Recruiting Notebook: Following Kuhn’s Departure, Gagen Decommits from Virginia

August 28 - Independence’s Bradley Gagen has decommitted from Virginia following the departure of longtime pitching coach Karl Kuhn, who last week was named as the new head coach at Radford. 

The sophomore left-hander, who transferred from Paul VI Catholic over the summer, wrote via Twitter that he had “made the decision to reopen my college recruitment,” 10 months after initially committing to the Charlottesville school. Gagen was 3-2 with a save, a 2.33 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 30 innings with the Panthers this past spring, and joins Brandon Clarke (Alabama) and Bryce Dolby (Virginia Tech) as Division I pitching recruits who are transferring into Loudoun County’s newest school. 

Earlier this summer, he helped his EvoShield Canes travel team win the title at the Perfect Game WWBA 15U National Championship in Georgia. He’s the No. 13-rated recruit in Prep Baseball Report’s ranking of Class of 2022 players in Virginia and Washington, D.C. 

Gagen’s decision comes two months after Patriot senior right-hander Riley Eikhoff decommitted from Virginia. Eikhoff has since made a commitment to Coastal Carolina. The Cavaliers could also lose Potomac Falls lefty Nate Savino, a projected early pick in next year’s Major League Baseball Draft. Bishop O’Connell’s 6-foot-9 senior southpaw Jake Berry is also reportedly on the radar of professional scouts. 

Other area pitchers committed to the Cavaliers include Justice junior lefty Dean Kampschror and St. John’s (D.C.) sophomore righty Jack O’Connor, a resident of Arlington. Justice coach Randy Lightle said tonight that Kampschror had been in touch with the Virginia coaching staff and remains committed to the program. 

Broad Run’s Rebok Commits to Towson

Justin Rebok committed earlier this month to play at Towson, becoming Broad Run’s first Division I recruit since 2017 graduate Zach Buck went on to play at Holy Cross. 

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound senior right-hander has compiled a 3.72 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 47 innings in 18 appearances over the past two seasons. He also hit .317 with a .408 on-base percentage and 15 RBI this past spring as the Spartans went 16-10 and made their first state tournament appearance since 2011. 

“Justin’s an excellent example of a kid who has worked hard, trusted the process of getting better each day and focused on helping the team win any way he can,” Broad Run coach Tommy Meier wrote via text message.

Rebok plays in the offseason with the Diamond Elite travel program. 

Towson went 14-39 overall and 7-17 in the Colonial Athletic Association this past season. 

Estridge Latest Battlefield Hurler to Commit to Division I Program

Sophomore pitcher Carson Estridge committed earlier today to West Virginia, becoming Battlefield’s sixth Division I pitching recruit since 2016. 

The 6-foot-5, 175-pound right-hander will join juniors Jackson Baird and Cole Snead on a talented young Bobcats pitching staff in the spring. Baird has committed to pitch at George Mason and Snead will pitch at Randolph-Macon. All three pitchers - Estridge, Baird and Snead - play in the offseason with the Marucci Stars travel program. 

Estridge and Baird join Jake Agnos (East Carolina), James Beasley (Hofstra/George Mason), Keagan McGinnis (Virginia Tech) and Zach Agnos (East Carolina) as recent Battlefield hurlers to pitch at the Division I level. 

Photos of, clockwise from left, Bradley Gagen courtesy of Paul VI Baseball, Broad Run’s Justin Rebok by Fred Ingham and Battlefield’s Carson Estridge courtesy of the Marucci Stars

Briar Woods’ Cmeyla to Play at Dartmouth College

August 27 - Senior catcher Nathan Cmeyla has committed to play at Dartmouth College, Briar Woods coach Rob Sikora confirmed this evening. 

A two-time first-team All-Region 5C selection and one of the area’s top remaining uncommitted players from the Class of 2020, Cmeyla chose the Ivy League school over offers from other highly-regarded academic institutions. This past spring, he helped the Falcons go 20-5 and win the Potomac District championship en route to second-team Class 5 all-state honors. 

Cmeyla plays in the offseason with the Dirtbags travel program and helped the North team win gold at the Commonwealth Games the past two summers. He becomes the sixth Briar Woods player since 2017 to commit to a Division I program. 

“We are extremely excited for Nathan and his family,” Sikora wrote via text message. “He’s an outstanding student-athlete that has a bright future ahead of him. His hard work - on and off the field - has been a large reason for our success over the past two years.”

Over those two seasons, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Cmeyla has batted .399 with 59 hits - including 22 that have gone for extra bases - along with 41 RBI. His athleticism allowed him to make a seamless transition from second base to catcher, and he had eight stolen bases this past spring - a high number considering the backstop often had a courtesy runner once he reached base.

