Commonwealth Games Preview: North Seeks 9th Gold Medal in 10 Years


July 19 - The North team will be seeking its ninth Gold Medal in 10 years at this weekend’s Commonwealth Games held at Liberty University in Lynchburg.

The team had to make two late roster changes when St. John’s right-hander and shortstop James Triantos and Page County lefty T.R. Williams, who would have been two of the North’s top arms, informed coach Mike Covington earlier this week that they’d be unable to attend. Covington quickly tabbed replacements in Forest Park shortstop Griffin Boone, who recently committed to Virginia Commonwealth University, and Centreville right-hander Eric Bohenek, who is likely to start tonight’s opener against the East. 

Boone joins middle infielders Ryan Dooley (South Lakes) and Blake Fisher (Highland School), while Bohenek joins a staff heavy on right-handers. That group includes Joe Vogatsky (Kettle Run), who could throw in relief and be available to start Sunday’s medal game, as well as Teddy Merritt (McLean), Nathan Knowles (Yorktown) and Wyatt Shenkman (Riverside). Two from the trio of Merritt, Knowles and Shenkman will start the North’s games tomorrow against the Central and West. 

Eddie Eisert (Bishop O’Connell) and Tre Williams (South County) will be the starters on the infield’s corners, with Thomas Trinca (Centreville), Nick Lottchea (Westfield) and Ben Thomas (Potomac) starting in the outfield. The North’s catchers are Nathan Cmeyla (Briar Woods), Tristan Gordon (Page County) and Braden Mack (Potomac). Mack, Eisert, Fisher and Williams will also be available in relief. 

“I think our overall team speed is good, and I think we have a good lineup even though I’m disappointed Triantos is not in the middle of it,” Covington said. “But Griffin is a very good player and Cmeyla was our 4-hole last year and we’ll plug him right back in there. I think ultimately our weekend will go how our pitching goes.”

The North’s roster includes seven players committed to Division I programs, with several others expected to make their college decision soon. Over two dozen colleges are expected to be represented at the tournament this weekend. 

Also fielding a deep lineup will be the Central, which features a recent North Carolina commit in Powhatan’s Brandon Eike, a two-way threat on the mound and as a middle infielder. While playing for his EvoShield Canes travel team, Eike was the winning pitcher earlier this month in the championship game at the Perfect Game WWBA 17U National Championship in Georgia. He was the Central’s top hitter and winning pitcher in the bronze medal game at last year’s Commonwealth Games. 

Midlothian’s Christian Chambers and James River’s Will Riley will also hit in the middle of coach Bill Pelot’s lineup. Chambers has committed to James Madison and Riley to the Virginia Military Institute. 

The West boasts perhaps the best offensive club this weekend, but has questions on the mound. Coach Rodney Spradlin’s lineup will be led by Riverheads catcher Braeson Fulton, another James Madison recruit, and one of the tournament’s best uncommitted players in Jefferson Forest outfielder Jackson Cherry. 

The East also has plenty offensively with the likes of Ocean Lakes third baseman Johnny Wall and shortstop Carson DeMartini, a Virginia Tech recruit, as well as Cox outfielder Sam Slevin and Greenbrier Christian’s Ethan Ott. Coach Sean Townsend’s staff will be led by Prince Anne lefty Jordan Irizarry. 

Covington, who has managed the North each year since the Games were first held for baseball in 1991, said tonight’s first games will determine how teams manage staffs for their final pool play games tomorrow. 

“If you lose, then you’ve got to make some adjustments,” he said. “If you take care of business early, you can line pitching up and be sure you’re saving your best guys for the last day.”

For more information on the North team, click here for last month’s story. 

