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