relief Pitchers: Nick Stewart, RHP, Harwich Mariners; Jack Nathan, LHP, FCA Braves; Jack Weeks, LHP, Bethesda Big Train; Magnus Ellerts, RHP, D.C. Grays; Owen Lamon, RHP, Matsu Miners; Kevin Ledford, RHP, Winchester Royals … Notes: Stewart (Rock Ridge/James Madison) had 32 strikeouts and recorded three saves, compiling a 4.68 ERA in 25 innings for the Cape Cod League club … Nathan (South Lakes/High Point) posted a 3.29 ERA over 27.1 innings in 10 appearances … Weeks (Paul VI Catholic/Georgetown) compiled a 3.05 ERA in 17.2 innings over 12 relief outings … Ellerts (Woodbrdge/Harford CC), a rising freshman, had a 1.45 ERA with two saves and 18 strikeouts in 12.1 innings over 11 outings … Lamon (Oakton/Georgetown) posted a 1.84 ERA in 14.2 innings over 15 relief appearances with his Alaska Baseball League club … Ledford (North Stafford/Roanoke) posted a 4.50 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 20 innings and ranked second in the Valley Baseball League with five saves.

Marshall’s Tarr Hired as Assistant at Georgetown

August 20 - Aaron Tarr, who led Marshall to six straight league championships and to the VHSL Class 5 state final in 2015, has stepped down to take a position as an assistant coach at Georgetown University. 

The hire was made official on Friday, though Georgetown has not made a formal announcement. 

Tarr, 39, has overseen one of the area’s most-consistent programs this decade. Since he took the reigns prior to the 2013 season, the Statesmen have gone 116-49, winning 70 percent of their games and averaging 16.6 wins per season. They have won the past six National District championships, and have lost just two games against league foes over that stretch. 

“I loved the Marshall community and [director of student activities] Joe Swarm, but the opportunity to continue to learn and grow as a coach under Pete Wilk at Georgetown was too great to pass up,” Tarr said this morning. “I loved my seniors - one of my favorite groups - but had to consider my future and family in making this career decision.”

His 2015 team, led by NOVA Nine Team selection Mitch Blackstone and featuring four future Division I pitchers, advanced to the North Region and Class 5 state championship games before falling on both occasions to Stone Bridge.

Tarr played collegiately at Division III Hamilton College in New York and has spent 13 seasons as a high school coach, previously serving for three years as the junior varsity coach at his alma mater, Yorktown, and then a varsity assistant at Marshall. He has also coached with the FCA Braves in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, with the Marucci Stars travel program and currently oversees the Cadets travel program.

At Georgetown, he will work with the team’s hitters and outfielders at a program that went 22-34 overall and 7-11 in the Big East Conference this past spring under longtime coach Pete Wilk. A number of area players will return to the Hoyas in 2020, including three juniors: infielder Yareb Martinez (Champe), catcher Ryan Davis (Oakton) and right-hander Owen Lamon (Oakton); and two sophomores: left-hander Jack Weeks (Paul VI Catholic) and right-hander Carter Bosch (Potomac School). 

Marshall’s vacancy has not yet been posted on the Fairfax County Public Schools website. 

Photo of Aaron Tarr by Jim Halling

Note: Data below views as table on desktop or if handheld device is flipped horizontally.

Top 10 Public School Programs Northern Virginia's Best Winning Percentages (2014-19)
School W-L Pct
Madison 118-28 .808
Kettle Run 100-30 .769
Marshall 106-34 .757
Loudoun Valley 103-34-1 .746
Battlefield 106-37 .741
Lake Braddock 108-38 .740
Patriot 96-36 .727
Potomac 108-41 .725
Stone Bridge 104-42 .712
West Springfield 107-44 .709
Note: Records since 2014, when VHSL went to six classifications. Study does not include schools that opened after 2014.

Mary Washington Hires Westminster's Swiney as Next Coach

August 15 - Kelly Swiney, who spent the past two seasons as the head coach at Division III Westminster College, has been hired in the same capacity at Mary Washington. 

The interview process wrapped earlier this month and the school’s sports information office wrote via email this morning that Swiney’s hire would become official once his background check has been completed.

