Prep Baseball Report

Looking Ahead: 2017 VA/DC Public Schools 5A-6A

Click to edit entry

Follow @PBRVirginiaDC 
+ Periscope

By John Nolan
Virginia Assistant Director and Content Manager

As 2016 winds to a close, we have taken a few looks back at the high school season, as well as some looks ahead to next year. In November, we took a way too early look at some of the most talented private schools for the upcoming 2017 season and a look back at some teams that met their 2016 Pre-Season expectations as well as some teams that far exceeded their 2016 Pre-Season expectations. In December, we took a look ahead at smaller public schools with the most talent. Today we look at the big schools with the most talent on paper for 2017.

Atlee finished 2016 as the Conference 16 Runners-up and reached the 5A North Quarterfinals before being eliminated by Marshall in a tight game. The Raiders return most of the core of their team in 2017 and will feature a very physical lineup led by 2018 Adam Jewell (VMI) and 2019 Zackary Beach (Coastal Carolina). With seniors Carson Box and Clay Naff (UVA-Wise) back on the mound, Atlee will again be a solid team with the potential to run deep into June.

The 2016 6A State Runners-up will struggle to replace the outstanding trio of senior arms that graduated last June, but the Bobcats have plenty of talent up and down the roster to again compete for a Region and State Championship in 2017. The lineup will be anchored by 2017 catcher Tyler Solomon (Vanderbilt), 2017 outfielder Brent Boggs (VMI), and 2017 infielder Brandon Austin. Look for 2019 shortstop Zach Agnos to take another step forward this spring as he begins to tap into his potential. Replacing the lost innings will be a challenge, but Battlefield has plenty of talent to work with on the mound, expect to see senior Austin Landrum as well as Agnos step up to take some of the work load. Look for senior transfer Spencer Petty-Kane and 2018 Jake Michna to help out on the mound as well.

Briar Woods
Briar Woods won the Conference 14 Championship in 2016 was eliminated in the 5A North Region by eventual State Tournament team Potomac. The Falcons bring back the bulk of their lineup, including talented senior two-way player Michael Ludowig (Wake Forest). Also back on the mound will be fellow seniors Ty Germanowski (St. Bonaventure) and Jake Jaekle. Senior shortstop Jake Kleifges will be back to anchor the defense from the field while 2018 catcher George Rosales returns behind the plate.

Grassfield entered the 2016 6A South Region tournament as the popular favorite to win the Region and challenge for a State Title before being upset in the Regional Quarterfinals by Ocean Lakes. The Grizzlies lost some key pieces to graduation, but they will bring back top senior arm Hunter Perdue (Virginia) who has the stuff to shut down any team in the state. Back with Perdue will be his backstop, senior catcher Justice Bigbie.

Hickory had a solid 2016 season and reached the 6A South Quarterfinals before being eliminated by rival and the eventual 5A State Champions, Nansemond River. The Hawks lost some key pieces to graduation, but still have plenty of talent on hand to have a big 2017. Senior Mikey Polansky (Virginia Tech) will provide plenty of power in the middle of the lineup and fellow senior Hunter Gregory (Old Dominion) looks to build off of a dominant 2016 as Hickory’s ace again this spring.

Halifax County
The Comets won the Conference 16 Championship and reached the 5A North Region semifinals before falling to Mountain View in a classic pitcher’s duel. Halifax ended the season 20-2 and will bring back its most important in piece in 2017 lefthanded ace Andrew Abbott (Virginia). Abbott has the ability to shut down any team in the Commonwealth, the Comets also have a talented young arm in 2018 Drew Harlow who could form a mean one-two punch with Abbott if he continues to develop.

Lake Braddock
Lake Braddock won the Conference 7 tournament championship in 2016 and advanced to the 6A North Region quarterfinals before being eliminated by Patriot. The Bruins will have a younger squad this spring but those youngsters have a very high ceiling with 2018 grads Jack Darcy, Rojo Prarie (William & Mary), and Matthew Thomas as well as 2019 arm Lyle Miller-Green (Virginia Tech).

The Cougars are coming off of a down 2016 season that saw them miss the 6A Northern Region tournament, faltering down the stretch as they ended the season on a five game losing streak, three of which were by one run. This spring the Cougars should have one of the best one-two punches on the mound with seniors Owen Lamon (Georgetown) and Toma Shigaki-Than (Duke). Back to work with them behind the plate will be fellow senior Ryan Davis (Georgetown). Look for 2019 lefty Seth Richards to also contribute to what could be a dominant group on the mound.

The Pioneers reached the 6A North Region semifinals before their 2016 season came to a close at the hands of eventual State Champion Chantilly. While Patriot was hurt by graduation, the Pioneers will have a good one-two punch on the mound in seniors Patrick Fyvie (Army) and James Price (George Mason) who will get a lot of defensive help from rangy centerfielder Jake Jansen. The Pioneers will look to get bigger contributions from 2018 grads Will Heltibridle and Brian Rall as well as 2020 Riley Eikhoff.

Western Branch
The Bruins were a dangerous team in 2016 and reached the 6A South Semifinals before falling 1-0 to Hylton. Western Branch will lose its ace to graduation but has a very talented roster, especially in the younger classes. Look for the lineup to be led by 2017 Trent Jones (Gardner Webb) with contributions from toolsy 2018 Jonoven Savage (Virginia Tech) and physical 2019 Antonio Velasquez (Old Dominion). Senior Jay Patto (King) should contribute on the mound this spring.

Recent High School News