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

Year in Review: 2018’s Top Highlight Videos


December 28 - The magazine was on location to cover several big games and tournaments in 2018, and captured or had submitted video for some of Northern Virginia’s biggest plays of the year.

In the third story in our Year in Review series, the magazine explores the top Northern Virginia baseball plays caught on video over the past year:

South Lakes’ Taylor Completes Perfect Game

On Mar. 16, South Lakes senior Josh Taylor tossed the area’s lone no-hitter in a 6-0 win over Hayfield. Taylor struck out 13 - including the final seven batters he faced - and didn’t reach a three-ball count until the final hitter he faced. He needed just 75 pitches to retire the 21 batters, and used the outing to spark a season that saw him win the Liberty District Pitcher of the Year award and share the Region 6D honor with Marshall’s Patrick Halligan. Video via ClutchPlay Pictures.


 

Ortega Records Save, Sends Paul VI to State Semifinals

On May 15, Paul VI Catholic junior left-hander got the final three outs to earn the save in the Panthers’ 3-2 win over Flint Hill in the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) Division I state quarterfinals. Ortega’s relief work came after starter Thomas Russell struck out eight over six innings en route to his eighth win of the season. Paul VI would see its season end in the semifinals, dropping a 7-2 decision to Norfolk Academy.



Colgan’s Johnson Flashes Athleticism, Leaps Catcher

On May 16, Colgan sophomore outfielder Ryley Johnson - with no clear path to home plate - demonstrated tremendous athleticism by flipping over Gar-Field catcher Eric Rodriguez in attempt to score. Johnson, however was tagged by Rodriguez while in mid-air and called out, and the Indians escaped with a 1-0 win behind Marty Neal’s two-hit shutout in their Cardinal District quarterfinal matchup in Manassas. Video via Prince William Sports and Entertainment.



Future UVA Hurlers Sanchez, Eikhoff Square Off in Regionals

On May 23, two future University of Virginia pitchers faced off when Centreville and senior right-hander Cristian Sanchez traveled to face Patriot and junior righty Riley Eikhoff in a Region 6D quarterfinal contest in Nokesville. The matchup didn’t yield a pitchers’ duel as those in attendance had hoped for, as Eikhoff was lifted after surrendering five runs (four earned) over 1.1 innings in the Wildcats’ 6-1 win. Sanchez worked out of multiple jams and earned the decision after allowing one run on three hits and four walks over five innings. Centreville would fall a game short of clinching a berth in the Class 6 state tournament when it dropped its next game, 5-2, to Chantilly in the region semifinals.



Robinson’s Walk-off Sac Fly Scores Chen, Gives Stars Kyle’s Kamp Title

On May 28, Jack Robinson drove home Nathan Chen with a walk-off sacrifice fly to give Marucci Stars 14U Holman an extra-inning victory in the championship game of the Kyle’s Kamp Memorial Day Tournament at Waters Field in Vienna. We slowed the video down to show how close the play at the plate was on the game-winning play. Video via Marucci Stars.



Caroline’s Catch Clinches Freedom’s State Tournament Berth

On May 30, Jonathan Fisher made a splash by outdueling Potomac Falls southpaw Nate Savino in a 1-0 victory, but it was his catcher who made the game’s biggest play when Drew Caroline made a sliding catch against the backstop to end the Region 5C semifinal contest and send Freedom-South Riding to the Class 5 state tournament. The Eagles would then beat Briar Woods to claim the region championship and advance to the state semifinals before falling to Potomac.



Cunningham’s 3-Run Triple Clinches Region 6D Title for Battlefield

On June 1, Battlefield junior outfielder Carter Cunningham hit a bases-clearing three-run triple in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a tie and provide the winning margin in a 7-4 win over Chantilly in the Region 6D championship game. Cunningham’s hit capped a game that saw him go 3-for-3 with four RBI and gave the Bobcats some semblance of revenge against a Chargers program that had knocked them off in the region and state championship games in 2016. Battlefield’s season would come to an end in its next game, a 6-5 loss to Lake Braddock in the Class 6 state quarterfinals. Video via Chris Cunningham.



