Prep Baseball Report

5A State Tournament Preview


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By John Nolan
Assistant Director of Scouting/Content Management 

5A State Bracket

No. 8 Nansemond River
Nansemond River is the PenSouth Conference 10 tournament champions and the 5A South Region champs. The Warriors started the season ranked No. 9 in our Power 25, and stumbled out of the gate as the dealt with minor injuries on the pitching staff leading to a rough spring trip. Since getting healthy, Nansemond River has been exactly what we thought they would be, winning their last ten games down the stretch to bring their record to 19-7. The Warriors have wins over Grassfield, Western Branch, Hickory, Menchville, Mills Godwin, and two wins over Indian River.

The Warriors were expected to be very good on the mound with seniors Michael Blanchard (Old Dominion) and Matt Holt (LaSalle) to top the rotation. With the two of them out early in the season, Jarret Henderson and sophomore Gage Williams were thrust into the rotation and both grew into their roles quickly, giving Nansemond River a deep stable of talented arms to go to. Blanchard leads the team with nine wins and is one of a few pitchers in the Commonwealth who can shut down any lineup he faces. 

The Warriors’ offense is also very good and features a handful of college-bound position players. Holt, senior Dion Jordan (Norfolk State), and junior Jarrid Johnson have anchored the lineup, with senior designated hitter Brendan Ratkovich adding depth to a good Nansemond lineup.

No. 23 Potomac
Potomac is the Conference 15 and 5A North Region runners-up. The Panthers have a 20-7 record this spring and have wins over 6A Prince William rivals C.D. Hylton and Patriot, as well wins over Conference Champions Briar Woods and George C. Marshall in the Region tournament. 

A big part of Potomac’s success this spring has been the dominance of seniors Brandon Caycedo (Marymount) and John Caicedo (Mary Washington) on the mound. Both have ERAs below 1.80 and Brandon leads the team with eight wins, while John has five of his own. Senior Alex Burke (St. Bonaventure) is used as the closer, giving Potomac three good senior arms for this weekend.

The offense is a veteran group that’s core has been together for a while. Junior Evan Antonellis mans shortstop and provides thump in the middle of the lineup with Burke doing the same right behind him in the order and in the outfield. Juniors Colt Lee and Mike Buchino have also had big seasons at the plate for the Panthers.

No. 10 Mountain View
Mountain View is the Conference 15 and 5A North Region champions, capturing the program’s first Region Championship and making its first-ever trip to the State Tournament. The Wildcats are 20-4 on the season with wins over Chantilly and George C. Marshall early in the season, and a Region tournament that saw them eliminate defending 5A Champion Stone Bridge, a ten-inning win over Halifax County, and a win over Potomac in the Championship Game. 

The Wildcats have had a lot of contributors on the mound, with seniors Dylan Hall (Virginia Tech), Jacob Menders (Shippensburg), and Jacob Pollock (Shippensburg) combining to go 13-2 on the season, with junior lefty Justin Pearson stepping into a roll as well and going 4-0.

The lineup is also deep and made up primarily of seniors who have been a big part of a lot of firsts for the program in the last few years. Catcher Alex Smith (Navy) leads the team in hitting at .375. Centerfielder Harry D’Antuono, second baseman Nathan Neff (Concord), and shortstop Jacob Pollock form the core of the Wildcats offense.

No. 18 Mills Godwin
Mills Godwin is the Conference 11 Tournament runners-up and the 5A South Region runners-up as well. The Eagles finished first in Conference 11 in the regular season and have won three out of four this spring against 2015 4A State Champion and Conference 11 rival Glen Allen en route to piling up a 19-5 record. 

Mills Godwin has gotten contributions from a number of pitchers this spring, with senior Conor Nolan (Princeton) leading the staff with 38 2/3 innings and 45 strikeouts. Alex Leverty leads the team with six wins and junior Harrison Moncure is also 5-0, with 42 strikeouts in just 26 2/3 innings.

The offense has also been balanced, with junior shortstop Chase Muir and catcher Chris Minneci tied for the team lead in RBIs while being trailed closely by Nolan and first baseman Cal O’Donnell. Sophomores Cory O’Shea and Scott McDonough have been key contributors as well.


Our Staff Picks:

Sammy Serrano: Nansemond River

Jon Kaufman: Potomac

John Nolan: Mountain View has won so many games late, in extra innings, coming from behind, that it is hard to not go with them as almost a 'team of destiny.' That being said, I'm going with Nansemond River defeating Mountain View, the Warriors have their horses back from injury on the mound and are just too deep of a lineup to be held down.

Josh Steinberg: Nansemond River

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