A Look at the First 2016 VA/DC Power 25



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By John Nolan
Assistant Director of Scouting/Content Management 

The Power 25 is back for its second season as private school ball is already underway and the public schools open play today throughout our coverage area. Our Final Rankings in 2015 were expanded to a Top 40, and we spent time early this winter looking back at many of those teams’ seasons with our 2015 Year-In-Reviews. Now that 2015 is behind us and spring 2016 is upon us, here is are some of the highlights from our first rankings of the season:

Opening the season at No. 1 is the 2015 VISAA Division I champion, Liberty Christian Academy. The Bulldogs did not lose a game against a Virginia opponent in 2015 and have the bulk of their roster back this spring as they move to VHSL competition as a member of 4A West. LCA will travel to Cary, North Carolina to play in the National High School Invitational hosted by USA Baseball next week.

Starting the season at No. 2 is the defending VHSL 6A Champions, the James Madison Warhawks. Madison brings back the majority of its core this spring including and will again have a deep lineup with senior shortstop Pete Nielsen (Brigham Young) as its centerpiece.

St. John’s College in DC opens at No. 3 as the Cadets defended their WCAC Championship in 2015. St. John’s has one of the deepest lineups from one to nine as well as a talented pitching staff with a trio of very high-upside sophomores.

At No. 4 is another private school, the defending VISAA Division II Champions, Greenbrier Christian. The Gators only lost one player to graduation off of their Championship team and are poised to carry the momentum from their hot second half into 2016.

Rounding out the top five is Hanover. The Hawks won State Championships in 2013 and 2014, making last year’s trip to the State Semifinals and extra-inning defeat by Jefferson Forest almost feel like a let-down. Hanover brings back the bulk of its team in 2016 and the Hawks are very deep and talented on the mound and in the lineup, with most of their core having been a part of the 2014 4A State Championship team.

Checking in at No. 7 and No. 8 are a pair of defending State Champions that would have to go through each other to repeat this spring in Glen Allen and Stone Bridge. Glen Allen has moved up to 5A and has a good chunk of its team back around senior centerfielder and offensive centerpiece Kyle Battle (Old Dominion). Stone Bridge also did not lose much to graduation as senior lefty Brett Kreyer (Lafayette) looks to pick up where left off with his dominant finish in the playoffs in 2015.

The rest of the top ten features a Millbrook squad at No. 6 that is ludicrously deep on the mound and will be led offensively by senior shortstop and table-setter Alex Amos (Pittsburgh). At No. 9 is Nansemond River, where the Warriors have an experienced and talented senior class that features eight committed players.

No. 11 Hickory and No. 14 Western Branch both were very talented teams in 2015 that lost some key pieces to graduation after they were upset in their respective State Semifinals. Both teams should again be very strong this spring, but might need some time to gel.

Starting the season at No. 15, Loudoun Valley looks to make its third straight trip to the State Tournament as the Vikings move up in classification to 4A. Battlefield and C.D. Hylton start the season at No. 17 and No. 18 respectively as both the Bobcats and the Bulldogs have talented and deep pitching staffs. These two open the season with each other on Tuesday night in one of this opening week’s top match-ups.

The rest of the Top 25 is rounded out by three 4A West schools, Jefferson Forest at No. 21, Woodgrove at No. 22, and Kettle Run at No. 24. That will be a running theme throughout this spring as the 4A West is the deepest region in VHSL. Six 4A West teams are in the first Power 25 of 2016, and that is a commentary on how deep and talented the region is.

Click here to view this week’s rankings: Power 25

 

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