Martin Gets Final Out as West Springfield Wins 4th State Championship

On June 9, West Springfield senior reliever Kyle Martin records the final out in the Spartans’ 12-2 win over Western Branch in the Class 6 state championship game in Glen Allen. Martin went the final two innings after starter Jared Lyons, who also hit a grand slam in the victory, struck out 10 while allowing one run in five innings. West Springfield finished 24-5 and ranked No. 1 in the Northern Virginia Top 10 Poll after winning the program’s fourth state title.



Eisert’s Sac Fly, Swank’s Dash Clinches North’s Berth in Gold Medal Game

On July 21, Bishop O’Connell’s Eddie Eisert drives a sacrifice fly to left field to score Riverside’s Carson Swank and give the North team a 3-2 walk-off win over the West that clinched a rematch between the teams in the Commonwealth Games gold medal game the following day. Woodbridge’s Magnus Ellerts and Centreville’s Hunter Bell stymied the West bats in the contest, combining for 10 strikeouts and allowing one earned run on two hits. Potomac Falls’ Nate Savino and Potomac’s Brody Mack drove in the North’s other two runs.



Swank’s 3-Run Triple Sparks North to Lopsided Win in Commonwealth Games Final

On July 22, Riverside’s Carson Swank clears the bases with a three-run triple as the North team pulls away in its 10-0 rain-shortened win over the West in the Commonwealth Games gold medal game in Lynchburg. Swank would finish with two hits, Potomac Falls’ Nate Savino added three RBI and Colgan’s Ryley Johnson and Briar Woods’ Nathan Cmeyla each had two hits as the North won its eighth Commonwealth Games title in nine years under coach Mike Covington.



Loudoun South’s Lizama Makes Diving Catch at Little League Regionals

On Aug. 4, Loudoun South outfielder Cameron Lizama made a diving catch to end the top of the first inning against Georgia state champion Peachtree City at the Little League Southeast Regional Tournament. Loudoun South would drop the contest, 4-3, but then win three straight to set up a rematch in the region final against Peachtree City. The local team lost in the final, 3-0, in a game broadcast nationally on ESPN2 and fell a win short of becoming the first Northern Virginia team to reach the Little League World Series since 1994. Lizama’s father, Sean, was the team’s head coach. Photo via ESPN+ broadcast.


 

Taylor Leads Vienna Post 180 to American Legion State Title

On Aug. 4, Justin Taylor singles through a drawn-in infield as Vienna Post 180 begins to pull away from Adam’s Post 86 en route to a 15-1 win in the American Legion state championship game in Winchester. Taylor wold finish the day 3-for-5 with five RBI and earned tournament MVP honors. Vienna finished the season 31-5, tying a post record for victories, after being eliminated in the Mid-Atlantic Regionals the following week. Taylor is now playing at Cornell University.



Hanvey’s 2-Run Single Lifts Leesburg Post 34 to Mid-Atlantic Final

On Aug. 12, Justin Hanvey hits a go-ahead two-run single in the top of the seventh inning as Leesburg Post 34 would come from behind to beat Souderton (PA) Post 234, 12-2, and clinch a berth in the American Legion Mid-Atlantic Region championship game. Hanvey, who is now playing at Radford University, finished with two hits and John Marquart was 3-for-3 with two RBI in the win. Post 34 would have its run end with a 10-0 loss in the final to Wilmington (DE) Post 1, which would then go on to win the American Legion World Series championship the following week in Shelby, N.C.



Note to Readers: If you have a video from 2018 that you’d like to have considered, please send it via email and we will review as a potential addition to this story.

Photo of Colgan’s Ryley Johnson and Gar-Field’s Eric Rodriguez courtesy of Prince William Sports and Entertainment broadcast

Year in Review: 2018’s Top Storylines


December 28 - Two area teams claimed high school state championships, a Little League team just missed becoming the first from Northern Virginia to advance to Williamsport in a quarter of a century, the local minor league club got a new ballpark deal, and one of the winningest prep coaches in area history called it quits.