Game Schedule:

Friday
6:00 - West vs. Central
8:30 - North vs. East

Saturday (beginning at 9:30)
Central vs. North
West vs. East
East vs. Central
North vs. West

Sunday (beginning at 9:30)
No. 4 Seed vs. No. 3 Seed (Bronze Medal)
No. 2 Seed vs. No. 1 Seed (Gold Medal)

Teams at a Glance:

North Team
Head Coach:
Mike Covington
Pitcher to Watch: RHP Joe Vogatsky
Hitter to Watch: OF Thomas Trinca
College Commitments: Bishop O’Connell Eddie Eisert (N.C. State), South Lakes IF/OF Ryan Dooley (Virginia Military Institute), Kettle Run RHP/IF Joe Vogatsky (James Madison), Centreville OF Thomas Trinca (George Mason), Potomac C/RHP Braden Mack (Cornell), McLean RHP Teddy Merritt (High Point), Forest Park IF Griffin Boone (Virginia Commonwealth)

East Team
Head Coach:
Sean Townsend 
Pitcher to Watch: LHP Jordan Irizarry
Hitter to Watch: 1B Ethan Ott
College Commitments: Ocean Lakes IF Carson DeMartini (Virginia Tech)

Central Team
Head Coach:
Bill Pelot
Pitcher to Watch: RHP Brandon Eike
Hitter to Watch: IF Christian Chambers
College Commitments: Midlothian IF Christian Chambers (James Madison),  Powhatan RHP/IF Brandon Eike (North Carolina), Atlee IF Hayden Harris (Longwood), James River IF Will Riley (Virginia Military Institute), Matoaca RHP LaTroy Whitaker (Radford)

West Team
Head Coach:
Rodney Spradlin
Pitcher to Watch: RHP Connor Maggi
Hitter to Watch: C Braeson Fulton
College Commitments: Cave Spring IF Jalen Buster (Radford), Riverheads C Braeson Fulton (James Madison), Riverheads IF Grant Painter (James Madison)

Photos of, from left to right, Centreville’s Thomas Trinca by Fred Ingham, with Powhatan’s Brandon Eike, Riverheads’ Braeson Fulton and Ocean Lakes’ Carson DeMartini courtesy


Recruiting Notebook: Forest Park’s Boone to Play at VCU


July 17 - Forest Park infielder Griffin Boone committed yesterday to play at Virginia Commonwealth University, announcing his intention via Twitter. 

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound shortstop helped the Bruins advance to the Region 6C semifinals before falling to West Springfield this past spring after playing a key role in Forest Park’s run to the Cardinal District championship in 2018.

Boone is a two-time first-team all-district selection, hitting .449 with 31 hits, 20 runs and eight RBI as a sophomore and .326 with a .545 on-base percentage, 15 hits, 20 runs, and 11 RBI despite missing four games with a knee injury this year. He was hit by a pitch 10 times and drew 13 walks.

He will follow two area players, right-hander Hunter Bell (Centreville) and catcher Nick Ericsson (C.D. Hylton), who were part of VCU’s 2019 recruiting class. This past season, the Rams rostered three players from Northern Virginia schools - third baseman Brett Norwood (Chantilly), right-hander Sam Ryan (Fairfax) and catcher Matt Stallings (West Springfield) - who helped them go 39-19 under coach Shawn Stiffler. 

Boone’s commitment continues a busy recruiting period for members of the Marucci Stars travel program. Six Stars players have committed to Division I programs this summer, including rising seniors Boone as well as Colgan left-hander Everett Catlett (Georgetown), Potomac catcher/pitcher Braden Mack (Cornell), McLean right-hander Teddy Merritt (High Point) and Osbourn Park infielder Jed Barrett (Virginia Military Institute) and one rising junior in Madison outfielder Collin Tuft (Virginia). 

Freedom’s Cook, Rock Ridge’s Clarke Among PBR’s Top ‘21 Recruits

Two-way standout Casey Cook (Freedom-South Riding) and left-hander Brandon Clarke (Rock Ridge) are among the state’s top 10 players in Prep Baseball Report’s latest Class of 2021 rankings, released last week. 

Cook is ranked No. 3 and Clarke is No. 5 in the updated rankings. Jay Woolfork from Richmond’s Benedictine is PBR’s top-rated player from schools in Virginia and Washington, D.C. 

Cook, a shortstop and right-handed pitcher who has committed to North Carolina, hit .465 with a .545 on-base percentage, 20 hits, 14 RBI and 10 stolen bases before an injury cut his season short. He plays with the Marucci Stars travel program during the offseason. Clarke, who has reportedly had his fastball clocked as high as 89 MPH, remains uncommitted. He is playing this summer for the North Carolina-based Dirtbags travel program.  

