McLean American, Fairfax National Punch Tickets to Little League State Tournament

July 13 - McLean Amerian and Fairfax National have clinched spots in next week’s Little League state tournament, and two additional area teams will punch tickets today. 

McLean American beat Great Falls, 8-7, to clinch the District 4 championship earlier this week, while Fairfax National beat Chantilly Youth Association, 7-1, to claim its third straight District 10 title.

Last night, Loudoun South American beat Loudoun South National, 4-0, to force a second game to determine the District 16 champion. They will play this morning at 10 a.m. at Lions Field in Sterling. Also this morning, unbeaten West Springfield American and Fort Hunt will play for the District 9 title at 10:00 in Alexandria, with Fort Hunt needing to win to force a second game. 

The state tournament will begin with pool play on Friday in Abingdon, with the championship game scheduled for July 23. Teams from Northern Virginia have won the past three state titles, with Loudoun South American winning last year and advancing to the Southeast Region final before falling to Georgia’s Peachtree City American.

The last team from Virginia to advance to the Little League World Series was Central Springfield in 1994. 

Here’s an update from the other Little League, Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth division state tournaments: 

Little League 8-10 Year-Old Division: Entering the final day of pool play in Norfolk, Loudoun South American (2-0), Tuckahoe National (2-0) and Vienna National (2-0) top their pools while Spotsylvania County (2-0) and SYA East (2-0) will play tonight for the top seed out of their pool at stake. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be held tomorrow, with the championship game at the single-elimination tournament on Monday. 

Little League 9-10 Year-Old Division: The tournament opened with pool play yesterday in Bluefield, with Vienna American, SYA East and Loudoun South American winning their first games. West Springfield American begins play today. Single-elimination bracket play begins on Monday with the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, with the championship game scheduled for Tuesday. 

Little League Intermediate Division: The five-team double-elimination tournament began play in Hampton yesterday, with Alexandria beating Fort Hunt, 17-7, before falling to Richmond, 5-4, in its second game. Both teams play in elimination games today. The championship game is scheduled for 10:00 on Monday, with a 1:00 game to follow if necessary. 

Little League Juniors Division: The double-elimination tournament begins on Friday in Bridgewater, with the championship game scheduled for July 23. Loudoun South will represent District 16, while the District 9 and District 10 champions will be determined over the next two days. District 4 did not hold a tournament. 

Little League Seniors Division: Central Accomack beat Wise, 5-3, in the championship game of the double-elimination tournament on Wednesday at Claude Moore Park in Sterling. The area’s two representatives, Woodbridge and Lower Loudoun, were eliminated early in bracket play over the weekend.

Cal Ripken 9-Year-Old Division: Earlier this week in Waynesboro, Arlington avenged its lone loss in the double-elimination tournament by claiming consecutive one-run contests from Gainesville-Haymarket. On Monday, Arlington won, 4-3, in eight innings to force a second game on Tuesday, then held off its Northern Virginia counterpart, 9-8, to claim the state title. 

Cal Ripken 10-Year-Old Division: Earlier this week in Glen Allen, Stafford advanced to the semifinals of the double-elimination tournament before falling, 5-4, to Glen Allen. Rockville won the state title.  

Cal Ripken 11-Year-Old Division: Last week in Winchester, Stafford advanced to the quarterfinals before falling, 12-4, to Williamsburg. Glen Allen won the state championship. 

Cal Ripken 12-Year-Old Division (60): In Glen Allen last weekend, Arlington advanced through the loser’s bracket in the double-elimination tournament before falling, 12-1, to Gloucester in the state final. Arlington had beaten Stafford, 13-12, in the semifinals to advance to the championship game. 

Cal Ripken 12-Year-Old Division (70): Earlier this week in Manassas, Pioneer advanced past Glen Allen in a nine-inning semifinal contest before falling, 5-3, to Williamsburg in the championship game. 

Babe Ruth 13-Year-Old Division: Two area teams - Arlington and Stafford - remain alive entering the third day of the double-elimination tournament in New Kent. Arlington can advance to tomorrow’s final with a win over Glen Allen, while Stafford needs to win twice to advance through the loser’s bracket. 

Babe Ruth 14-Year-Old Division: Five of the six area teams that qualified remain alive entering the third day of the double-elimination tournament in Herndon. Greater Loudoun and Southwestern Youth Association will meet in one quarterfinal while Stafford and Arlington will play in another. North Fairfax County plays in an elimination game tonight. The championship game is set for Monday at Stratton Woods Park. 