In the second story in our Year in Review series, the magazine explores those headlines and other top Northern Virginia baseball stories from the past year:

West Potomac Overcomes Off-Field Drama, Wins 1st District Title Since ‘94

In March, what looked to be a state tournament-quality team nearly had its season derailed before it even started, as a two-year-old hazing incident was uncovered at West Potomac and led to the dismissal of two players and the suspension of another. Then longtime coach Jim Sullivan resigned in April due to a disagreement with school administration. Nonetheless, the Wolverines were able to win the Gunston District for the program’s first league title since 1994 before falling in the Region 6C quarterfinals to W.T. Woodson. The team was paced offensively by Alec Roberts, who hit .500 with an area-high eight home runs and 33 RBI after transferring from Edison. He is now playing at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Dramatic Wins Spark Chantilly’s Turnaround, Run to State Tournament

In early May, a fourth trip to the state tournament in five years seemed improbable as Chantilly had lost nine of its first 15 games. But then the Chargers found lightning in a bottle, getting walk-off singles from Connor Pennell to beat Loudoun Valley and Westfield and a walk-off homer from Christian Parana to beat Oakton and avoid the Concorde District’s play-in game. Coach Kevin Ford’s team then advanced to the Concorde District final and Region 6D final before having its season end with a state quarterfinal loss to eventual champion West Springfield.

Fauquier Upsets Top-Ranked Riverside, Clinches State Berth

In late May, Riverside was riding a 10-game winning streak and in its third week as the No. 1 team in the Northern Virginia Top 10 Poll entering its Region 4C semifinal contest against then-unranked Fauquier. But the Rams would see their season end following the season’s biggest upset, dropping an 8-6 decision to the Falcons, who would then beat Woodgrove to win the region title and advance to the Class 4 state semifinals before falling to eventual champion Salem. Blaze O’Saben, a member of the NOVA Nine Team, had three hits as Fauquier built 5-0 and 8-2 leads, then Carson McCusker would toss three innings of scoreless relief to clinich the upset and a berth in the state tournament.

Madison’s Novak Named NOVA Nine Player of the Year

In June, a record four underclassmen were named to the NOVA Nine Team, including the first-ever sophomore, Potomac Falls left-hander Nate Savino. He was joined by three juniors - Riverside’s Carson Swank, Potomac’s Brody Mack and Battlefield’s Zach Agnos - and five seniors - Marshall’s Patrick Halligan, Fauquier’s Blaze O’Saben, Paul VI Catholic’s Thomas Russell, Lake Braddock’s Matt Thomas and Madison’s Kyle Novak, who was named the Player of the Year after hitting .527 with five home runs and 26 RBI. All five seniors named to the team are now playing collegiately at the Division I level, Halligan at George Mason University, O’Saben at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, Russell at the Naval Academy, Thomas at the College of William & Mary, and Novak at James Madison University.

West Springfield, Spotsylvania Win State Championships

In June, West Springfield rode the pitching tandem of Jared Lyons and Calvin Pastel past rival Lake Braddock in the Region 6C final and again in the Class 6 state semifinals, then upended defending state champion Western Branch in the championship game. The state title was the Spartans’ fourth in program history, tying Madison for the most among area public schools. Spotsylvania, meanwhile, overcame an 8-5 deficit by rallying for eight straight runs, forcing extra innings before scoring five in the top of the eighth in a 13-8 win over Abingdon in the Class 3 state final. The championship was the Knights’ first in program history.

Agnos Shines with USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team

In late June, Jake Agnos, a graduate of Battlefield and the 2016 NOVA Nine Player of the Year, became the latest area player selected to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. The then-rising East Carolina University junior left-hander was one of the CNT’s top pitchers in tuneup games against teams from the Coastal Plains summer collegiate league and in friendship series against Chinese Taipei and Cuba in July. Agnos compiled a 0.96 ERA in four relief appearances, striking out 14 while walking just one in 9.1 innings. His performance impressed professional scouts and improved his stock for the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft. The previous area player named to the CNT, Stone Bridge grad J.B. Bukauskas (in 2016), was a first-round pick by the Houston Astros in 2017.

Lake Braddock’s Rutherford Steps Down After 17 Seasons

In July, Lake Braddock coach Jody Rutherford stepped down after guiding the Burke school to 315 victories since 2002. Under his guidance, the Bruins won seven district and three region championships and in 2012 claimed the program’s first state title. Rutherford’s teams never had a losing season and reached the 20-win plateau seven times, including last spring, when Lake Braddock went 21-5 and won the Patriot District title before falling in the region final and state semifinals. Former McLean head coach John Thomas, who had spent the previous four seasons as the Bruins’ pitching coach, was tabbed the following month as Rutherford’s replacement. He became just the program’s third coach since 1985, as his predecessors, Dan Griel and Rutherford, each spent 17 seasons at the helm.