Local Players Invited to PBR’s Futures Games in Georgia

Four area players have accepted invitations to attend Prep Baseball Report’s Futures Games at the LakePoint facility in Cartersville, GA, an event that drew over 250 college coaches last summer. 

Stafford outfielder Elijah Lambros, Yorktown right-hander Nathan Knowles, Lake Braddock outfielder Ryan Cuadros and Fredericksburg Christian catcher J.T. Carter will be among the uncommitted rising juniors and select rising sophomores invited to attend the event. 

From July 31 to Aug. 3, the four players will play three games and participate in a showcase workout that includes a 60-yard-dash, batting practice and defensive evaluations. 

Photos of, clockwise from left, Griffin Boone by Joey Kamide, Freedom’s Casey Cook by Joey Kamide, and Lake Braddock’s Ryan Cuadros by Gregg Zelkin


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


Recruiting Notebook: Eikhoff Decommits From Virginia


June 17 - Riley Eikhoff, a first-team All-Region 6D selection this spring, has decommitted from the University of Virginia as the summer recruiting circuit heats up.

The junior right-handed pitcher and shortstop is a three-year starter for the Pioneers, who went 17-5 this spring before falling in the Region 6D quarterfinals to Centreville. He was 6-2 with a 2.18 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 47.2 innings this year.

“After much thought and conversation with my family, I have made the decision that is in my best interest to decommit from the University of Virginia, and I am reopening my recruitment,” Eikhoff posted earlier tonight on his Twitter handle.

Eikhoff initially committed to the Cavaliers in the fall of 2017. He plays during the offseason with the EvoShield Canes travel program.

Centreville’s Trinca Commits to George Mason

Thomas Trinca committed last week to play at George Mason, the Patriots’ first commitment from the Class of 2020.

The outfielder was a first-team All-Region 6D selection this spring after hitting .423 with a .484 on-base percentage, 16 extra-base hits - including 11 doubles - with 16 RBI and nine steals. He plays in the offseason with the Marucci Stars travel program.

Commonwealth Games to Be Held July 19-21 in Lynchburg

The 30th annual Virginia Commonwealth Games, the state’s premier recruiting event, will be held July 19-21 in Lynchburg.

Potomac coach Mike Covington, who has coached the North team each year the Games have been held, said today he hopes to finalize his roster in the next couple days. Covington led the North team to the championship last year after having a seven-year title run snapped in 2017.

On July 19, teams will hold batting practice on the field at Liberty University, followed by the opening ceremonies. The West will play the Central at 6 p.m. and the North will play the East at 8:30 p.m. On July 20, games begin at 9:30 a.m., with the Central playing the North in the first game, followed by the West vs. the East, the East vs. the Central, and the North vs. the Central.

On July 21, the Bronze Medal game is scheduled in the morning, with the Gold Medal game held in the afternoon.

Photo of, clockwise from left, Patriot’s Riley Eikhoff and Centreville’s Thomas Trinca by Fred Ingham, and Mike Covington by Joey Kamide


Recruiting Notebook: Madison Grads Nielsen, Favero to Transfer to Mason; Tuft Commits to UVA


June 3 - The last couple weeks were busy for current and former Madison players, with Warhawk alums Pete Nielsen and Matt Favero announcing their intention to transfer from Brigham Young to George Mason and sophomore outfielder Colin Tuft committing to Virginia over the weekend.

Nielsen and Favero helped key Madison’s run to the Class 6 state championship in 2015 and join an incoming Patriots recruiting class that includes Lake Braddock outfielder and right-hander Lyle Miller-Green, West Potomac righty Tyler Rulapaugh and Battlefield outfielder Craig Miles. Both are currently serving as missionaries as part of their obligation to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after playing with the Cougars in 2017.

Nielsen, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound infielder, was a first-team All-Met selection by The Washington Post in 2016. He saw limited action in his one season at BYU, going 1-for-4 while appearing in two games, and will have three years of eligibility remaining. Favero, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound left-handed pitcher, did not appear in any games with the Cougars and retains all four years of eligibility.

Tuft was one of two sophomores - Westfield’s Nick Lottchea was the other - named a first-team All-Concorde District selection this spring. He joins Justice lefty Dean Kampschror as area players from the Class of 2021 to commit to the Cavaliers.

