November 5 - Brian O’Connor and his staff at the University of Virginia earlier today gained the commitment of Paul VI Catholic freshman left-handed pitcher Bradley Gagen, the Cavaliers’ latest commitment from a young Northern Virginia arm.
The 6-foot-1, 150-pound Gagen had his fastball clocked at 80 MPH two weeks ago at the Perfect Game WWBA Freshman World Championship, when he struck out six in five innings but was reached for three runs on three hits and four walks for his EvoShield Canes 15U American travel team.
The left-handed swinging Gagen plays first base and in the outfield when not on the mound. His twin brother, Jack, is a freshman catcher at Paul VI. The two reside in Ashburn.
“Congrats [UVA] and congrats Bradley,” Paul VI coach Billy Emerson posted on his Twitter page this afternoon. “We’re glad to have you (and your twin) for the next four years!”
The Panthers went 24-7 last spring, advancing to the semifinals of both the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and VISAA Division I state tournaments. Emerson’s staff is expected to be anchored in 2019 by senior lefty Nick Ortega, a second-team All-WCAC selection who will pitch for the University of Mary Washington. Paul VI graduated three Division I hurlers in Thomas Russell (Naval Academy), Jack Weeks (Georgetown) and Carter Spivey (East Carolina).
Two years ago, Virginia gained the commitment of Bishop O’Connell lefty Jake Berry during the fall of his freshman year. The 6-foot-8 Berry is expected to make his high school debut as a junior this spring after battling multiple knee injuries and a bout with cancer last winter.
The Cavaliers have also landed early commitments from three area pitchers: Patriot junior Riley Eikhoff, Justice sophomore lefty Dean Kampschror and St John’s (D.C.) freshman Jack O’Connor, a resident of Arlington. All three committed prior to their sophomore seasons.
Virginia and pitching coach Karl Kuhn have a track record of recruiting and developing pitchers from the area, producing Major League Baseball draft selections Josh Sborz (McLean), Alec Bettinger (C.D. Hylton) and Tommy Doyle (Flint Hill) since 2015. The Cavaliers went 29-25 overall and 12-18 in the Atlantic Coast Conference last spring, snapping a 14-year streak of earning NCAA Tournament appearances under O’Connor.
Photo courtesy of Gagen Family