‘Everything a Coach is Looking For in a Player’, Dooley’s Impact Felt on Multiple Teams

August 14 - Ryan Dooley’s impact was never more evident then after he was hit by a pitch against Centreville on Mar. 30. 

He was hitting .571 at the time and South Lakes was off to a 5-0 start. Over the next five weeks, Dooley played through the hand injury, a nagging pulled oblique muscle and missed a game over spring break after spraining his finger while sliding headfirst into second base. He hit just .206 and the Seahawks dropped 10 of 14 games while he was battling the ailments. 

By May 7, Dooley was fully recovered and got hot again. He strung together five straight multi-hit games and hit .667 as the Seahawks won three of four before dropping a 7-6 extra-inning decision at Patriot in the Region 6D quarterfinals. He’d hit .397 with 25 hits and a .531 on-base percentage for the season, earning second-team all-region honors. 

He hasn’t stopped hitting since. 

Dooley, a left-handed swinging rising senior who has committed to play at the Virginia Military Institute, joined his Marucci Stars team in early June and hit .367 with a .557 on-base percentage while playing in showcase events and tournaments up and down the east coast. He took a weekend off in mid-July to help the North team win Gold at the Commonwealth Games, then suited up full-time for Vienna Post 180 - who he’d played part-time with throughout the summer - during its run to a second straight state championship. 

“Ryan is a dude,” said Kevin Sisk, his coach with the Stars. “His athleticism to play multiple positions this summer was huge for our team. More than this is his ability to compete and his high baseball IQ. At the plate, running the bases, or defense he is a bulldog and battles till the end. 

“He is everything a coach is looking for in a player. A winner.”

Dooley, who has played both middle infield positions and all three outfield positions and even pitched a bit during the American Legion campaign, settled in at second base the past few weeks as Post 180 strung together perhaps the best season in the storied program’s long history. He hit .408 with 29 hits in 20 games and was one of the toughest outs last week at the Mid-Atlantic Regional, going 13-for-23 over six games as Vienna advanced to within a game of its first World Series berth. 

“He really made a difference with his athleticism,” Post 180 manager Nick Good said. “He’s extremely versatile, he can really play anywhere in the field. He was a great fit at the top of the lineup.

“He’s willing to lay down a bunt, sacrifice guys over and do what is good for the team as a whole.”

Dooley says that selfless approach and mentality is a product of often being the youngest player early on. “When I was younger, I played with older guys and wasn’t as good as them,” he said. “So I had to do what I could to help the team. And that was fine to me, that was growing up and that was just how you played the game. That was what you had to do.”

He’s no longer the young guy on the team who has to lay down bunts and move runners over to earn a spot in the lineup - he hit .383 in 270 plate appearances with the four teams this spring and summer - and yet it remains a big part of Dooley’s game. 

That mentality and work ethic, he says, was instilled at a young age by his father, Sean, and while playing for Madison coach Mark ‘Pudge’ Gjormand with the Reston Warriors youth program. It grew while playing alongside his older brother, Jack, an all-region shortstop himself two years ago, and for South Lakes coach Morgan Spencer, who has quickly rebuilt the Seahawks program. 

“He was always the better Dooley,” he says of his older brother. “He was always the best player on every team we played together, so I wanted to be like him. He and my dad showed me what it was like to work hard.”

That fire has only grown, as evidenced while playing through the ailments this spring and then the heavy workload this summer. 

“I embrace it because I love the game, I love competing and I love winning,” Dooley said. “I love playing with my teammates and I love working hard. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Photos of Ryan Dooley were submitted and taken by Joey Kamide

Travel Notebook: Local Trio Help Canes Win Perfect Game WWBA 15U National Title

July 24 - Three area rising sophomores helped the EvoShield Canes National sweep 12 games en route to the Perfect Game WWBA 15U National Championship last week in Florida. 

A.J. Shepard (Osbourn Park), a catcher committed to Indiana University, along with left-hander Bradley Gagen (Paul VI Catholic), a Virginia recruit, and right-hander and infielder James Triantos (St. John’s), a McLean resident committed to North Carolina, played key roles as the Canes won each of their seven pool play games and were one of the 39 pool winners at then 312-team tournament. 

The Canes then allowed just four runs over five elimination games played over a two-day period on Thursday and Friday. Many of the team’s players also helped the Canes win the Perfect Game WWBA 14U National Championship last summer. 

Shepard swung one of the tournament’s hottest bats, hitting .500 (13-for-26) with a .629 on-base percentage, three doubles, three home runs and 13 RBI. He was 6-for-10 with four walks in bracket play. Gagen tossed two scoreless innings in an 11-1 semifinal win over North Carolina’s Dirtbags 15U Tap Out and finished with seven strikeouts in five scoreless innings over his two appearances.

Triantos, meanwhile, hit .387 (12-for-31) with a homer and seven RBI while making two short relief outings. He recorded the final five outs in a 12-2 win over Georgia’s Star National 15U Dobbs in the final. 