Paul VI Frosh Dolby to Join McLean’s Stieg With Hokies

Paul VI Catholic’s Bryce Dolby, a 6-foot-5 right-hander and one of several freshmen to see significant time for the Panthers this spring, committed last week to pitch for Virginia Tech.

Dolby becomes the second area freshman to commit to the Hokies, joining McLean outfielder Griffin Stieg.

Earlier this year, Paul VI freshman lefty Bradley Gagen announced his intention to pitch for Virginia. A talented area 2022 class has also yielded commitments from Osbourn Park’s Mason Balsis (Virginia) and A.J. Shepard (Indiana) as well as the St. John’s (D.C.) duo of James Triantos (North Carolina) and Jack O’Connor (Virginia), both residents of Northern Virginia.

Retrievers Get Late Additions in Westfield’s Clancy, Transfer Belanger

The University of Maryland at Baltimore County got two late additions to its incoming recruiting class, gaining the commitment of Westfield senior right-hander Joe Clancy and former West Potomac standout Luke Belanger over the past two weeks.

Clancy, who has been one of Northern Virginia’s best pitchers this season, enters this week’s Class 6 state tournament carrying a perfect 9-0 record with a 0.24 ERA and 111 strikeouts to 25 walks in 57.2 innings. Belanger hit .200 in 35 at-bats as a freshman at Radford in 2018 and .195 in 41 at-bats this past spring at St. Johns River State College, a Florida junior college. He will retain two years of eligibility.

Clancy and Belanger join UMBC’s incoming class that includes Fairfax infielder Dylan Wilkinson.

Marucci Stars Honor 40 College-Bound Seniors at Banquet

The Marucci Stars held a banquet over the weekend and recognized the 40 seniors who suited up for the travel program last year and will play next year at the collegiate level.  

The Stars’ senior class includes several Division I-bound players, including: Battlefield’s Zach Agnos (East Carolina) and Carter Cunningham (Gardner-Webb), Centreville’s Hunter Bell (Virginia Commonwealth), Flint Hilll’s Alex Walsh (Lafayette), Freedom-South Riding’s Ben Williamson (William & Mary), Lake Braddock’s Lyle Miller-Green (George Mason), Loudoun County’s Donovan Burke (James Madison), Madison’s Matt Howat (William & Mary), Potomac’s Brody Mack (William & Mary), Robinson’s Ethan Rothstein (James Madison) and West Potomac’s Tyler Rulapaugh (George Mason).

Additionally, Fauquier’s Carson McCusker, who will play at Roanoke, was awarded with the annual Matthew Vernon Poyner Memorial Foundation Scholarship and Leadership Award. The scholarship and award is named for late Stars and Langley player Matt Poyner, who passed away in February 2015 of viral myocarditis, which is an inflammatory disease of the heart muscle.

Photos, clockwise from left, of Madison’s Colin Tuft by Albert Jacquez, Westfield’s Joe Clancy by Fred Ingham, Luke Belanger courtesy of Radford Athletics, and of Carson McCusker courtesy of Marucci Stars


Recruiting Notebook: Osbourn Park Frosh Shepard Commits to Hoosiers


February 27 - A.J. Shepard earlier this month became Osbourn Park’s second freshman catcher to commit to a Division I program before stepping on a high school field, announcing his intention to play at Indiana University.

The 6-foot, 175-pound backstop is part of the Yellow Jackets’ talented first-year tandem behind the plate, where he’ll compete for playing time with University of Virginia recruit Mason Balsis. Shepard is also listed as a corner infielder and outfielder.

He will become the first player from Virginia to suit up for the Hoosiers since Chris Behrens, a 6-foot-6 left-handed pitcher from Brooke Point who pitched at Indiana from 2001-04. Brad Edwards, a first-team All-Met selection as a senior at C.D. Hylton in 1998, pitched for three seasons with the Hoosiers prior to being drafted in the 16th round by the Baltimore Orioles in 2001.

As a member of the EvoShield Canes 2022 national team last year, Shepard hit .318 with 21 RBI in 31 games at Perfect Game events. He was 7-for-14 with five RBI to help the Canes win the WWBA 14U National Championship in Georgia in June, and went 8-for-15 with five doubles and 10 RBI over six games as they advanced to the semifinals of the Freshman World Championship in Florida in October.