He will be part of a talented returning core at Briar Woods that includes junior infielder Evan Smith, a West Virginia recruit, and senior Jacob Weaver, one of the area’s best defensive outfielders who will play at Division II Lincoln Memorial in Tennessee. Senior right-hander Kyle Lewis also made his college commitment today and will pitch for Division III Marymount.

Cmeyla will become the first player from Northern Virginia to suit up for the Big Green since Ben Socher (Madison) did so from 2014-17. Dartmouth went 15-26 overall and 8-13 in the Ivy League this past season under longtime coach Bob Whalen. 

Photo of Nathan Cmeyla courtesy of Briar Woods Baseball

Recruiting Notebook: Longwood Renews NOVA Presence, Lands 3 Area Recruits

August 27 - Longwood, which had landed just one scholarship player from a Northern Virginia school since 2014, has gained the commitment of three area seniors over the past month. 

Committing to the Lancers in recent weeks have been Heritage pitcher and infielder Dylan Saale, Colonial Forge outfielder Aiden Tierney and Riverbend pitcher Aidan Vanvickle. Saale and Vanvickle both play in the offseason with the EvoShield Canes travel program, while Tierney plays for the Marucci Stars. 

Saale, who committed as a pitcher, was 3-2 with a 2.20 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 28.2 innings and hit .328 with 19 hits, two home runs and 12 RBI in the spring. Tierney was a first-team Class 6 all-state selection after hitting .431 with 25 RBI and helping the Eagles reach the state tournament. Vanvickle, a 6-foot-5, 210-pound right-hander, has earned second-team All-Commonwealth District honors in each of the past two seasons. 

Longwood was 11-41 overall and 5-22 in the Big South Conference last spring and is entering its sixth year under head coach Ryan Mau. 

Savino, Johnson, Eikhoff Among PBR’s Top 2020 Recruits in New Rankings

Three area players - Potomac Falls lefty Nate Savino, Colgan outfielder Ryley Johnson and Patriot right-hander and infielder Riley Eikhoff - are among the top 15 players in Prep Baseball Report’s latest ranking of the top Virginia and Washington, D.C. players in the Class of 2020. 

Savino, the recruiting service’s No. 6 prospect nationally, remains the top-ranked recruit in Virginia and D.C. The Virginia commit is currently in Taiwan with the USA Baseball 18U National Team as it prepares for the WSBC U-18 Baseball World Cup in South Korea. 

Johnson, who has committed to East Carolina, is ranked No. 6 in the latest rankings, which were released yesterday. Eikhoff, a Coastal Carolina recruit, is ranked No. 11. To view the rankings, click here

Thompson to Join Teammate Dooley at VMI

Jack Thompson has been teammates with Ryan Dooley at South Lakes and during the offseason with the Marucci Stars travel program, and now the two seniors will suit up together for four more years in college. 

Thompson, who had his fastball clocked as high as 89 MPH this summer at the Perfect Game WWBA 17U National Championship in Georgia, committed earlier this month to pitch at the Virginia Military Institute. He’ll join Dooley, an All-Region 6D infielder who committed last fall to the Keydets.

VMI, which went 17-41 overall and 9-15 in the Southern Conference under coach Jonathan Hadra, has landed four area players in its 2020 recruiting haul. Also committed to the Keydets are Osbourn Park outfielder Shane Saunders and infielder Jed Barrett. 

Photos of, clockwise from left, Colonial Forge’s Aiden Tierney by Jennifer Muhlenbruck, Colgan’s Ryley Johnson by Joey Kamide, and Jack Thompson courtesy of South Lakes Baseball

Recruiting Notebook: Stafford’s Lambros Joins Hokies’ Talented ‘21 Class

August 13 - Virginia Tech continued to add to an already impressive 2021 recruiting haul with last week’s addition of Stafford outfielder Elijah Lambros. 

As a sophomore this spring, Lambros earned first-team Class 5 all-state honors after helping the Indians go 24-3 and win the program’s first state championship. He hit .427 with a team-high 41 hits - including five doubles and four triples - and 18 RBI. He led the Indians in steals (17) and runs scored (25) and struck out just eight times in 108 plate appearances.

The day after winning the state title, Stafford coach Tommy Harrison said Lambros was back at the field, hitting in the batting cage. 

“He put up some great numbers and he’s getting better and better,” Harrison said. “He’s got speed, an arm, range in the outfield. He goes gap-to-gap and he can throw guys out at the plate.”

Lambros joins a Virginia Tech class that includes Page County left-hander T.R. Williams, Ocean Lakes infielder Carson DeMartini and Amherst infielder Christian Martin. All three are rated among Prep Baseball Report’s top 10 recruits in the ‘21 class in Virginia and Washington, D.C.