Stars 10U Colangelo Advances to Semifinals at USSSA World Series in Florida

Marucci Stars Colangelo won its first seven games before falling, 8-1, to California’s MVP Hustle Garcia on Saturday at the USSSA Wilson DeMarini Elite 10U World Series in Sanford, FL. 

The Stars outscored their opponents, 48-18, to advance to the semifinal round on Saturday morning, earning wins against teams from Florida, Michigan, Tennessee and Alabama. They’d beat Florida’s FCA Blueclaws, 10-2, in the semifinals before having their run end against the eventual tournament champions. 

The Prince William County-based team has a 30-4 record while winning six tournaments over the spring and summer seasons.

Diamond Elite, D.C. Cadets to Meet in NVTBL’s PSL Championship Game Tonight

Diamond Elite and the D.C. Cadets each posted lopsided shutouts last night in the Northern Virginia Travel Baseball League’s Premier Showcase League semifinals.

The two teams will meet tonight at 7 p.m. in the league’s summer championship game at South Lakes. 

In Diamond Elite’s 12-0 drubbing of the Metro Senators, Ryan Brokaw (Riverside) went 3-for-4 with three doubles and four RBI while Joe Vogatsky (Kettle Run) and Matt Weber (Potomac Falls) added three hits apiece and combined to drive in five runs. Thomas Haller (Woodgrove) went 5.2 innings, striking out seven to earn the decision. 

The Cadets then dispatched of NOVA Premier, 9-0, in the second semifinal as David Michael Jefferson (St. John’s) and Thomas Kresina (St. John’s) combined to drive in five runs and Xan Wojie (St. John’s) went 2-for-2 with an RBI and tossed three-plus scoreless innings. Justin Riemer (St. John’s) tossed the final four innings in relief. 

Sponsor: The magazine’s Travel Notebook is sponsored by the Northern Virginia Travel Baseball League. For more information on the NVTBL, visit its website at www.nvtblbaseball.org.

Photo of Bradley Gagen courtesy of EvoShield Canes

Travel Notebook: Balsis Leads Stars to Round of 32 at Perfect Game WWBA 15U Nationals

July 18 - Mason Balsis was 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI as Marucci Stars Colangelo beat Tennessee’s Cross Hit Black, 7-2, to advance to the second day of bracket play at the Perfect Game 15U WWBA National Championship in Georgia. 

Bobby Fleming (Langley) struck out seven while scattering three hits and permitting one run over 5.1 innings to earn the win, and he was 1-for-3 with an RBI at the plate. Caelan Kim (Fairfax) added two hits for the Stars, who will play the No. 4 seed, Georgia’s Team Elite 15U Scout, today at 12:15 p.m. in the Round of 32. 

In other action, the EvoShield Canes North team featuring several local players beat Florida’s Cannons Baseball, 3-2, and will play the No. 6 seed, Georgia’s 5 Star National Dobbs, at 11:45 a.m. Two other Canes teams rostering area players, their National and Central teams, earned byes and will also play today. 

The Round of 16 and quarterfinals will be held later today, with the semifinals and championship game tomorrow. 

Savino Heads to Chicago for Monday’s Under Armour All-America Game

Nate Savino (Potomac Falls) continues his busy summer when he travels to Chicago this weekend to prepare for Monday’s Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field. 

Savino, a two-time NOVA Nine Team selection who has committed to pitch at Virginia, will suit up for the 21-man National team at the annual showcase of some of the country’s top rising seniors. The left-hander has dominated Northern Virginia prep hitters over the past two seasons, totaling 180 strikeouts to 32 walks and compiling a 0.73 ERA in 86.1 innings. 

“Savino fills up the strike zone from the left side, working off of a live fastball that regularly touches the mid-90s,” a scouting report for the All-America Game reads. “The combination of big velocity and the ease with which he does it allows him to throw his fastball by hitters on a consistent basis. Add in a quality breaking ball and change and you have the top [left-handed pitching] prospect in the class.”

Savino, who plays in the offseason with the Diamond Elite travel program, will travel to Los Angeles next month for the USA Baseball 18U National Team Trials. Monday’s All-America Game will be broadcast on the MLB Network at 3 p.m.

Diamond Elite’s Walsh Shines at 15U WWBA National Championship

Michael Walsh (Riverside) had a big week at the plate and on the mound as his Diamond Elite team went 4-2-1 in pool play at the Perfect Game 15U WWBA National Championship. 

Walsh, a left-handed pitcher and left-handed swinging outfielder, was 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA over 10.1 innings in two starts while hitting .429 (6-for-14) with a .652 on-base percentage, drawing eight walks and driving in three runs. 

Diamond Elite was in contention to advance to bracket play yesterday before falling, 4-2, to the eventual pool winner, Colorado’s Slammers Baseball Asnicar. Declan McCann (Dominion) was the team’s top offensive threat at the tournament, hitting .467 (7-for-15) with three doubles, a triple and five RBI. 

Eldridge, LeClair, Poole Get Invites to Perfect Game 14U National Showcase

Three Northern Virginia residents have been invited to participate in the Perfect Game 14U National Showcase in Fort Myers, FL, next month. 