Vienna Post 180 Wins American Legion State Championship

In August, behind the likes of Kyle Novak, Justin Taylor, Jake Nielsen, Eric Lingebach, Avery Neaves and Nate Leas, manager Nick Good’s Vienna Post 180 club won it first American Legion state championship since 1990 and became the first team from Northern Virginia to win a title since 1992. Novak, the NOVA Nine Player of the Year who is now playing at James Madison University, hit .421 with 29 RBI in 22 games. Taylor, who is now playing at Cornell University, hit .442 with 26 RBI and was named the most valuable player of the state tournament. Lingebach posted huge numbers, hitting .441 with a post-record nine triples along with five homers and 51 RBI, while Neaves (.393, 5 HR, 25 RBI) and Leas (.348, 2 HR, 30 RBI) also keyed a lineup that averaged nearly 10 runs per game and set a club record with a .354 team batting average. Nielsen, who will pitch at Brigham Young University, went a perfect 7-0 and joined his father, Mike, as members of the family to win a state title with Post 180. Vienna finished 31-5, matching its record for wins in a season originally set by the 1990 team.

Loudoun South’s Williamsport Bid Falls 1 Win Short

In August, Loudoun South Little League swept through its district and state tournaments and advanced to the championship game of the Southeast Regional before falling, 3-0, to Peachtree City, GA. The team, coached by Sean Lizama, fell one victory short of becoming the first area team since Central Springfield in 1994 to advance to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA. Loudoun South was led offensively by Chad Yates (.583 batting average) and Griffin Burkholder (6 HR, 20 RBI) and on the mound by Shawn Arneja (5 wins, 0.39 ERA, 53 K’s in 30.2 IP) and Yates (53 K’s) over its 16 games.

Potomac Nationals Get New Ballpark Deal with City of Fredericksburg

In November, the Potomac Nationals announced that they would be moving to a new $35 million ballpark in Fredericksburg in 2020, ending the club’s near two-decade search for a new home. The 2019 season will be the Single-A Carolina League affiliate’s final campaign at Pfitzner Stadium, which opened in 1984 when the club moved from Alexandria. Officials in Prince William County are exploring options for how to utilize Pfitzner Stadium moving forward.

Photo of former Lake Braddock coach Jody Rutherford by Fred Ingham

Year in Review: 2018 by the Numbers


December 27 - This year provided Northern Virginia fans with plenty of excitement at all levels of the game, producing an abundance of intriguing numbers and statistics.

In the first story in our Year in Review series, the magazine explores some of those numbers:

1990 - The last year Vienna Post 180 had won an American Legion state championship prior to this year’s team ending the post’s near-three decade drought. Vienna finished 31-5, tying the post’s record for wins.

1,108 - The number of days Freedom-Woodbridge went between victories before snapping a 59-game losing streak with a 14-8 win over Park View on April 30. The losing streak is believed to be the longest in Northern Virginia history.

.532 - Batting average of Lake Braddock’s Matt Thomas, who edged Madison’s Kyle Novak (.527) and Gar-Field’s Marty Neal (.527) for the Northern Virginia batting title. Thomas struck out just once during his senior season with the Bruins.

496 - The number of career victories Loudoun Valley coach Wayne Todd finished his 41st season with. He needs four to become the first Northern Virginia coach to reach the 500-win milestone.

121 - Career hits by Madison’s Kyle Novak, who had 39 during his senior campaign en route to NOVA Nine Player of the Year honors.

109 - Strikeouts recorded by Potomac Falls lefty Nate Savino, who reached the area-best total in 51.1 innings. He became the first sophomore ever selected to the NOVA Nine Team.

75 - The number of pitches needed by South Lakes’ Josh Taylor while tossing the area’s lone perfect game in a 6-0 win over Hayfield on March 16. Taylor struck out 13 - including the final seven he faced - and didn’t reach a three-ball count until the final batter he faced.