Babe Ruth 13-15 Year-Old Division: Four local teams - Greater Loudoun, Southwestern Youth Association, Arlington and Stafford - will take the field today in the third day at the double-elimination tournament in Arlington. The championship game is scheduled for Tuesday at Barcroft Park. 

Babe Ruth 16-18 Year-Old Division: Earlier this week in South Hill, Southwestern Youth Association blitzed the host team, 9-1, to claim the state championship. SYA won all four games at the double-elimination tournament. Arlington advanced to the semifinals before falling to South Hill, 4-1. 

Year in Review: Loudoun South American is Youth All-Star Team of the Year

January 1 - Loudoun South Little League has been named the magazine’s 2018 Youth All-Star Team of the Year after coming to within a win of reaching the Little League World Series in August.

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

Coached by Sean Lizama, Loudoun South American swept through the District 16 and Virginia state tournaments in dominant fashion, allowing just four runs in 10 games. They then reached the Southeast Region final before losing, 3-0, to Peachtree City, GA to fall a game shy of becoming the first team from Northern Virginia to reach Williamsport since Central Springfield in 1994.

This year’s other nominees included: Arlington National, which reached the Little League intermediate division state final; Loudoun South American, which won the Little League 10-11 year-old state title; and Southwestern Youth Association (SYA) East, which advanced to the Little League 8-10 year-old state semifinals.

In the 10th story in our Year in Review series, the magazine summarizes each of the nominees for our Youth All-Star Team of the Year:

Team: Loudoun South American
Affiliation: Little League
Head Coach: Sean Lizama
Assistant Coaches: Scott Lanouette, Vince Arneja
Record: 14-2 overall
Team Summary: Loudoun South swept its 10 games in the District 16 and Virginia state tournaments by a combined score of 91-4, then earned wins over the state champions from Alabama, North Carolina and West Virginia (twice) to reach the Southeast Region final. They’d lose, 3-0, in the championship game to the state champions from Georgia in a game broadcast nationally on ESPN2, falling a game shy of reaching the Little League World Series. In its 16 games, Loudoun South hit a collective .355 and slammed 13 home runs while the pitching staff compiled a 1.30 ERA and totaled 133 strikeouts. Chad Yates paced the team in batting average (.583) and hits (28), while Griffin Burkholder had team-highs in home runs (6) and RBI (20). Shawn Arneja anchored the pitching staff, winning five games while posting a 0.39 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 30.2 innings.

Team: Arlington National Intermediate
Affiliation: Little League
Head Coach: Glenn Swanson
Assistant Coaches: Sam Fox, Bobby Blyler, Jeff Grove
Record: 7-3 overall
Team Summary: Arlington’s postseason run almost ended before it got started, as coach Glenn Swanson’s team lost to their Arlington American counterparts in their first game at the District 4 Tournament before rebounding to win three straight and knock off Alexandria, 13-4, in the championship game. In the state tournament, Arlington again had to go through the loser’s bracket, getting a shutout from Landon Huth in a 15-0 semifinal win over Richmond before falling in the final to Broadway. Mason Bull, Charlie Grove and Ethan Van Sice paced the club offensively, while Huth, Grove and Van Sice anchored the pitching staff.

Team: Loudoun South American 10-11
Affiliation: Little League
Head Coach: Alan Bowden
Assistant Coaches: Keith Yates, Brian Triplett
Record: 14-3 overall
Team Summary: Just like its elder All-Star representatives, the Loudoun South American 10-11 year-old’s also made a deep postseason run over the summer en route to District 16 and Virginia state championships. They did it the hard way, dropping the first game in both double-elimination tournaments, then reeling off a total of 11 consecutive victories to win both titles. At the Southeast Region Tournament, they won their three pool play games - knocking off the state champions from Alabama, Florida and North Carolina - to claim the top seed in bracket play before falling in the semifinals. Loudoun South was paced offensively by Justin Lee (.500, 2 HR, 23 RBI) and Brady Yates (.460), while Maddox Webb earned the win in both the district and state championship games and finished with a team-best 1.52 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 19 innings. He tossed a one-hit shutout to beat Vienna in the state final.

Team: Southwestern Youth Association (SYA) East 8-10
Affiliation: Little League
Head Coach: Mike Gambone
Assistant Coaches: Doug Neely, Aaron Rosenberg
Record: 9-1 overall
Team Summary: SYA East swept its five games to capture the District 10 championship - knocking off Annandale-North Springfield, 12-3, in the final - and won four more before having its postseason run end in the state semifinals with a 5-3 loss to West Springfield American. During its nine-game winning streak, SYA outscored its opponents 96-35 and reached double-digit run totals four times.

Photo of Griffin Burkholder courtesy of Loudoun South Little League

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: 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

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