Swiney, who led Westminster to a 30-35 record in his two seasons at the New Wilmington, PA school, previously went 201-143 as the head coach from 2009-17 at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA. In 2013, his Allegheny team advanced to the North Coast Athletic Conference championship game. 

He has guided teams to winning campaigns in nine of his 11 seasons as a head coach. 

Mary Washington went 15-22 overall and 7-14 in the Capital Athletic Conference this spring in the final season under Wayne Riser, who was 147-117-1 in his seven years at the Fredericksburg school. Riser led the Eagles to five winning campaigns and appearances in the national Top 25 poll during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. 

Swiney becomes the third coach in program history.

Tom Sheridan led Mary Washington to a 579-275-4 record and 11 NCAA Tournament appearances in his 25 seasons from 1988-2012. The Eagles have averaged 22.7 victories and have a .646 winning percentage in the program’s 32 seasons. 

Photo of Kelly Swiney courtesy of Westminster Athletics

College Notebook: Thomas’ Homer Caps Big Summer With Big Train

August 5 - Matt Thomas hit a three-run homer to spark a late rally in last week’s deciding Game 3 of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League championship series as the Bethesda Big Train won its fourth consecutive title. 

Thomas, a member of the 2018 NOVA Nine Team as a senior at Lake Braddock and a rising sophomore at William & Mary, launched a one-strike offering over the left field wall to draw the Big Train to within 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning against the visiting Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts. Bethesda would score three more times to provide the final 6-4 margin. 

The homer came in the final at-bat of a productive summer for Thomas, who hit .370 with 51 hits, nine doubles and 48 RBI in 41 games. During the regular season, he led the CRCBL in RBI (43), was second in hits (45), third in average (.366) and tied for eighth in doubles (7). The Big Train (34-8) are tied for sixth in the Collegiate Summer Baseball Record Top 25 ranking of the top teams from the country’s 32 summer collegiate leagues. 

Also finishing among the CRCBL offensive leaders was Alexandria Aces outfielder Scotty Morgan (Woodbridge), who connected on a league-high nine home runs while hitting .314 with 29 RBI. FCA Braves right-hander Jack Cone (South County) went 3-2 and led all qualifying pitchers with a 2.70 ERA in 36.2 innings. His 44 strikeouts ranked third, just behind Aces righty Jared Lyons (West Springfield), who finished second with 45 strikeouts and a 2.85 ERA in 28.1 innings. 

McDyre Helps Charlottesville Reach VBL Championship Series

Trey McDyre (Loudoun Valley) had eight RBI over six playoff games to help the Charlottesville TomSox reach the best-of-three Valley Baseball League championship series against the Strasburg Express. 

A rising senior infielder at Liberty, McDyre hit .325 with 39 hits, five doubles, three homers and 19 RBI in 32 regular season games. In Charlottesville’s semifinal series with the Staunton Braves, he had three hits in a 9-7 win in Game 2 and drove in two runs in a 10-2 win in the deciding Game 3. 

The championship series opened tonight in Strasburg. Game 2 is tomorrow in Charlottesville, with a Game 3 if necessary back in Strasburg on Thursday. 

Trio of Ludowig, Menendez, Stewart Hope to Get Harwich to Championship Series in Cape Cod

The Harwich Mariners are one win from reaching the Cape Cod League championship series, and three area players have played a role during the postseason run. 

Michael Ludowig (Briar Woods), the 2017 NOVA Nine Player of the Year, drew a walk and had a stolen base in Harwich’s 5-1 win over Yarmouth-Dennis last night in Game 1 of their best-of-three semifinal series. The outfielder is hitting .256 with 23 hits in 28 games. 

Ludowig’s teammate at Wake Forest, sidearmer Antonio Menendez (Herndon), struck out seven over six scoreless innings as the Mariners completed a two-game sweep of Chatham with a 4-2 win on Saturday. Menendez has posted a 3.09 ERA with 32 strikeouts to 10 walks in 35 innings this summer. 

Nick Stewart (Rock Ridge) pitched two innings of relief behind Menendez on Saturday, and the James Madison right-hander has posted a 4.67 ERA with 34 strikeouts to nine walks in 27 innings. 