The Indians’ 6-foot-1, 190-pound leadoff man, who plays in the offseason with the Richmond Braves travel program, has been reportedly clocked as low as 6.40 in the 60-yard-dash and as high as 90 MPH on throws from the outfield. Harrison credits the Hokies coaching staff for landing a talent that had begun to garner the attention of Top 25 programs and he feels could one day be a draft pick. 

“He’s got tools that you can’t teach,” Harrison said. “He finds the barrel no matter what the pitch is, and that impresses me and I think it’s impressed everybody else. 

“He’s a great kid and he wants to perform at a high level.”

Savino’s Busy Summer Continues in California

Nate Savino started and struck out two in his scoreless inning at the Perfect Game All-American Classic on Sunday at Petco Park in San Diego. 

The Potomac Falls left-hander had his fastball reach 95 MPH and his slider “was one of the better pitches of the night, getting a number of swings and misses on the offering,” Perfect Game wrote on its game recap. 

Savino’s busy summer has also included appearances in Major League Baseball’s Prospect Development Pipeline League in Florida, the High School All-Star Game as part of MLB’s All-Star festivities in Cleveland, and the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field in Chicago. He is now in Irvine, CA for the USA Baseball 18U National Team Trials. 

A two-time NOVA Nine Team member, Savino is Perfect Game’s No. 4-rated recruit nationally in the Class of 2020. The southpaw, who has committed to Virginia but is expected to be taken early in next year’s MLB Draft, has totaled 180 strikeouts to 32 walks and compiled a 0.73 ERA in 86.1 innings over the past two seasons at Potomac Falls. 

Savino plays in the offseason with the Diamond Elite travel program. 

George Mason Lands 1st ‘21 Recruit in Battlefield’s Baird

Battlefield pitcher Jackson Baird became George Mason’s first commitment from the 2021 class, as the 6-foot, 170-pound right-hander announced his decision via Twitter on Aug. 3. 

Baird was 3-0 with a 1.68 ERA and had 27 strikeouts to seven walks in 20.1 innings as the Bobcats went 18-5 and won the Cedar Run District championship before falling to Westfield in the Region 6D semifinals. He also hit .268 with 12 RBI. 

“[He] really pitched well and a lot towards the end,” Battlefield coach Jay Burkhart wrote this morning. 

This summer, Baird’s recruiting stock quickly rose while with his Marucci Stars travel team and he had his fastball clocked as high as 88 MPH on the showcase circuit. He recorded nine strikeouts to just one walk over 7.2 scoreless innings in his two outings at the Perfect Game WWBA 16U National Championship last month. 

At George Mason, his pitching coach will be Shawn Camp, who served in the same capacity at Battlefield from 2015-19. The Patriots went 19-35 overall and 5-19 in the Atlantic-10 Conference this past spring under longtime coach Bill Brown. 

Photos, clockwise from left, of Stafford’s Elijah Lambros by Kurt Steigerwald, Potomac Falls’ Nate Savino courtesy of Perfect Game, and Battlefield’s Jackson Baird by Fred Ingham

Patriot’s Serrano Makes Commitment to N.C. State


August 8 - Back in the mid-1990s, Sammy Serrano was making mound visits to Clint Chrysler when the two were battery mates at Stetson University in Florida. 

Those roles will now be reversed, as Serrano’s son, Eli, committed yesterday to play at N.C. State, where Chrysler is in his second year as the pitching coach. 

“It’s a super small world. My wife and I have known Clint for 25 years,” said Sammy Serrano, whose wife, Cheryl, played basketball while the three were at Stetson. “When this process started, I think for all of us it was something that came full circle. I’m truly grateful that we are lucky enough to pass Eli along not only to Clint, but to a staff that we know and trust after they really endeared themselves during the process.”

As a freshman this spring, Eli Serrano hit .393 and earned second-team All-Cedar Run District honors at Patriot, where his father previously served as both an assistant and the head coach. He had 24 hits and 16 RBI as the Pioneers went 17-5 and advanced to the Region 6D quarterfinals, but didn’t have many opportunities on a deep staff led by Coastal Carolina recruit Riley Eikhoff. 

The 6-foot-5, 175-pound left-handed pitcher and first baseman will get more of those opportunities this coming season and beyond, and the Wolfpack staff committed him as a two-way player. He’ll join Eddie Eisert, a rising senior at Bishop O’Connell who committed to N.C. State last fall as both an infielder and pitcher.

Serrano chose the Raleigh, N.C. school over several suitors, including Atlantic Coast Conference rivals.

“I would rather have a chance to play both ways and other schools were mainly looking at me just as a pitcher,” said Serrano, who plays in the offseason with the EvoShield Canes travel program. “I feel I can hit, so I wanted to do both. I just felt they were going to help me out the most to grow as a baseball player and a man down there.”

Added Patriot coach Josh Steinberg: “Coming into high school, I thought his upside was higher as a pitcher. But he made some adjustments early and really made me believe that he had a shot to play at a high level as a hitter as well.”