56 - Consecutive victories by the Marucci Stars 10U Camp travel team to conclude its year. The group of elementary school kids won the final 10 tournaments they played in.

43 - Consecutive scoreless innings recorded by Paul VI Catholic’s Thomas Russell, who did not surrender a run during the regular season in his senior campaign. He was named to the magazine’s NOVA Nine Team.

35 - The number of million dollars the Potomac Nationals’ new stadium in Fredericksburg will cost to build. The ballpark will open in April 2020 and will mark the club’s 36-year stay at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge.

8 - Consecutive runs scored by Spotsylvania en route to a 13-8 win over Abingdon in the Class 3 state final. The Knights trailed 8-5 before sending the game into extra innings, then plated five runs in the top of the eighth to clinch the program’s first state championship.

4 - Northern Virginia natives to appear in the Major Leagues this year, a list that includes Brandon Guyer (Herndon), Brandon Snyder (Westfield), Justin Bour (Westfield) and Bobby Wahl (West Springfield). Guyer played the entire season with the Cleveland Indians, Snyder had a brief April stint with the Tampa Bay Rays, while the other two were part of midseason trades that sent Bour from Miami to Philadelphia and Wahl from Oakland to the New York Mets.

4  - The number of state championships in program history for West Springfield, which won the Class 6 title in June to match Madison for the most among Northern Virginia public schools. Paul VI Catholic has won five private school state championships, the most overall among area schools.

2 - Pitchers from George Mason selected in the Major League Baseball Draft in June. Zach Mort and Bryce Nightengale were taken by the Chicago Cubs in the eighth round and the Oakland Athletics in the 16th round, respectively, after helping the Patriots reach the Atlantic-10 Conference championship game.

1 - The number of wins Loudoun South Little League fell short of in its attempt to become the first area team since Central Springfield in 1994 to advance to the Little League World Series. Loudoun South fell to Peachtree City, GA in the Southeast Region final in August.

Photo of Thomas Russell by Fred Ingham

The Mag’s 2018 Year in Review Preview


December 24 - The magazine’s series of Year in Review features will kick off tomorrow and run through the final week of 2018.

The series will include a video feature of highlights and interviews from the year, a story recapping the biggest headlines in 2018, our Teams of the Year feature which will award winners in eight categories - youth all-star, youth travel, middle school travel, junior varsity, varsity, high school summer/fall, collegiate and men’s league - and six feature stories focusing on high school players and teams from Northern Virginia.

We will also have polls and other social media interaction over the final week of the year. The deadline for Teams of the Year nominations has been extended to 12 p.m. on Wednesday. The form can be found here.

Here is the magazine’s 2018 Year in Review schedule:

Tuesday, Dec. 25 - 2018 Highlight Video

Wednesday, Dec. 26 - 2018 Year in Review Story

Thursday, Dec. 27 - 2018 Teams of the Year Announcements

Friday, Dec. 28 - Feature Stories: Gar-Field’s Turnaround | Doug Grove’s retirement

Saturday, Dec. 29 - Feature Stories: End of Meade, Rall Era at Patriot | Emotional State Title Run for Spotsylvania’s Travis Payne

Sunday, Dec. 30 - Feature Stories: Emergence of Potomac Falls’ Nate Savino | Administrative Failures at Woodbridge’s Freedom

Monday, Dec. 31 - Redemption for West Springfield’s Jared Lyons | The 50-Year Anniversary of Madison’s 1968 State Title

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

Nomination Form Released for Mag’s 2018 Teams of the Year


December 17 - Nominations are being accepted for the magazine’s 2018 Teams of the Year, which are sponsored by Pitchers Edge in Vienna.

Now in its third year, the feature honors teams from the magazine’s Northern Virginia coverage area in Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania and Stafford counties and the City of Alexandria. Winners will again be named in eight categories - youth all-star, youth travel, middle school travel, junior varsity, varsity, high school summer/fall, collegiate and men’s league.

The winners will be announced in a series of stories along with other nominees at the end of the month.