Sponsor: The magazine’s College Notebook is sponsored by the R&D Baseball Academy in Herndon. For more information on the academy, visit

Photos of, clockwise from left, Matt Thomas by Mark Briscoe, Trey McDyre courtesy of Charlottesville TomSox and Antonio Menendez courtesy of Harwich Mariners

College Notebook: Harwich's Menendez Hits Stride in Cape Cod League

July 15 - After a rough first outing in the Cape Cod League, Antonio Melendez rebounded and has posted consecutive quality starts for the Harwich Mariners. 

The Herndon graduate, a rising junior at Wake Forest, scattered five hits and allowed one run over 6.1 innings in Harwich’s 2-0 loss to the Cotuit Kettleers on Thursday. In his previous start, he scattered two hits while striking out eight and walking one in six innings in a 6-4 win over the Brewster Whitecaps on July 4. 

Menendez enters the day having compiled a 3.43 ERA with 18 strikeouts to five walks in 18.1 innings. The right-hander, who throws from a sidearm angle, has surrendered just three runs over 17.1 innings after surrendering four in one frame in his debut on June 10 against the Falmouth Commodores. 

Two of Menendez’ teammates with Harwich, James Madison right-hander Nick Stewart (Rock Ridge) and Wake Forest outfielder Michael Ludowig (Briar Woods), have had mixed results this summer.  

Stewart has flashed the ability that has enabled him to post a 2.79 ERA in 135.1 innings over his two seasons with the Dukes - recording 19 strikeouts to just two walks - but two rough outings has ballooned his ERA to 6.75 in 14.2 innings. Ludowig cooled off after a fast start, but the 2017 NOVA Nine Player of the Year may be heating up again after going 3-for-7 in two games over the weekend. He’s hitting .250 in 64 at-bats. 

Three other pitchers from Northern Virginia, William & Mary’s Wade Strain (Lake Braddock) and Chris Farrell (Flint Hill) and Virginia’s Kyle Whitten (Osbourn Park) have struggled in the nation’s premier summer collegiate league. Strain was released by Harwich after just one outing, permitting four runs (three earned) on seven hits over four innings in a 4-1 loss to Bourne on June 17. Whitten is 0-1 with a 11.57 ERA and eight strikeouts to 10 walks in 11.2 innings with Hyannis, and Farrell is 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA and 11 strikeouts to 17 walks in 15 innings with Cotuit. 

Big Train’s Colangelo Inducted With Inaugural Cal Ripken League Hall of Fame

Sal Colangelo, a 1991 graduate of Potomac who later played at Virginia Tech, was inducted last week as one of the five members in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League’s inaugural class. 

Since being hired as the manager of the Big Train in 2005, he has guided the league’s premier club to five outright championships and a share of two others. He entered the day with a 430-176 record as Bethesda’s manager. 

Colangelo, who set a Potomac single-season record with 52 stolen bases en route to second-team All-Met honors by The Washington Post in 1991, served as an assistant at Christopher Newport University and then with the Panthers and Big Train from 1999-2004. 

Also inducted were the league’s two co-founders, Bruce Adams and Dean Albany, as as well as current Major Leaguers Brett Cecil and Brian Dozier. Cecil, who attended Maryland, played with the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts in 2005 and was a first-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2007. He’s currently in his 10th year in the big leagues as a pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals. Dozier, the Washington Nationals’ second baseman, played with the Big Train in 2006 following his freshman year at Southern Mississippi. 

Madison Grad Cassady Hired as Assistant at Roanoke

Cam Cassady, a 2009 graduate of Madison, was hired earlier this month as an assistant coach at Roanoke College. 

Cassady has spent the past four seasons as an assistant at Richmond’s Benedictine, which has won the pasty two Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division I state championships. He played for two seasons at Roanoke, hitting .307 in 65 games in 2013-14. 

Roanoke was 21-18 this spring under coach Matt McGuire, fielding a roster with 16 players from Northern Virginia schools. The Maroons won the Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship and advanced to the Division III College World Series in 2018. 

Sponsor: The magazine’s College Notebook is sponsored by the R&D Baseball Academy in Herndon. For more information on the academy, visit

Photos of, clockwise from left, Antonio Menendez courtesy of Harwich Mariners, Sal Colangelo by Mark Briscoe and Cam Cassady courtesy of Benedictine Baseball

Cone's Versatility Key as Braves Push for CRCBL Playoff Seeding

July 13 - When Chris Warren secured Jack Cone for his FCA Braves roster this summer, he knew the former South County standout would fill multiple roles. 