Serrano played with the Canes in a team showcase event early in the summer at N.C. State, then attended the program’s camp two weeks ago. They offered him a scholarship that weekend, and yesterday morning he made his commitment to head coach Elliott Avent, who has led the Wolfpack to NCAA Tournament appearances in 19 of his 24 seasons and a College World Series appearance in 2013. 

“I think it’s a good landing spot for him,” Steinberg said. “Obviously, it’s a top program on the east coast. To see him go to a school that was one that he had identified is awesome to see.”

Photo of Eli Serrano by Joey Kamide

Recruiting Notebook: Mason Adds Stieg, Miles to 2020 Class

August 3 - George Mason doubled its 2020 recruiting class this week, adding McLean outfielder Drew Stieg and Woodgrove infielder Wyatt Miles. 

Stieg was a second-team All-Region 6D selection after hitting .408 with 31 hits, eight doubles, three home runs and 14 RBI while helping the Highlanders win the Liberty District championship. His younger brother, Griffin, committed to Virginia Tech this spring and earned first-team all-region honors as a freshman. 

Both brothers play in the offseason with the Marucci Stars travel program. Miles, who hit .286 with six extra-base hits and six RBI for the Wolverines this spring, plays with the EvoShield Canes.

Stieg and Miles join a Patriots class that includes Centreville outfielder Thomas Trinca and Kellam outfielder Jordan Smith. George Mason was 19-35 overall and 5-19 in the Atlantic-10 Conference this season under longtime coach Bill Brown. 

Eikhoff Commits to Coastal Carolina in Busy Final Week of Recruiting Period

Ryley Eikhoff (Patriot), who decommitted from Virginia earlier this summer, announced via his twitter handle on Thursday that he will play at Coastal Carolina. 

The commitment of Eikhoff concludes a busy final week of the NCAA’s summer recruiting calendar for area players. 

Virginia Tech, which has committed over a dozen players in both the 2019-20 classes and has eight recruits already in its 2021 class, added two area rising sophomores in Woodbridge infielder Carter Newman and Colgan right-hander Ryan Kennedy. They join a Blacksburg-bound class that also includes right-hander Bryce Dolby (Paul VI Cathoic) and outfielder Griffin Stieg (McLean). 

Four other area rising seniors also made commitments to Division I programs this week: West Potomac lefty Adam Fischer to William & Mary, Brentsville District righty Vince DiMauro to High Point, Heritage righty Dylan Saale to Longwood and Loudoun County catcher Sean Garvin to Mount St. Mary’s. 

Stafford’s Lambros Shines at PBR’s Futures Games in Georgia

After helping Stafford win the Class 5 state championship in June, first-team all-state outfielder Elijah Lambros has posted a successful campaign on the summer recruiting circuit. 

That has continued this week at Prep Baseball Report’s Futures Games in Georgia. 

Lambros, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound rising junior who plays with the Richmond Braves travel program during the offseason, posted a 6.69 60-yard dash and was clocked at 90 MPH on a throw from the outfield during the event’s first day of showcasing on Wednesday. Games started on Thursday and right-hander Nathan Knowles (Yorktown) flashed a fastball that topped at 88 MPH. Yesterday, catcher J.T. Carter (Fredericksburg Christian) homered and Lambros turned heads with a running catch in the gap and also had a hit. 

Lambros, Knowles, Carter and outfielder Ryan Cuadros (Lake Braddock) are playing for Team Mid-Atlantic, while right-hander Wyatt Shenkman (Riverside) is playing for Team Select. 

Over 200 colleges are reported as being represented at the four-day event, which is being held at the LakePoint facility in Cartersville, GA.

NCAA’s Condensed Fall Recruiting Period to Debut Next Month

After a quiet period from Aug. 19 to Sept. 12, the NCAA’s fall recruiting contact period will run from Sept. 13 to Oct. 13. 

The adjusted window for Division I and Division II college coaches to travel to watch potential recruits and have contact with those players is more than three weeks shorter than in previous years. It comes as part of changes implemented to relieve stress placed upon college coaches, who are also with their teams for practices and scrimmages during the fall. 

During a contact period, players are able to take unofficial and official visits and coaches are able to have home visits or other in-person meetings off campus, evaluate players at high school and travel/showcase competition, make phone calls and send letters and emails. 

Following the four-week contact period, there will be a quiet period through February with short dead periods in the middle of November and early January. During a quiet period, players are able to take visits and coaches are able to make calls and send letters and emails but not attend competition for evaluation. That is also the case during a dead period, when only calls, letters and emails are allowed and campus visits can occur but without a meeting with a coach.

The same rules don’t apply for Division III coaches, who are unable to offer athletic scholarships.

Photos of Drew Stieg, left, by Joey Kamide and Riley Eikhoff, right, by Fred Ingham

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:

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