The three players, right-hander Bryce Eldridge (Madison), left-hander Marcus LeClair (Gonzaga) and outfielder A.J. Poole (Landon), are among the 260 that advanced through regional showcases and will take the field from Aug. 2-4 at JetBlue Park, the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox. Eldridge and LeClair both play for the Marucci Stars, and Poole plays with the Richmond Braves. 

“For a lot of these players, the 14U regional showcases are their first exposure in a showcase setting and it helps set a baseline for the next couple years of their career in terms of monitoring their progression,” said Jheremy Brown, Perfect Game’s national crosschecker, in a release on their website. “Like other sports, recruiting in baseball has started younger and younger.”

Following the National Showcase, 44 players will be invited to attend Perfect Game’s 14U Select Baseball Festival at the end of August in Fort Myers. 

Sponsor: The magazine’s Travel Notebook is sponsored by the Northern Virginia Travel Baseball League. For more information on the NVTBL, visit its website at www.nvtblbaseball.org.

Photos of, clockwise from left, Mason Balsis by Bethany Balsis, Nate Savino courtesy of PDP League, and Bryce Eldridge courtesy of NVTBL

Locals Help Stars, 3 Canes Teams Advance to Bracket Play at Perfect Game 15U Nationals

July 17 - Nicholas Morabito and Mason Balsis paced Marucci Stars Colangelo as the team won its pool and advanced to bracket play at the Perfect Game WWBA 15U National Championship. 

Stars Colangelo (6-1) was joined by three EvoShield Canes teams carrying area players in winning one of the wood bat tournament’s 39 pools. The Stars (6-1) and Canes North (5-1-1) will play in the opening round tonight at 8:45 p.m. The Canes National (7-0) earned the top seed and will play at 10 a.m. tomorrow, and the Canes Central (6-0-1) also earned a bye and will play tomorrow at 12:15 p.m.

The next three rounds will be held tomorrow, with the semifinals and championship game held on Friday at the LakePoint facility in Cartersville, GA. 

Morabito, an uncommitted middle infielder who resides in McLean and attends Gonzaga (D.C.), filled up the stat sheet over the seven pool play games - hitting .500 (9-for-18) with a .609 on-base percentage, eight runs, five RBI and nine steals. Balsis, a catcher and outfielder from Osbourn Park who has committed to the University of Virginia, hit .421 (8-for-19) with two doubles, six RBI and four steals. 

Jason Cheifetz (Westfield) went the distance in yesterday’s 4-3 win over Florida Burn 2022 Orlosky, allowing three runs (one earned) on seven hits. 

Carson Carroll took the reigns midway through pool play after Mike Colangelo had to depart due to another commitment. Carroll, the Northern Virginia-based travel program’s founder, has skippered several teams to bracket play at the annual event. 

“Our success and ability to make a run will depend on pitchers throwing strikes, quality at-bats and applying pressure on the bases,” Carroll said earlier this evening.

A.J. Shepard (Osbourn Park) and James Triantos (St. John’s), a resident of McLean, swung hot bats for unbeaten Canes National. Shepard, an Indiana recruit, hit .438 (7-for-16) with two doubles, two home runs and six RBI while Triantos, a North Carolina commit, hit .389 (7-for-18) with a double, homer and five RBI. The team’s third local player, Virginia recruit Bradley Gagen (Paul VI Catholic), earned the win after limiting Georgia’s Game On Vipers to two hits in three scoreless innings in a 7-0 win on Monday.

Among the Canes North’s top hitters in pool play was Cal Henderson (Freedom-South Riding), who hit .375 (6-for-16) with five runs and five RBI. Aidan McDonald (Paul VI Catholic) made three appearances, allowing just one run on three hits in 7.1 innings. The team has eight players from Northern Virginia schools on its roster, the most of any Canes team.

Canes Central, meanwhile, had two area players - Eli Serrano (Patriot) and Blain Simonich (Dominion) - among its top hitters in pool play. Serrano hit .429 (6-for-14) with a double, triple and three RBI and Simonich hit .412 (7-for-17) with three doubles, a triple and six RBI.

Photos of, clockwise from left, Nicholas Morabito and Mason Balsis by Bethany Balsis and Bradley Gagen and Eli Serrano courtesy of EvoShield Canes

Travel Notebook: Snyder Bucks Runner-up at Diamond Nation World Series 

July 13 - The Snyder Bucks 17U won their first six games before falling in last night’s championship game at the Diamond Nation World Series in Flemington, N.J. 

Ed Wagner (Highland School) struck out five over 4.1 innings and Adam Dressler (Highland School) and Jakob Dudley (Culpeper County) combined for 2.2 scoreless innings in relief in a 5-2 win over Pennsylvania’s LVBA Prospects in the semifinals yesterday afternoon. The win was the team’s eighth straight. 

In the final, the Bucks fell behind early against All Out Baseball when the New Jersey club reached starter Blake Fisher (Highland School) for five runs before chasing him with two outs in the second inning. Evan Evans (Highland School) and Tyler Kaltreider (Highland School) pitched well in relief to keep the Bucks in the game, but they were unable to rally. 