Cone has done that and more, and the William & Mary outfielder and right-handed pitcher was recognized by being named to the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League’s All-Star Game earlier this week. 

The 5-foot-11, 165-pound rising sophomore enters tonight’s game against the Alexandria Aces second in the league with a 1.78 ERA, carrying a 2-1 record with 31 strikeouts in 26 innings. He picked up a two-inning save while going 2-for-3 with a solo home run in last night’s 6-2 win over the D.C. Grays and had his longest outing last Sunday, when he allowed one run and scattered two hits over 5.2 innings in the Braves’ 3-2 win over the Aces. 

“He’s pitching really well. He’s been very good so far, very efficient on the mound and obviously his numbers speak for themselves,” said Warren, who points at Cone’s athleticism as an added bonus defensively. “He’s very versatile, and he makes your defense so much better. It’s like having another infielder.”

That versatility doesn’t end on the mound. The left-handed swinging Cone has started games in right and center field and at designated hitter. At the plate, he’s hitting .232 with a .338 on-base percentage, two home runs and eight RBI in 56 at-bats.

“He’s been one of our bright spots this year, for sure,” Warren said. “After he starts, we give him a day off and integrate him back in slowly. It’s just a question of balancing the work-load on his body between pitching and playing in the field.”

Cone is no stranger to pulling double-duty, having hit .241 with 12 extra-base hits and 22 RBI in 191 at-bats while making six appearances on the mound as a freshman with the Tribe this spring. As a senior at South County in 2018, he set a school-record by hitting .493 with five homers and 20 RBI while going 4-3 with a 3.12 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 38 innings. 

He was joined at Wednesday’s All-Star Game by two teammates who also hail from area schools in High Point left-hander Jack Nathan (South Lakes) and Virginia Military Institute outfielder Jordan Ebersole (Madison). Other area players named to the Virginia/D.C. team for the All-Star Game were George Mason right-hander and infielder Jared Lyons (West Springfield) and George Mason outfielder Scotty Morgan (Woodbridge) from the Alexandria Aces and Magnus Ellerts (Woodbridge), a rising freshman at Harford Community College who is pitching for the D.C. Grays. 

Area players named to the Maryland team for the game were William & Mary catcher/outfielder Matt Thomas (Lake Braddock), Georgetown lefty Jack Weeks (Paul VI Catholic) and Liberty pitcher Logan Barker (Colonial Forge). 

The fifth-place Braves (12-17) enter tonight on a three-game winning streak and trail the Gaithersburg Giants (13-16) by a game and the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts (14-14) by 2.5 games with 10 days left in the league’s 40-game regular season. The Bethesda Big Train (23-6) and Grays (16-16) top the CRCBL standings, with the Aces (9-18) in last place.

All six teams will make the postseason, with the top two receiving byes to the best-of three semifinal round.

Photo of Jack Cone by Mark Briscoe

Junior College Route Opening Division I Doors for Northern Virginia Players

July 2 - Danny Hosley collected a number of postseason honors as a senior at Langley, but figured his baseball career might be over when he wasn’t offered an opportunity to walk on at the University of Northern Colorado.

After a semester out west, Hosley realized he missed the game and wanted to pursue college baseball. He started reaching out to those who might be able to help, including Kevin Healy, his coach at Langley who now serves in the same capacity at Washington-Lee. 

An opportunity presented itself at Patrick Henry Community College, and the former 6A North Region Player of the Year, NOVA Nine Team member and first-team Class 6 all-state selection transferred to the Martinsville school over the winter of 2017-18. 

“I just missed the competition,” Hosley said. “I missed that group you’re friends with and around 24 hours a day, working and grinding. Getting to Patrick Henry, Coach Healy played a very big part in that. He told me about the school and how they’d have an opportunity for me.”

Given a chance to play both ways, the versatile Hosley caught, pitched and played the infield for the Patriots. He did everything well enough over his two seasons - hitting a combined .338 in 157 at-bats and going 7-1 with a 2.83 ERA and 137 strikeouts in 105 innings - to receive interest from a few Division I schools. 