Patriot’s Eikhoff, Briar Woods’ Cmeyla Shine at PBR’s Preseason All-State Showcase

Two of the area’s top juniors, Patriot shortstop and right-hander Riley Eikhoff and Briar Woods catcher Nathan Cmeyla, were among the top performers at Prep Baseball Report’s Preseason All-State Showcase earlier this month. The event was held over two sessions in Henrico and Ruther Glen.

Eikhoff, who has committed to the University of Virginia and is currently ranked No. 5 by PBR among the state’s Class of 2020 players, had his fastball reach 89 MPH and recorded a velocity of 85 MPH while throwing across the infield. The uncommitted Cmeyla, meanwhile, turned in the fifth-best pop time among catchers who attended the two sessions. His top time was recorded at 1.99.

Over 100 players participated in the showcase, which was attended by PBR and Major League Baseball scouts.

NCAA’s Recruiting Contact Period Begins on Friday

The five-month contact period for Division I and Division II coaches to contact high school underclassmen begins on Friday. College coaches have been under a quiet period since Nov. 16 - with a dead period from Jan. 3-6 - per the NCAA’s 2018-19 recruiting calendar.

During the contact period, Division I and Division II coaches can have “face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, watch student-athletes compete and visit their high schools, and write or telephone student-athletes or their parents,” the NCAA states on its website.

A contact occurs anytime a college coach says more than “hello” while off the college’s campus. High school baseball players are able to take official visits to college campuses beginning on Sept. 1 of their junior year.

The contact period will run through July 31. The NCAA’s recruiting calendar does not apply to Division III coaches, who are not permitted to offer athletic scholarships.

Photo of A.J. Shepard courtesy of EvoShield Canes

Broad Run’s Wayt Shines at Under Armour Preseason Tournament in Arizona


January 25 - Broad Run’s Cameron Wayt homered on his first and last at-bats at the Under Armour All-America Preseason Tournament in Mesa, AZ last weekend.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior outfielder and right-handed pitcher was one of six area players to travel to compete in games and workouts at the spring training home of the Chicago Cubs from Jan. 18-20. He registered an exit velocity of 95 MPH on one of his home runs, one of the top velocities recorded at the event.

Wayt was one of nearly 500 players from 32 regionally-based teams to participate. Carrying a 4.0 grade point average and a 1450 SAT score, he has been accepted to attend the University of Alabama with the offer of academic scholarships and an opportunity to walk on to the baseball team.

Spartans coach Tommy Meier is hopeful Wayt’s success on the travel and showcase circuit this offseason translates to the field this spring after an inconsistent junior campaign in which he hit .238. “He performed great last weekend,” Meier said. “[Wayt ] is a gym-rat, constantly seeking improvement. He’s a great example for the younger players in our program … absolutely a weight-room warrior and puts on a show in [batting practice].”

The other five players attending from the area included Osbourn sophomore Alex Brown, Bishop O’Connell junior Eddie Eisert, Yorktown senior Ben Koomey, Paul VI Catholic sophomore Daniel Quintana and Riverside senior Carson Swank. Eisert has committed to play at N.C. State, and Swank, a member of the 2018 NOVA Nine Team, has signed to play at Yale.

The showcase event, which is sponsored by Baseball Factory, stresses instruction over competition, with daily sessions focused on hitting and fielding work with each team. Games were structured to change sides after five batters, with each hitter starting with a 1-1 count.

“We look a lot at how they can use those skills in the game,” Steve Bernhardt, Baseball Factory’s executive vice president of baseball operations, told Baseball America. “Can they really play or is it just an impressive workout? We also want good people. We want guys that have the makeup that seems to lead to future Major Leaguers … guys that are driven, have that work ethic, are coachable and are good teammates.”

The son of Dayton Moore, a former player and coach at George Mason University and the current general manager of the Kansas City Royals, was one of the top standouts at the showcase. Robert Moore, a switch-hitting junior shortstop at Shawnee Mission East High School in Leawood, KS who has committed to Arkansas, was named to this summer’s Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field in Chicago after his performance in Arizona.