Andrew Yoon (Jefferson) reached in all seven games at the tournament, hitting .517 (8-for-14) with two walks, four doubles and three RBI. In pool play, Jacob Lawler (Battlefield) went the distance in a 4-3 win over the Northtown (N.Y.) Nationals, Tanner Ray (Colgan) struck out six while allowing one unearned run in 6.1 innings in a 4-1 win over New Jersey’s Hustle Baseball Academy. Declan Downey (Kettle Run) pitched five scoreless innings in a 3-0 win over New York’s Crusaders Baseball Club in the opening round of bracket play on Thursday. 

Locals Help Molina Stars to Quarterfinals at Perfect Game WWBA 16U Championship

Several area players helped the Molina Stars advance to the quarterfinals at the Perfect Game WWBA 16U National Championship in Georgia this week. 

The Stars, who had 12 players from Northern Virginia on their 20-man roster, went 7-0 in pool play and beat New Jersey’s Tri-State Arsenal Scout Team, 3-2, on a two-run walk-off single by James Triantos to begin bracket play on Thursday. They would use a five-run fifth inning to beat Memphis (TN) Tigers Griggs, 6-2, before having their run end on Thursday evening with a 2-0 loss to Georgia’s Team Elite 16U Scout Team, the eventual tournament champion. 

Triantos, a rising sophomore at Washington, D.C.’s St. John’s who has committed to North Carolina, hit .320 (8-for-25) with three doubles and 11 RBI and recorded 11 strikeouts while allowing three runs in 8.2 innings over his two outings. Warren Holzemer (Robinson) hit .417 (10-for-24) with three doubles, a triple, seven RBI and scored 10 runs, while Evan Smith (Briar Woods), a West Virginia recruit, hit .389 (7-for-18) with eight runs and four RBI. Connor Hale (Broad Run) hit .320 (8-for-25) with a double, three triples, six RBI and eight runs and Danny Salisbury (Annandale) hit .350 (7-for-20) with four RBI. Collin Tuft (Madison), a Virginia recruit, added seven hits. 

On the mound, Hale struck out 10 while walking five and permitting two runs (one earned) over 11 innings. He went the distance in Thursday’s quarterfinal, taking a hard-luck loss after allowing two runs (one earned) in six frames. Dean Kampschror (Justice), a Virginia commit, fanned 10 with six walks while allowing four runs (two earned) in 10.2 innings. Salisbury and Nathan Williams (Forest Park) also pitched well, combining to allow just one unearned run while striking out 13 in 12.1 innings. 

Marucci Stars’ Jensen Swings Hot Bat in Georgia

Max Jensen (Lake Braddock) had hits in all seven games for Marucci Stars Thompson at the Perfect Game 16U WWBA National Championship in Georgia. 

The leadoff man finished the tournament 9-for-15 with three walks, a home run, five RBI and six runs as the Stars finished 3-4. He had two multi-hit games. The Stars had three teams at the event, with the program going a combined 8-10-3. 

Sponsor: The magazine’s Travel Notebook is sponsored by the Northern Virginia Travel Baseball League. For more information on the NVTBL, visit its website at www.nvtblbaseball.org.

Photo of Andrew Yoon courtesy of Snyder Bucks

Travel Notebook: Balsis, Eldridge Selected to USA Baseball 15U National Team Trials

July 5 - Two area players, Mason Balsis and Bryce Eldridge, were among the 72 who were named by USA Baseball to participate in Phase I of the 15U National Team Trials in Cary, N.C., from July 26-28.

Balsis, a catcher who has committed to the University of Virginia and who lettered as a freshman this spring at Osbourn Park, earned an invitation after participating in USA Baseball’s National Team Identification Series last fall. Eldridge, a 6-foot-6, 184-pound rising freshman pitcher and corner infielder at Madison, was invited after participating in an identification event last month. 

Balsis and Eldridge will be competing to be among the 34 players selected for Phase II of the Trials beginning on July 29 and ultimately to be selected for the final 20-man roster. The 15U National Team will train in Houston, TX, from Sept. 6-10 before participating in the COPABE U-15 Pan-American Championships from Sept. 13-22 in Mexico. 

Both players are members of the Marucci Stars travel program during the offseason. 

Carroll’s Loaded Stars Club Opens With Win at Perfect Game 16U National Championship

Longtime area travel and showcase coach Carson Carroll has one of his deepest Marucci Stars teams this summer, and his club opened the Perfect Game WWBA 16U National Championship with a 9-4 win over New Jersey’s Sportika Gallagher Elite earlier today in Georgia. 

The team is headlined by two-way standout Nick Lottchea (Westfield), the lone sophomore member of this year’s NOVA Nine Team. Another two-way threat is Casey Cook (Freedom-South Riding), who has committed to play at North Carolina and was 2-for-3 today in his first game back from an injury suffered in the spring. Oakton’s Nick Morgan, the team’s leading hitter this summer, was also 2-for-3 in today’s win. 

Three players who helped key Lake Braddock’s run to the Class 6 state championship - outfielder Ryan Cuadros and left-handers Andrew Schaeb and Mike Weidinger - will also play big roles should the Stars make a run at the week-long tournament. Other pitchers to watch include right-handers Nathan Knowles (Yorktown) and Connor Kolarov (Freedom-South Riding) and lefties Casey Bach (Centreville) and Everett Catlett (Colgan), the lone rising senior on the team. 