In May, he accepted a scholarship offer from Norfolk State, where he’ll be joined by two Patrick Henry teammates also hailing from area schools in Dylan Flint (Osbourn) and Jack Howell (Patriot). 

They are among the latest players from Northern Virginia who have attended junior colleges before moving on to Division I programs. Two years ago, Jett Manning (Battlefield) transferred to Alabama after two seasons at Maryland’s Frederick Community College, then was drafted last June by the San Francisco Giants. This past spring, Brett Norwood (Chantilly) had an All-Atlantic 10 Conference season at Virginia Commonwealth after two seasons at South Florida State College. 

Madison assistant coach T.J. Ehrsam also benefited from time spent at a two-year school after his prep career with the Warhawks didn’t net the Division I offers he was hoping for. After hitting .420 in his second season at Louisburg, one of the country’s top junior colleges located just outside of Raleigh, N.C., Ehrsam went on to lead the Colonial Athletic Association in stolen bases as a senior at Hofstra in 2014. 

“I was chasing a dream,” Ehrsam said. “Playing [at Louisburg] really helped me with my development. There were a couple Division I schools that were interested in me, but I probably would have sat a couple years before getting an opportunity. I got to play those two years where I would have been sitting if I had gone to a four-year school. And I also was fortunate to go to one of the better jucos in the country, which really helped to prepare me.” 

Hosley, along with Brett Stallings (West Springfield) and Tyler Solomon (Battlefield), headline a crop of area players who hope the time at two-year schools has prepared them for their next step in the game. Stallings, a middle infielder who helped West Springfield to the Class 6 state championship a year ago, is transferring to Virginia Tech after hitting .327 in 47 games in his lone campaign at Frederick. Solomon, who helped the Bobcats reach the state final in 2016, spent one season apiece at Vanderbilt and then at Florida SouthWestern State College before recently committing to transfer to William & Mary. 

“It’s prepared me well for college baseball. It introduced me to the grind, the amount of games you play, weekend series, and those are all a big change from high school,” said Hosley, who caught Saturday games and started Sunday games on the mound this spring. “I’ve been able to get bigger and stronger and play against good competition. I think sometimes people sleep on junior colleges, but it gives you a chance to see what’s out there and play against guys who are also going to be at D1 schools.”

The junior college route isn’t a new concept - Paul VI Catholic coach Billy Emerson and Battlefield coach Jay Burkhart attended two-year schools before transferring into George Mason, and Centreville coach Scott Rowland took the same path before landing at George Washington - but it’s become more popular among area players in recent years. 

One reason for that has been Virginia allowing its community colleges to begin fielding NJCAA teams earlier this decade, which has established recruiting ties between high school or travel team coaches and in-state junior college programs such as Patrick Henry, Bryant & Stratton and Paul D. Camp. Longer standing pipelines continue to send players into Maryland at programs such as Frederick, Montgomery, Rockville, Chesapeake and Harford.

While that path to college baseball isn’t for everyone, it keeps the door open for those willing to bide their time and extend the recruiting process. 

“It really depends on what your priorities are,” said Rowland, who played at Northwest Mississippi Junior College before transferring to play for the Colonials. “Some kids just want to play baseball anywhere regardless of the school or academics. And some kids aren’t like that, they want to go and play baseball at a school they want to go to regardless if they were playing.”

Rowland added that players in bustling areas like the Washington, D.C. metro region have to be ready to adapt to a change of pace at two-year schools. “Most junior colleges are in small towns where there’s not a lot going on,” he said. “I learned to live on my own. It’s a different lifestyle for a Northern Virginia kid to all of a sudden be going to a small town in Mississippi. You just can’t go home because it’s not what you’re used to. I knew I was out of options. 

“I knew I wasn’t getting another opportunity if I didn’t stick with it.”

The route often isn’t not how a player or his parents had envisioned for their college baseball and academic careers. But it allows them the ability to buy some time if their recruitment was affected in high school by common factors such as injuries, academics or physical maturity. 

For some who didn’t get the recruiting attention they had hoped for, simply getting on a college field and producing can erase lingering doubts coaches may have.