Photo of Cameron Wayt courtesy of Broad Run Baseball

Recruiting Notebook: Mitchell Named to Perfect Game 17U All-Tournament Team


December 19 - Tucker Mitchell, an Oakton resident who attends the IMG Academy in Florida, has been named a Perfect Game 17U All-Tournament first-team selection for events held in 2018.

A senior committed to Florida Atlantic University, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound catcher hit .378 with a .491 on-base percentage in 39 games at Perfect Game events. Playing mostly with the Alabama-based Triton Rays, he had 13 extra-base hits - including three home runs - and 25 RBI in 112 plate appearances.

Mitchell played with the Ohio Warhawks/643 DP Cougars combined team at the WWBA World Championship held in Jupiter, FL in October. He was one of 18 position players named as a first-team selection.

Mitchell attended Flint Hill for his first two prep seasons before transferring to IMG prior to his junior year. He was among the state’s top-10 rated players in his class by Prep Baseball Report prior to transferring schools.

His older brother, Cooper, played at Oakton and later at Division II Florida Tech.

Prep Baseball Report Releases Initial ‘22 Class Rankings

Six area players were among the top 10 listed in Prep Baseball Report’s first Class of 2022 rankings. The rankings were released on Monday, and include players from Virginia and Washington, D.C.

James Triantos, a freshman shortstop at St. John’s (D.C.) and resident of McLean, was the highest-rated player from Northern Virginia at No. 3. Triantos committed earlier this fall to play at the University of North Carolina.

Others among the top 10 were St. John’s right-hander Jack O’Connor (5), Paul VI Catholic left-hander Bradley Gagen (6), Patriot lefty Eli Serrano (7), Osbourn Park catcher Mason Balsis (8) and McLean outfielder Griffin Stieg (9). O’Connor, an Arlington resident, as well as Gagen and Balsis have committed to play at Virginia.

PBR’s top-ranked player in the class is catcher Ethan Anderson from Virginia Beach’s Cox.

NVTBL Expecting Over 30 College Coaches at Next Month’s Showcase

The Northern Virginia Travel Baseball League and its Premier Showcase League will be co-hosting their winter college showcase for current sophomores, juniors and seniors on Sunday, Jan. 27 at the St. James Indoor Sports Complex in Springfield.

Coaches from the following schools as listed as confirmed for the showcase: Catholic, Chowan, Gettysburg, Hamilton, Hampden-Sydney, Hood, Johns Hopkins, Marymount, McDaniel, Muhlenberg, Patrick Henry CC, Randolph-Macon, Rochester, Shenandoah, Stevenson, St. Mary’s (MD), Ursinus and Washington (MD).

For more information or to register, visit www.nvtblbaseball.org.

Photo of Tucker Mitchell courtesy of Mitchell Family

Recruiting Notebook: Where Northern Virginia’s Top D3 Commits Will Play


December 11 - After advancing to the Division III College World Series last spring, Randolph-Macon College has continued its success on the recruiting trail this offseason.

According to the latest Class of 2019 state rankings by Prep Baseball Report, the Yellow Jackets have commitments from seven players ranked in PBR’s Top 200, including four in the Top 100. Much of the recruiting by the Ashland school’s coaching staff has been focused in the greater Richmond area.

None of the players in Randolph-Macon’s current class are from Northern Virginia schools.

The opposite is the case at Mary Washington and Christopher Newport, who have comparable classes based on the PBR rankings. Mary Washington has four recruits from the Top 200 state ratings - including Potomac Falls catcher Andrew Gerhart (168) and Paul VI Catholic left-hander Nick Ortega (200) - and the Eagles also have area commits in right-handers Noah Adcock-Howeth (Lake Braddock), Zach Adams (W.T. Woodson) and Logan Watts (Hayfield) in addition to middle infielders Jonathan Sedmak (Loudoun Valley) and Xavier Herring (Fairfax). The Fredericksburg school has 16 total recruits in its incoming class.

Christopher Newport, meanwhile, has four ranked in PBR’s Top 200, including Kettle Run right-hander Zach Ewald (73), West Springfield lefty and outfielder Alec Reilly (173) and Chantilly righty Connor Pennell (174). The Captains also have commitments from Yorktown lefty Aiden Henning, T.C. Williams righty Evan Waldner and Freedom-South Riding catcher Drew Caroline.