Each of the 392 teams at the tournament play seven pool play games, with the 49 pool winners advancing to elimination play. The Stars’ biggest competition in their pool will likely be tomorrow’s opponent, the West Florida Scorpions Select, as well as Team Georgia National, who they will face on Sunday night. 

Eikhoff Helps Canes Win Perfect Game WWBA 17U National Title

Riley Eikhoff (Patriot) earned the win in yesterday’s quarterfinals and his EvoShield Canes National team went on to win the title earlier today at the Perfect Game WWBA National Championship in Cartersville, GA. 

The right-hander scattered three hits and surrendered one run over four innings in a 3-1 quarterfinal win over Rawlings Arkansas Prospects Menard yesterday and finished the tournament with nine strikeouts while allowing one run in eight innings over his two starts. 

Earlier today, the Canes beat Florida’s Ostingers Baseball Academy, 15-0, in the semifinals and Dallas Patriots Stout, 8-3, in the final. They went 12-0 at the tournament and are 29-2 this summer. 

Two teams with several local players, the EvoShield Canes North and Richmond Braves National, advanced through their pools to elimination play before losing in the opening round. 

Rostered with the Canes were Kristian Asbury (Robinson), Justin Bassett (West Potomac), Nathan Cmeyla (Briar Woods), Paul Glenchur (Bishop O’Connell), Wyatt Miles (Woodgrove), Shane Saunders (Osbourn Park), Joey Thomas (Flint Hill) and Aidan Vanvickle (Riverbend). And playing with the Braves were Jake Berry (Bishop O’Connell), Thomas Latham (Chantilly), Vince DiMauro (Brentsville District), Chris Polymeropoulos (Madison), Tucker Sullivan (Stafford) and Jacob Weaver (Briar Woods). 

Photo of Mason Balsis by Bethany Balsis

Travel Notebook: Miller Shines at Longhorn Stampede; Fielder's Choice, Loudoun Aces Win Titles

March 31 - Champions were crowned in six age divisions at this weekend’s Longhorn Stampede in Loudoun County, and two area teams claimed titles at the 15th annual tournament.

Fielder’s Choice 9U avenged a pool play loss to Henrico’s Team Vinci Edwards in a big way earlier today, beating the team from Henrico, 16-3, in the 9U division final after beating PowerU Fire, 13-1, in the semifinals earlier in the day.

“I’ve got a tough little group of guys,” Fielder’s Choice coach Jason Miller said. “It’s easy when they hit a bunch of doubles, that makes it an easy team to manage.”

Miller’s club totaled 52 runs in four games at the tournament. Braiden Miller (no relation) went 3-for-3 with two triples and five RBI and struck out nine over three innings in the final, and he finished the weekend 11-for-12 with two walks, seven runs, four triples and 10 RBI.

The Loudoun Aces 10U Red swept its four games and beat the Potomac Riverdogs Blue, 11-5, in the championship game today. The Aces advanced to the final after beating the Winchester Hornets, 3-2, on a walk-off sacrifice fly and have won two straight tournaments to begin their season.

In the 11U division, the Loudoun South Eagles posted three shutouts and allowed just one run in four games entering today’s championship game. The Eagles, however, fell to Charlottesville’s Invaders Baseball, 10-9.

NVTBL Teams Begin Spring Season over Weekend

Dozens of teams from across the area began their spring schedules as the Northern Virginia Travel Baseball League opened its season over the weekend.

The league had 33 games yesterday and 154 scheduled today across seven age divisions, from 8U-14U. NVTBL also hosts leagues for high school players in the summer and fall.

Legends Win Title at GMBL’s April Fools Tournament; Other Division Champions to be Crowned Tonight

The Pioneer Legends swept their five games en route to the 10U division championship at this weekend’s GMBL April Fools Tournament in Manassas.

Hosted by the Greater Manassas Baseball League, the tournament included five age divisions and had four of those championship games set to be held tonight. Earlier today, the Legends rallied from a 5-2 deficit entering the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring four runs in the frame to beat the Manassas Cavalry Blue, 6-5, in the 10U final.

In the 11U final, the Marucci Stars Eidemiller scored four two-out runs to win in walk-off fashion, 9-8, over the Stafford Warriors. The Marucci Stars Camp walked off Manassas Cavalry Blue, 7-6, in the 12U final, overcoming a 5-3 fifth-inning deficit. The Cavalry advanced to the final with a walk-off victory of its own, beating Marucci Stars Kempton, 11-10, in eight innings in their semifinal contest.

In the 13U final, the Southern Maryland Senators Kingsbury defeated the Mount Vernon Patriots, 10-3.

Sponsor: The magazine’s Travel Notebook is sponsored by the Northern Virginia Travel Baseball League. For more information on the NVTBL, visit its website at www.nvtblbaseball.org.