Past honorees include two area high school state champions, Briar Woods in 2017 and Chantilly in 2016, and Little League state champions from Fort Hunt and Loudoun South. Last year, the middle school travel category was won by a Marucci Stars 14U Blue team that compiled 76 victories, and the 2016 winner of the junior varsity category, Paul VI Catholic, posted a perfect 20-0 record.

Teams from Loudoun County have swept the youth travel category in each of the first two years, while Marucci Stars 17U Red has won the high school summer/fall category both years. That category includes travel, showcase, American Legion and Babe Ruth teams.

Nominations must be submitted by team coaches or administrators, and team rosters must be comprised by at least 75% players who reside in the coverage area to be eligible. The deadline for submissions is Monday, Dec. 24.

To view the nomination form, click here.

2017 Winners
Youth All-Star: Fort Hunt LL (Majors)
Youth Travel: Loudoun South Eagles 10U
Middle School Travel: Marucci Stars 14U Blue
Junior Varsity: Madison High School
Varsity: Briar Woods High School
HS Summer/Fall: Marucci Stars 17U Red
Collegiate: Alexandria Aces
Men’s League: Senators

2016 Winners
Youth All-Star: Loudoun South LL (9/10)
Youth Travel: Loudoun Aces 11U Blue
Middle School Travel: MVP Terps 14U Blue
Junior Varsity: Paul VI Catholic High School
Varsity: Chantilly High School
HS Summer/Fall: Marucci Stars 17U Red
Collegiate: Marymount University
Men’s League: Falls Church Barons

Fauquier’s Central Sports Complex Will Include 5 New Diamonds


December 16 - Fauquier County’s board of supervisors on Thursday approved the development of a new Central Sports Complex that will include four 60-foot fields and one 90-foot diamond.

The county’s four supervisors voted unanimously to approve the project, which has been debated by county executives and community members for nearly two decades. The complex will be located adjacent to the Fauquier County Fairgrounds, roughly 10 minutes southeast of Warrenton.

The addition of the fields will help alleviate a shortage faced by the county’s baseball groups.

To date, Fauquier has just nine 90-foot diamonds - one at each of the county’s four high schools, three at middle schools, one at an elementary school and one at Northern Fauquier Community Park. The new complex’s four 60-foot diamonds and close proximity to the commerce district in Warrenton could also allow for hosting youth tournaments.

“Hopefully it’ll help lessen the burden,” Kettle Run coach Ty Thorpe said. “It’s going to create opportunities to hopefully keep growing baseball in our county and get more kids involved. If it’s going to be like the Northern Park complex, it’ll be really nice.”

The 74-acre complex will cost $12.4 million and development could begin as soon as next month. Construction is expected to take 20 months, with an eye on an August 2020 opening. The complex will also include six multi-purpose rectangular fields and muti-purpose and horse trails.

Image courtesy of Fauquier County

Top 5 Most Influential People in Northern Virginia Baseball


December 14 - He wears several hats, and each time he puts one on area baseball seems to benefit.

Rob Hahne leads our list of the top five most influential people in Northern Virginia baseball, a title earned from serving and excelling in a number of capacities that have benefited the area game over the past decade-plus. The magazine’s list of the area’s most influential figures is based on a survey of several coaches, administrators and contributors and is based on their reach and impact on the local baseball community.

Here’s our list of the top five most influential baseball people in Northern Virginia, followed by notes on others who were considered.

1. Rob Hahne - Hahne holds several baseball-related titles and has been the biggest youth baseball advocate in Northern Virginia over the past decade. He is the executive director of the Northern Virginia Travel Baseball League (NVTBL) - the nation’s largest travel league - as well as the president of the Fairfax County Baseball Council and the head coach at Westfield High School. When his son, Kyle, was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2010, he established Kyle’s Kamp, which has raised over $2,000,000 for pediatric cancer research and care for Children's National through its several annual fundraising efforts and events.

2. John Porter - He’s the first name coaches as well as team, school or league administrators think of regarding umpires in the area. Porter is the commissioner of the Northern Virginia Baseball Umpires Association and Mid-Atlantic Officials, which provide umpires for youth, travel, high school and college games. Each year, from March through early November, Porter’s organizations provide the umpires for thousands of games and are integral to the daily operation and annual growth of the game in Northern Virginia.