Roanoke, which is just two years removed from its own College World Series appearance, has two Top 200 recruits, including Fauquier lefty and outfielder Carson McCusker (82). Marymount also has two in the Top 200 - Paul VI Catholic catcher John Barrie (152) and Lake Braddock middle infielder Bobby Leitzel (167) - along with a third area recruit in Robinson righty and outfielder Max Henry.

Other Top 200 area players committed to Division III schools include: Jefferson lefty Todd Hartman (71) to Johns Hopkins; Spotsylvania righty Brian Baker (151) and George Mason righty Jay Nesson (163) to Washington (MD); and Highland School outfielder Dylan Fisher (170) to Lynchburg.

O’Connell Grad Liverpool to Transfer from WVU to UNCW

Will Liverpool, a 2017 graduate of Bishop O’Connell, is transferring to UNC-Wilmington after one season at West Virginia, he announced via Twitter on Sunday.

A 5-foot-11, 165-pound right-handed pitcher, Liverpool did not make an appearance in his one campaign with the Mountaineers. He was awarded a redshirt and has four years of eligibility remaining, and will play for UNCW as a scholarship player.

Liverpool earned first-team All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference honors as an outfielder in his senior season with the Knights, and earned second-team honors as a junior in 2016.

“Will has a really quick arm and loves to compete,” West Virginia coach Randy Mazey told 247Sports.com when the Mountaineers announced their recruiting class in November 2016. “With a year of size, strength, and development, Will could be extremely successful as a pitcher at this level.”

He will join a Seahawks program that went 39-23 and 14-9 in the Colonial Athletic Association last spring, when they won the CAA championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament under coach Mark Scalf.

Photo of Zach Ewald courtesy of Kettle Run Baseball

Perfect Game's Departure Opens Door for PBR at Georgia's LakePoint Facility


December 5 - The nation’s premier baseball facility is getting a new tenant, as Perfect Game has announced it will pull operations from the LakePoint Sporting Community after next summer’s WWBA National Championship tournaments and Prep Baseball Report will begin hosting events at the Emerson, GA facility next May.  

LakePoint is a 200-acre multi-sports facility that opened in 2014 with eight 90-foot artificial turf diamonds, three multi-use fields for soccer, lacrosse and football, 12 basketball courts, 24 indoor volleyball courts and a 170,000-square-foot indoor sports center. Other surrounding development - including hotels, restaurants and retail businesses - has pushed LakePoint’s price tag to $1 billion.

Area players and teams travel each summer to Georgia to participate in the national tournaments hosted by Perfect Game, which will reportedly now seek other venues throughout the state to host the events. Perfect Game is also building a 17-field complex on 128 acres near its headquarters in Cedar Rapids, IA, and hosts national events in Florida and regional events throughout the country.

Established in 1994, the organization had its national WWBA tournaments based at a nearby facility in East Cobb, GA for a number of years prior to LakePoint opening.

PBR, which has partnered with Rimrock Capital Management LLC, will move some of its operations staff from its headquarters in Chicago to Georgia. Launched in 2005, PBR now operates in 41 states with over 150 scouts forming the country’s largest recruiting service. PBR’s local affiliate covers Virginia and Washington, D.C. and has a three-man scouting staff: president Jerry Shank, scouting director John Nolan, and Richmond area scouting coordinator Jason Burton.

Other baseball tournament outfits could also utilize the LakePoint facility, according to its owners.

"[Perfect Game] will continue to operate their largest tournaments at LakePoint during the summer of 2019, but we are also excited to begin hosting other baseball tournament operators at our nationally recognized baseball complex,” said Dan Berman of LP Investments I, an affiliate of Rimrock Capital, in a story on Monday in Cartersville, GA’s Daily Tribune News. “We fully expect to sustain and grow our visitation as we move down this new path."

Rimrock Capital is driving the effort to revive LakePoint from the financial issues that forced LakePoint Land LLC and its subsidiaries to file for bankruptcy in June. That ultimately led to Perfect Game’s departure.

PBR has six events currently scheduled to be held at LakePoint in May and June, beginning with its Southeast Super Select for 13U and 14U players.