Photo of Braiden Miller courtesy of Fielder’s Choice Baseball

Year in Review: Marucci Stars 11U Camp is Youth Travel Team of the Year

January 1 - Marucci Stars 11U Camp has been named the magazine’s 2018 Youth Travel Team of the Year after finishing its campaign on a 56-game winning streak and winning the last 10 tournaments it entered.

The 2018 Teams of the Year are sponsored by Pitchers Edge in Vienna.

Coached by former Major League pitcher Shawn Camp, the Stars dominated opponents behind a lineup that averaged 11.2 runs per game and a pitching staff that posted 20 shutouts. They didn’t lose a game after April 14 and defeated teams from some of the top travel programs on the east coast, capping the year by winning the championship game at the Ripken Baseball Veterans Day Tournament in Aberdeen, MD in walk-off fashion.

This year’s other nominees included: the Fauquier Raiders 10U, which won three tournaments this year; Fielder’s Choice 9U, which won one tournament and was the runner-up in two others; and Marucci Stars 10U Colangelo, which won seven tournaments in 2018.

In the ninth story in our Year in Review series, the magazine summarizes each of the nominees for our Youth Travel Team of the Year:

Team: Marucci Stars 11U Camp
Head Coach: Shawn Camp
Assistant Coaches: Jay Burkhart, J.P. Raflo, Kevin Peltier
Record: 62-4 overall
Team Summary: The Stars went 35-4 as a 10U team in the spring and summer, then a perfect 27-0 as an 11U team in the fall, finishing with an impressive 56-game winning streak while winning 11 tournaments in six states - including the final 10 they entered. They dominated in all facets of the game: the lineup averaged 11.2 runs, hit a collective .434 and slammed 34 home runs; they swiped 443 bags on the base paths; and their pitching staff posted a 1.45 ERA in the spring/summer and 2.18 ERA in the fall while combining for 426 strikeouts and 20 shutouts. Leading the way at the plate was Bryant James, who paced the team in batting average (.595), hits (100), home runs (14), RBI (122) and steals (87). Two-way standout Ethan Hudson hit .468 with seven homers and 88 RBI while posting a 2.05 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 79 innings. Also turning in impressive campaigns were Owen Peltier (.500, 84 steals), Luke Raflo (.487, 68 RBI), Brady Burkhart (.441, 51 steals) and another two-way threat in Caden Merritt, who hit.424 with six homers, 58 RBI and 43 steals while posting a team-best 1.57 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 46 innings.

Team: Fauquier Raiders 10U
Head Coach: C.G. Goldizen
Assistant Coaches: John Showers, Ted Trynock
Record: 38-15-1 overall
Team Summary: The Raiders went 18-8 as a 9U team in the spring/summer and 20-7-1 as a 10U team in the fall, winning championships at the Baseball Nation Mother’s Day Tournament, the Division 3 bracket at the Top Gun Summer World Series, and the Zombie Apocalypse tournament. They also finished runner-up at the tournaments, the Greater Manassas Baseball League (GMBL) Memorial Day Tournament and in the gold bracket at the NVTBL End-of-Season Tournament.

Team: Fielder’s Choice 9U
Head Coach: Jason Miller
Assistant Coaches: T.W. Sheets, Jon Felmey, Greg Lowery
Record: 23-8-1 overall
Team Summary: A core group that has been together for the past two years continued to pile up victories in 2018, as Fielder’s Choice went 10-5 as an 8U team in the spring/summer and 13-3-1 as a 9U team in the fall, winning the South Jersey Bullpen Spring Fling and finishing runner-up at the USSSA Richmond Gameday and the USSSA’s season-ending summer tournament in Richmond. Coached by former Briar Woods coach Jason Miller, the 2017 NOVA Nine Coach of the Year after guiding the Falcons to the Class 5 state championship, the team had just one loss in the fall prior to dropping its final two games at its final tournament. Braiden Miller paced the club at the plate, hitting .651 with 51 hits, 38 RBI and 20 steals while Cam Felmey posted a team-high nine wins to anchor the staff.

Team: Marucci Stars 10U Colangelo
Head Coach: Mike Colangelo
Assistant Coaches: Paul Colangelo, Rhett Pfitzner, Scott Knox, Dan Quigley-Skillin
Record: 47-7 overall
Team Summary: The Stars went 31-4 as a 9U team in the spring/summer and 16-3 as a 10U team in the fall, totaling seven tournament championships and posting a 42-game winning streak that extended between the two seasons. They posted nine shutouts behind a staff anchored by Sasha Quigley-Skillin (2.26 ERA, 96 K, 67 IP) and Gavin Knox (1.70 ERA, 60 K, 62 IP) and reached double-digit run totals in 35 of 54 games behind a lineup featuring Serf Guerra, Yogi Colangelo (.509, 45 RBI, 61 steals), Chase Colangelo (.403, 57 RBI, 43 steals) and Nico Moritz (.454, 5 HR, 37 RBI, 75 steals). Guerra joined the team for the fall season, making an immediate impact on the lineup while hitting .730 with a team-high nine homers.