3. Art Silber - He spent close to $500,000 in 1990 to purchase the Single-A minor league team now known as the Potomac Nationals, and has overseen the club as its net worth has grown to more than $15 million. After several failed attempts to identify locations to build a replacement for 34-year-old Pfitzner Stadium, Silber and his ownership group finally landed their new ballpark deal with the City of Fredericksburg. In 2020, they’ll unveil a new $35 million ballpark. In their near-three decades overseeing the club, the Silber family has remained involved in several community and youth sports initiatives in Prince William County and beyond.

4. Mark ‘Pudge’ Gjormand - In addition to building one of the area’s top high school baseball programs at Madison, Gjormand serves as the director of the MVP Baseball School in Herndon, the Greater Vienna Sports Camps and the MVP International program that sends teams abroad each summer. He has established one of the area’s top middle school travel programs in the MVP Terps, helped the Reston Little League establish its Reston Warriors youth travel program, and is a constant presence with and advocate of the Vienna Little League. His coaching tree also continues to grow, with several former players and assistants now coaching at area high schools.

5. Mike Colangelo and Shawn Camp - The two former Major Leaguers are synonymous as the owners of the Marucci Stars, the area’s largest travel program, as well as what has become the biggest academy in Northern Virginia, the Complete Game Sports & Fitness facility in Manassas. Colangelo Baseball and the Shawn Camp Pitching Academy are major components of the facility, as are the Athlete’s Addiction training academy run by Colangelo’s wife, Robin, and the Catchers U academy operated by Jack Ferrick. They both coach at the high school level - Colangelo as the head coach at Colgan and Camp as the pitching coach at Battlefield - and also coach at several levels within the Stars program.

Others Considered: Pat Herrity, the Springfield District Supervisor with the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, has been a major advocate of youth baseball and the establishment and upgrade of facilities for a number of years. … John Lombardozzi founded the NVTBL in 1999 and remains the president of what has grown to become the largest travel league in the country. HIs wife, Lisa, also remains an integral part of the NVTBL operations … Sam Plank, who is also a state champion coach at the high school level, has built Diamond Elite into the premier travel program and training academy in Loudoun County. … Marla Lerner Tanenbaum, the daughter of Washington Nationals founding owner Ted Lerner and the sister of their current managing principal owner, Mark Lerner, has overseen the development of two sparkling new youth facilities as the chair of the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation. The foundation has funded the Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez Field at Mason District Park in Falls Church and the Bryce Harper All-Star Complex at Fred Crabtree Park in Herndon. … Bill Brown has been the head coach at Northern Virginia’s lone Division I college program since 1982, and a number of his former players and coaches currently coach or serve as administrators at the youth, high school, college and professional levels. … Mike Murray has run the area’s longest-running baseball academy, his Virginia Baseball Club was founded in 1992, and he remains very active in the Arlington youth leagues. … As the manager of the Fairfax County Athletics Services Division, Karen Avvisato oversees applications for the county’s community use for fields and gyms and works with the county’s parks and recreation department and local politicians on facility development and upgrades. … Billy Emerson has served as the athletics director while Paul VI Catholic High School has morphed into Northern Virginia’s premier private school sports program, and the Panthers’ baseball coach also serves on the state committee for the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association. … Carson Carroll established the Marucci Stars in 2008, and he remains involved as a coach as the travel program has grown to become the biggest in Northern Virginia. … Jim Grenier operates Leesburg Post 34’s program and serves as the Virginia state director for the American Legion. … Mike Covington is one of the area’s most-accomplished high school coaches and has also overseen the North team at the Commonwealth Games for the past 27 years. … He’s been retired as a high school coach for almost two decades, but Ron Tugwell continues to be a mentor for numerous area coaches and has an expansive coaching tree at all levels of the game. … The chairman of Vienna Little League, Bill Cervenak has for over three decades been a key figure in the area’s largest youth league, which feeds some of the area’s best high school programs in Madison, Oakton, Marshall and Flint Hill. … The longtime commissioner of the D.C. Men’s Senior Baseball League (MSBL), Jerry Klemm has been a constant presence in area men’s league baseball.

Note: Today’s story is part our series ranking the area’s best coaches, programs, fields and contributors.

Photo of Rob Hahne courtesy of Kyle’s Kamp