“I think at a junior college, you get recruited based on your production vs. your size or your 60 time or how hard you throw,” Rowland said. “I felt it was easier for me that nobody cared about the size issue anymore. I got my academics in order and put up numbers, and I had several opportunities that I never would have gotten out of high school.”

Ehrsam says additional benefits of playing at a two-year school that are often overlooked are academics and financial aid. Many states offer automatic entry into four-year schools should they earn an associate’s degree at a community college, and study habits gained over two years of maturing in college can help a player earn academic grants and scholarships that they wouldn’t have qualified for out of high school. 

“All of my credits transferred into Hofstra, and I got the maximum amount of academic money I could get,” said Ehrsam, who also received athletic scholarship money at the Hempstead, N.Y. school. “So you’re cutting the cost of education and many people don’t see that aspect of it. The problem when talking about jucos isn’t so much the kid as it is his parents because they’re so worried about academics and what potential employers will think of them going to a junior college. What they don’t always understand is that if academics is their concern, they need to consider the automatic entry they’ll qualify for. 

“At the end of the day, it’s not so much where you started college as where you got your degree from.”

Photo of Danny Hosley courtesy of Patrick Henry Athletics

Recruiting Notebook: Warhawks’ Schultz to Pitch at College of Charleston

July 1 - Madison’s Michael Schultz committed last night to pitch at the College of Charleston, Warhawks coach Mark ‘Pudge’ Gjormand announced via his Twitter account. 

A 6-foot-2, 215-pound right-hander, Schultz made 10 relief appearances as a junior this spring for Madison (16-6), going 1-0 with a 1.37 ERA and 13 strikeouts to 12 walks in 15.1 innings. He will be tasked with a larger role on Gjormand’s pitching staff next spring following the graduation of the Warhawks’ top three arms in Matt Howat, Josh Gjormand and Zach Perkins. 

Schultz plays for the Richmond Braves travel program and had his fastball clocked at 89 MPH at the Perfect Game WWBA 17U National Championship in Georgia over the weekend. He will become the fifth Madison pitcher since 2015 to pitch at the Division I level, joining Brian Eckert (Radford), Matt Favero (Brigham Young/George Mason), Jake Nielsen (Brigham Young) and Howat (William & Mary). 

The College of Charleston went 36-21 this past season under coach Chad Holbrook, who was in his second season with the program after spending the previous five years as the head coach at South Carolina. 

Osbourn Park’s Saunders Commits to VMI

Shane Saunders (Osbourn Park), a two-time All-Region 6D outfielder, committed earlier today to play at the Virginia Military Institute. He made his intention to commit to the Keydets via his Twitter account.

Saunders hit .477 with a .596 on-base percentage, 31 hits, 10 extra-base hits, 10 RBI, 27 runs and was 27-for-27 on stolen base attempts this spring.

“Truly excited to announce my commitment to play baseball and further my academic career at [VMI],” Saunders posted on Twitter. “I’m excited to hit the field as a Keydet.”

Battlefield Grad Tyler Solomon Transfers to William & Mary

Tyler Solomon (Battlefield) announced his intention two weeks ago to transfer to the College of William & Mary after one season at Florida Southwestern College, where the 6-foot-5, 225-pound switch-hitting first baseman his .185 with five home runs and 23 RBI in 54 games. 

Solomon was a two-time all-region selection and helped the Bobcats reach the Class 6 state final in 2016. He spent his freshman season at Vanderbilt before transferring to the junior college. At William & Mary, he’ll join a recruiting class that includes three incoming freshmen from local schools in left-handers Matt Howat (Madison) and Brody Mack (Potomac) and infielder Ben Williamson (Freedom-South Riding). 

Eikhoff, Berry Impress on Summer Recruiting Circuit

After decommitting from the University of Virginia last month, right-hander Riley Eikhoff (Patriot) has spent the first half of the summer recruiting circuit gaining the attention of college coaches. 

Last month at the Perfect Game National Showcase at Chase Field in Phoenix, the rising senior had his fastball reach 91 MPH while posting a 6.97 in the 60-yard dash. He topped at the same velocity in his first outing at the Perfect Game WWBA 17U National Championship on Friday in Cartersville, GA, striking out seven over four scoreless innings as his EvoShield Canes National team beat Georgia’s Scoutz USA, 3-2, in their first pool play game. 