Photo of Ethan Hudson courtesy of Hudson family

Year in Review: MVP Terps 2023 National is 2018 Middle School Travel Team of the Year

January 1 - MVP Terps 2023 National has been named the magazine’s 2018 Middle School Travel Team of the Year after an impressive fall campaign.

The 2018 Teams of the Year are sponsored by Pitchers Edge in Vienna.

Coached by Fairfax High School skipper Rick Freeman, the Terps won 21 of 25 games this fall. They were the only nominee submitted by area coaches or team administrators.

In the eighth story in our Year in Review series, the magazine summarizes each of the nominees for our Middle School Travel Team of the Year:

Team: MVP Terps 2023 National
Head Coach: Rick Freeman
Assistant Coaches: Brian Colella, Doug Ewell, Jerry Manarchuck
Record: 21-4 fall
Team Summary: The Terps averaged 10.2 runs per game and hit .400 as a team for the fall, winning the Northern Virginia Travel Baseball League (NVTBL) Columbus Day Tournament and advancing to the final at the Complete Game Fall Championship. They had a 12-game winning streak and went unbeaten in NVTBL play behind a lineup paced by Jonny Farmelo, Andrew Kang and Bryson Moore and a pitching staff anchored by Moore, J.B. Manarchuk and Matthew Colella.

Photo of Jonny Farmelo courtesy of MVP Terps

Year in Review: Vienna Post 180 is 2018 High School Offseason Team of the Year

January 1 - Vienna Post 180 has been named the magazine’s 2018 High School Offseason Team of the Year after winning the post’s first American Legion state championship since 1990.

The 2018 Teams of the Year are sponsored by Pitchers Edge in Vienna.

Managed by Nick Good, Vienna raced out to a 14-0 start and didn’t look back, knocking off rival Springfield Post 176 in the District 17 final and breezing past Adam’s Post 86 in the state final to become the first Northern Virginia team to win a state title since 1992. They did so behind a powerful lineup headlined by two members of the 2018 NOVA Nine Team, Justin Taylor and Player of the Year Kyle Novak.

This year’s other nominees included: Diamond Elite 2019, which finished third at Perfect Game’s BCA 17U National Championship and No. 34 in its final national rankings; Leesburg Post 34, which made a Cinderella run to the championship game at the American Legion Mid-Atlantic Regionals; the Marucci Stars 2019 Carroll, which won 40 games and finished third at the Perfect Game WWBA Super25 National Championship; Metro Senators 2021 Raley, which won 22 of 28 games over the summer; and the Northern Fairfax County 16-18 All-Stars, which won the Southeast Regional and advanced to the Babe Ruth World Series.

In the seventh story in our Year in Review series, the magazine summarizes each of the nominees for our High School Offseason Team of the Year:

Team: Vienna Post 180
Affiliation: American Legion
Head Coach: Nick Good
Assistant Coaches: Tom Gately
Record: 31-5 overall (includes playoffs)
Team Summary: A stacked roster featuring two players from the 2018 NOVA Nine Team - Justin Taylor and Kyle Novak, the magazine’s Player of the Year - led Post 180 to its first state championship since 1990. Behind a high-powered lineup that hit a collective .354 and scored just under 10 runs a game, Vienna jumped out to a 14-0 start and had two more seven-game winning streaks. The team escaped Winchester Post 21, 5-4, in the state semifinals before blitzing Adam’s Post 86, 15-1, in the final behind a complete-game effort from ace Jake Nielsen. A roster depleted by injury and outside commitments was unable to continue the run at the Mid-Atlantic Regionals, but nonetheless the Vienna club turned in a memorable summer campaign. Taylor (Cornell), Novak (James Madison) and Nielsen (Brigham Young) are now playing at the Division I level and several others are or will play at smaller schools. Taylor hit a team-high .442 with 26 RBI and was named the MVP of the state tournament, Novak hit .421 with 29 RBI while Eric Lingebach (.441, 5 HR, 51 RBI), Avery Neaves (.393, 5 HR, 25 RBI) and Nate Leas (.348, 2 HR, 30 RBI) rounded out the middle of the order. Nielsen went a perfect 7-0 while pacing the staff in strikeouts (41) and innings (49.0), and Taylor compiled a 2.19 ERA in 12.1 innings as the team’s closer.

Team: Diamond Elite 2019
Affiliation: Travel/Showcase
Head Coach: Sam Plank
Assistant Coaches: Bill Mason
Record: 27-4-1 overall
Team Summary: Featuring four players committed to Division I programs, Diamond Elite won regional Prospect Wire, Dynamic and D1Draftable events over the summer and excelled on the national stage by going 7-1-1 and placing third at the Perfect Game BCS 17U National Championship in Fort Myers, FL in July. Coached by Riverside High School skipper Sam Plank, the Loudoun County-based team finished ranked No. 34 in Perfect Game’s national ranking of Class of 2019 travel teams. Diamond Elite was paced by two players who were selected to the magazine’s 2018 NOVA Nine Team - Riverside shortstop Carson Swank (Yale) and Potomac Falls left-hander and outfielder Nate Savino (Virginia) - as well as two right-handers who will pitch at James Madison, Kettle Run’s Joe Vogatsky and Sherando’s Hunter Entsminger. Other standouts included Rock Ridge infielder Josh Harbinson and Riverside left-hander and first baseman Nick Connolly.

