Prep Baseball Report

Looking Ahead: Potential Impact Transfers in 2017

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By John Nolan
Virginia Assistant Director and Content Manager

As 2017 opens, we continue to look ahead to the coming high school season while also reflecting on 2016. 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. Last week, we took a look at 5A and 6A schools with the most talent. Today, we will examine some key player transfers that could help shape the narrative of how the 2017 high school season will unfold in Virginia and DC.

In 2016, we saw a handful of teams whose fortunes changed dramatically due to gaining or losing a key transfer. For example, Highland School had the best season in school history after a handful of key transfers gave them staff ace Josh Pittman (St. Bonaventure) from Eastern View and centerfielder and offensive sparkplug Noah Lerman as well as two-way contributor Danny Singleton from Paul VI Catholic. Eastern View had a solid season, but lost the possibility of having Pittman and senior lefty David Laird (Radford) form a dominant one-two combo at the top of their rotation.

A couple of other examples of the impact of transfers last season included Evan Antonellis leaving Paul VI Catholic for Potomac and immediately stepping in at shortstop and providing a key middle-of-the-order bat as Potomac reached the State Tournament. Last year also saw two-way impact player Ryan Kennedy (Kennesaw State) move to Millbrook and add a major presence to the Pioneer lineup and rotation. Also, righthander Will Liverpool (West Virginia) moved to Bishop O’Connell and emerged as the second half of a one-two punch on the mound that powered the Knights to a second-place finish in the WCAC regular season and a VISAA State Tournament berth.

Again this year, the offseason saw a lot of movement between private and public schools, with a few players who could make major impacts at their new school:

PBR Future Games participant and 2018 outfielder Don Goodes (VMI) transferred to Greenbrier Christian this summer. The Gators are the two-time defending VISAA Division II State Champions and will look to make it three in a row in their first year in a while without legendary coach Gary LaVelle at the helm. The Gators lost a lot to graduation, but adding Goodes to a lineup that will feature senior Erik Stock (Old Dominion) in the middle will give Greenbrier Christian plenty of middle of the order potential to work with. 

The Miller School of Albemarle will also be the beneficiary of a big-time transfer as they add 2018 catcher Adam Hackenberg (Clemson). Miller School will have one of the most talented teams in VISAA Division II again this year as Hackenberg will join a roster that already features 2017 shortstop Tanner Morris (Virginia) and fellow 2018s Ethan Murray (Duke) and Will Wagner (Liberty).

Second-year 3A program Riverside picked up two additions this offseason in catcher Aidan Koferl and righhanded pitcher Robbie Ferreira to add to what is already a very good group of underclassmen in the program. The Rams had a solid inaugural season in 2016 and bring back their entire team, including two-way senior Trey Campbell (UNC Asheville). Look for head coach Sam Plank to have Riverside ready for a run in late May.

2019 first baseman Nick Liverpool followed his older brother to Bishop O’Connell this season, where he will look to give the Knights some power potential in the middle of their lineup as they look to replace Rafi Vazquez (Coastal Carolina).

Battlefield reached the 6A State Championship game in 2016 and were led their by a trio of Division-I bound Class of 2016 arms. The Bobcats will add 2017 righthander Spencer Petty-Kane from Paul VI as they look to rebuild their rotation for another run at the 6A State Championship in 2017.

Paul VI Catholic picked up a big transfer in the offseason as the Panthers added 2018 righthanded pitcher Cristian Sanchez (Alabama). Paul VI reached the VISAA Division I State Championship game in 2016 and graduated a large senior class. Sanchez joins a roster that will include fellow 2018s Clayton Baine (George Mason), Tyler Casagrande (Arizona) as well as 2017s Liam McDonnell (James Madison), Michael Morgan (James Madison) and Jason Volpicelli (Washington and Lee) as the Panthers look to end St. John’s College Prep’s three-year run atop the WCAC in head coach Billy Emerson’s return to the Paul VI dugout.

Outfielder Callaway Sigler (James Madison) reclassified to the Class of 2018 as he moved Benedictine College Prep last summer, and he will join a team that has a ton of upside that reached the VISAA Division I Semifinals in 2016. Sigler will join a roster that will again feature senior ace and two-way impact player Eli Ottinger (James Madison) as well as 2017 Will Simon (James Madison) and 2018 infielder Gregory Ryan (Pittsburgh).