Eikhoff was featured in Perfect Game’s scout blog: “He worked with a higher leg kick while keeping his weight on his backside before transitioning into his delivery. Eikhoff hid the ball well from a high three-quarters arm slot while working both sides of the plate. His fastball sat 88-90 while touching 91 with some arm-side run. He also worked with a slider-type curveball that sat in the upper-70s that showed little depth but great 2-8 run with a good changeup in the lower-80s that had late break.”

Jake Berry (Bishop O’Connell) has also impressed this summer with his Richmond Braves National team. The 6-foot-10, 230-pound lefty, a Virginia recruit, also topped at 91 at the National Showcase in Arizona last week. He was up to 86 over scoreless innings in Friday’s 2-0 win over Antonelli Baseball from Massachusetts and was also highlighted in Perfect Game’s scout blog. 

“[Berry] did not quite have the same velocity as he showed in Phoenix, but the overall projection and the noted velocity that has been shown in recent memory is definitely noteworthy,” the blog noted. “His extension on the mound as well as his ability to create an extremely steep plane to the plate makes him a tough lefty arm to go up against as a hitter.”

Photos of, clockwise from Madison’s Michael Schultz by Albert Jacquez, Riley Eikhoff courtesy of EvoShield Canes, and Tyler Solomon courtesy of Florida Southwestern Athletics

Auxiliary Nines: The Magazine's 2019 Collegiate Nine

June 27 - Brett Norwood’s grandfather would be proud. 

Norwood, who helped Chantilly to the Class 6 state championship in 2016, was an all-conference selection following his sophomore year at South Florida State College and continued that success in his first season after transferring to Virginia Commonwealth. 

The grandson of late legendary Washington-Lee coach Del Norwood won the starting job at third base, then became an All-Atlantic 10 Conference performer in his first season at the Richmond school. The left-handed swinging Norwood was one of the Rams’ top offensive threats as they went 39-19, tying for the team lead with six home runs and leading the club with 25 stolen bases (in 25 chances). 

He made just six errors in his 54 games and had hitting streaks of 11 and 13 games. 

Norwood is joined on the magazine’s Collegiate Nine by East Carolina’s Jake Agnos (East Carolina), Shepherd’s Brenton Doyle (Kettle Run), George Mason’s Logan Drisoll (Lake Braddock), Xavier’s Conor Grammes (McLean), Tusculum’s Charles Hall (Forest Park), Randolph-Macon’s Michael Nickles (Colonial Forge), and James Madison’s Kyle Novak (Madison) and Fox Semones (C.D. Hylton). 

The Auxiliary Nines are part of our NOVA Nine Team series honoring the top players from Northern Virginia. The series is sponsored by The St. James in Springfield. 

Here’s a look at this year’s selections: 

Jake Agnos, Junior, East Carolina - The left-hander from Battlefield was named the American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year after leading the Pirates to a second straight NCAA Tournament appearance. He went 11-3 with a 2.29 ERA and earned first-team All-America honors by Collegiate Baseball, setting school and conference single-season records for strikeouts with 145. He was drafted in the fourth round by the New York Yankees and has signed a professional contract. Was a member of the NOVA Nine Team in 2015 and 2016, when he was our Player of the Year. 

Brenton Doyle, Junior, Shepherd - A two-time Division II All-America selection, the Kettle Run graduate hit .392 with 13 home runs, 42 RBI and 19 steals in 52 games and was named the Mountain East Conference Player of the Year. The outfielder was drafted in the fourth round by the Colorado Rockies earlier this month and has signed a professional contract. Was a member of the 2016 NOVA Nine Team. 

Logan Driscoll, Junior, George Mason - The Lake Braddock product earned his second straight first-team All-Atlantic 10 Conference selection after hitting .343 with nine homers and 33 RBI in 42 games. The catcher became the Patriots’ highest-ever draft pick earlier this month, when he was taken 73rd overall by the San Diego Padres. He has sign a professional contract. 