Team: Leesburg Post 34
Affiliation: American Legion
Head Coach: Brenton Peters
Assistant Coaches: Daniel Gershen, Kris Pratt, Brandall Peters, Forrest Walker
Record: 15-9-1 overall
Team Summary: Post 34 had an up-and-down regular season and an early exit from the state tournament, but as the host team found itself alive and well in the Mid-Atlantic Regional in August. The upstart Rangers then rode the bats of Connor Miller and John Marquart and the arms of Patrick Burke, Wes Glass, Michael Grupe and youngster Ryan Dudak to within a game of a second American Legion World Series in three years. After dropping its opening game at the double-elimination regional, Leesburg won four straight - including a 12-10 comeback victory over Souderton (PA) Post 234 in the semifinals - before falling to eventual World Series champion Winchester (DE) Post 1 in the final. Miller, the 2018 graduate of Loudoun Valley who is now playing at Randolph-Macon, paced the team in batting average (.446), hits (33), runs (25) and steals (13) and was the toughest out in the regional tournament. Loudoun Valley’s Marquart, meanwhile, led the team with two homers and 22 RBI. Burke, a Loudoun County grad who is now pitching at Roanoke, had a team-best 1.73 ERA while Glass, who graduated Riverside in June and is now pitching at Young Harris College, paced Post 34 with 51 strikeouts in 37.1 innings.

Team: Marucci Stars 2019 Carroll
Affiliation: Travel/Showcase
Head Coach: Carson Carroll
Assistant Coaches: None
Record: 40-8 overall
Team Summary: Skippered by longtime travel and showcase coach Carson Carroll, the Stars turned in another successful campaign after their two predecessors had won this category. They went 34-6 over the summer, going 5-2 in pool play at the Perfect Game WWBA 17U National Championship in June and finishing third at the Perfect Game WWBA Super25 National Championship in July. The Stars rostered several Division I recruits, including Battlefield shortstop and right-hander Zach Agnos (East Carolina), a member of the 2018 NOVA Nine Team, as well as Lake Braddock first baseman and right-hander Lyle Miller-Green (George Mason), Centreville pitcher Hunter Bell (Virginia Commonwealth), Madison lefty Matt Howat (William & Mary), Loudoun County lefty Donovan Burke (James Madison), Battlefield outfielder Carter Cunningham (Gardner-Webb), Freedom-South Riding infielder Ben Williamson (William & Mary), Robinson catcher Ethan Rothstein (James Madison), Leonardtown (MD) outfielder Nick Burch (Naval Academy), Flint Hill pitcher Alex Walsh (Lafayette) and Colgan outfielder Ryley Johnson (East Carolina).

Team: Marucci Stars 2022 Molina
Head Coach: Pete Greenwood
Assistant Coaches: Jim Triantos, Greg Knowles, Dave Zamora
Record: 32-6 overall
Team Summary: The Stars went navigated a grueling schedule en route to the Perfect Game BCA 15U National Championship in June, then went 6-1 and barely missed advancing from their pool the following month at the Perfect Game WWBA 15U National Championship en route to a No. 6 national ranking at the end of the year. Team was led by three Division I commits, including Justice’s Dean Kampschror (Virginia) and Northern Virginia residents James Triantos (North Carolina) and Evan Smith (West Virginia) from St. John’s (D.C.). Other top players included Annandale’s Danny Salisbury, Lake Braddock’s Andrew Schaeb, Broad Run’s Connor Hale, Robinson’s Warren Holzemer, Madison’s Colin Tuft and Forest Park’s Nathan Williams.

Team: Metro Senators 2021 Raley
Affiliation: Travel/Showcase
Head Coach: Dan Raley
Assistant Coaches: Bryan Blanton
Record: 28-14-1
Team Summary: The Senators won 22 of 28 games over the summer before stumbling in the fall after losing several players to their high school football teams, nonetheless turned in a stellar campaign under longtime Potomac High School assistant and area hitting instructor Dan Raley. During its summer run, the team won the Tri-County Schools Out 16u Tournament. The Senators were paced at the plate by Dylan Heil, who hit .402 with 26 RBI and 22 stolen bases, and on the mound by Phillip Gilbert, who compiled a 3.50 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 42.2 innings.

Team: Northern Fairfax County 16-18 All-Stars
Affiliation: Babe Ruth League
Head Coach: Dave Gould
Assistant Coaches: Donnie Bradley, John Lesch, Jeff Blevins
Record: 12-6
Team Summary: The NFC All-Stars bounced back after losing in the state championship game to Southwestern Youth Association, avenging the loss by defeating SYA in the Southeast Regional final to advance to the Babe Ruth World Series in New York. There, they advanced to the quarterfinals on thanks to a walk-off single by recent Chantilly graduate Christian Parana in their final pool play game. The team was led offensively by Parana, Ryan Hodinko, Justin Blevins, Matt Holsten and Jack Fitzhugh.

Photo of Vienna Post 180’s Justin Taylor by Joey Kamide