Conor Grammes, Junior, Xavier - A first-team All-Big East Conference selection, the McLean graduate was a two-way standout for the Musketeers and was selected as a pitcher in the fifth round by Arizona earlier this month. He was 5-5 with  3.95 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 68.1 innings and hit .330 with 14 doubles, eight homers and 28 RBI in 58 games. Has signed a professional contract. 

Charles Hall, Senior, Tusculum - The Forest Park grad emerged in his final collegiate season, going 6-3 with a 2.31 ERA and leading all Division II pitchers with 148 strikeouts over his 89.2 innings. He set a national D2 single-game record with 22 strikeouts in a 10-2 win over Queens University of Charlotte in Mar. 15. Was drafted by Oakland in the 33rd round and has signed a professional contract. 

Michael Nickles, Junior, Randolph-Macon - The third baseman, one of three brothers who played at Colonial Forge that are now suiting up for the Yellow Jackets, was named the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Player of the Year. He hit .358 with a .461 on-base percentage, 24 extra-base hits - including seven homers - with 43 RBI and 10 steals in 38 games. 

Brett Norwood, Junior, Virginia Commonwealth - Transferred in after two junior college seasons and the Chantilly product made an immediate impact, winning the Rams’ starting job at third base and going on to earn second-team All-Atlantic 10 Conference honors. He hit .310 with a .427 on-base percentage - drawing 30 walks and getting hit by a pitch 14 times - with 11 doubles, six home runs, 37 RBI and 25 steals. 

Kyle Novak, Freshman, James Madison - A third-team All-Colonial Athletic Association pick and member of the league’s All-Rookie Team, the Madison graduate hit .303 with a .389 on-base percentage, 11 extra-base hits and 28 RBI in 55 games. Struck out just 18 times in 188 at-bats. Was a member of the NOVA Nine Team last year, when he was named our Player of the Year. 

Fox Semones, Junior, James Madison - A graduate of C.D. Hylton, he earned first-team All-Colonial Athletic Association honors as a utility player after starting at multiple positions in the infield and outfield for the Dukes. He hit .257 with a .371 on-base percentage, 14 extra-base hits, 30 RBI and 14 steals while starting 56 of 57 games. Was a member of the 2016 NOVA Nine Team. 

Photo of Brett Norwood courtesy of VCU Athletics

Camp Hired as Pitching Coach at George Mason

June 27 - Shawn Camp was officially hired this morning as the pitching coach at George Mason University, where he pitched for three seasons in the mid-1990s before an 11-year Major League career. 

Camp, 43, was a 16th round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 1997 and would go on to pitch for Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Toronto, the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia before retiring following the 2014 season. He has spent the past five seasons as the pitching coach at Battlefield High School. 

“I am excited for the opportunity to give back to the same program that started my journey,” Camp said when reached early this afternoon. “I’ve known [Patriots coach Bill] Brown my entire life and to be able to coach alongside him brings a lot of excitement to me and my family.

“I feel the Northern Virginia and surrounding areas are full of incredible baseball talent. To have the ability to not let those players get out of this area and join an amazing university is an amazing feeling. I’m looking forward to bright things ahead for Mason baseball.”

Added Brown, in a release by the school: “I am incredibly excited to have Shawn coming back home, it is a great day for Mason baseball. He has a passion for teaching the art of pitching and his impact will be obvious from day one with our pitching staff.”

Camp, a graduate of Robinson, appeared in 541 games as a relief pitcher in the big leagues, leading baseball with 80 appearances with the Cubs in 2012. While at George Mason, he set the record for strikeouts per nine innings (9.21), which still stands, and is among the program’s leaders in several other categories. 

“He is not far removed from playing and will do and outstanding job connecting with his players,” said longtime MLB reliever Javier Lopez, a teammate of Camp’s at Robinson, in George Mason’s release. “He knows the area very well and he has a strong baseball acumen. He has tremendous energy and will do an outstanding job.”

Camp currently operates the Shawn Camp Pitching Academy and serves in leadership capacities with the Marucci Stars travel program and the Complete Game Sports & Fitness facility in Manassas. Current George Mason pitching coach Brian Pugh will shift to a new role as the program’s recruiting coordinator. 

“His credentials bring immediate credibility in the baseball world and his addition to our staff instantly changes the trajectory of Mason baseball,” Brown said. 

Photo of Shawn Camp by Fred Ingham