Prep Baseball Report

VHSL 2019 Class 4 Region C and D Preview

John Nolan
Virginia Scouting Director & Managing Editor

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Welcome to our 2019 VHSL Previews. In each preview, we will give you a brief recap of the 2018 season along with the breakdown of each Region and what the rules are to qualify for postseason play under the current alignment. We will also highlight the top prospects in each Classification, as well as some teams to watch during the 2019 season. We continue our VHSL Previews for the 2019 season by taking a look at Class 4, focusing on Region C in the North and Region D in the West.

2018 saw Salem (Roanoke) win the Region D Championship and the Class 4 State Championship. Amherst County finished as the D runner-up after top-seeded and undefeated Liberty Christian was upset in the Region quarterfinals. Fauquier won the Region C championship, knocking off highly-ranked Riverside in the process, with Woodgrove eventually finishing as the Region C runners-up.

In the last few years, these two Regions have been stacked with high-end talent and a lot of depth among the teams in the both Regions. 2019 looks to be no different as again the amount of elite talent will make these two Regions among of the most entertaining to follow this spring.


Top Prospects Regions C and D

Name School Class Position Commitment
Griffin Agee Jefferson Forest 2019 LHP Virginia
Hunter Entsminger Sherando 2019 RHP James Madison
Christian Gordon Liberty Christian  2019  LHP  Liberty
Michael Grupe
Loudoun Valley 2019 RHP/SS Virginia Tech
Emmanuel Johnson Liberty Christian 2019 OF/LHP Liberty
Cortland Lawson Dominion 2019 SS/RHP Tennessee
Nick Lockhart
Woodgrove 2019 RHP Virginia Tech
Christian Martin Amherst County 2021 SS Virginia Tech
Wyatt Shenkman Riverside 2021 RHP
Parker Stallard Salem (Roanoke) 2020 OF Virginia Tech
Carson Swank Riverside 2019 SS Yale
Quade Tomlin Liberty Christian 2020 SS Liberty
Joe Vogatsky Kettle Run 2020 RHP James Madison


2019 Region C

Dulles Northwestern
Dominion Fauquier
Heritage (Leesburg) Handley
Loudoun County Kettle Run
Loudoun Valley Liberty (Bealeton)
Park View (Leesburg) Millbrook
Riverside Sherando
Woodgrove James Wood

*Italicized teams played in the 2018 Region C tournament

The Region C tournament is one of the more unique ones of all 24 Regions in VHSL. Only four teams will advance to the Region tournament, with just the top two from each District advancing. On top of that, the Region berths will be determined based on regular season District finish. Region C is unique in that with the playoff berths based on regular season finish, every single District game all year will be immensely important. This made for a lot of exciting, intense games all spring in 2018, and now doubt will do so again in 2019. The Northwestern District is made up of 13 total teams, with half in Class 3 and half in Class 4. The two teams that advance to the Region C Tournament are the top two placed Class 4 teams in the District at the end of the season.

2019 Region D 

River Ridge Seminole Other
Blacksburg Amherst County Bassett
Pulaski County E.C. Glass Carroll County
Salem (Roanoke) Jefferson Forest Charlottesville
  Liberty Christian GW Danville
William Byrd

*Italicized teams played in a 2018 Region D tournament

Region D will use an eight team tournament to determine its State Tournament representatives. With schools spread out over six Districts, Region D will use power points to seed their tournament. 


Teams to Watch Regions C and D

Amherst County
The Lancers finished as the Region D runners-up in 2019 and advanced to the State Tournament. The core of that team will be back this spring as the Lancers are set up to compete again. Everything starts with sophomore shortstop Christian Martin (Virginia Tech), who led off and hit .333 as a freshman and will move into the middle of the lineup this year. Martin will pair up on the keystone with senior Reed Dawson, who will be an important piece in their lineup as well. Junior catcher Tyler Knight will also return behind the plate, and him coupled with sophomore centerfield Joseph Fielder will make the Lancers very strong up the middle defensively this spring. Junior pitcher Tyler Hargis will return to the top of the rotation after leading the team in innings as a sophomore and winning six games.

Dominion had a strong regular season in 2018 but came up just short of a Region berth coming out of a stacked Dulles District. The Titans will be in the mix again in 2019 with the return of senior left Dylan Weber (CNU). The Titans added a big piece via transfer in senior shortstop and pitcher Cortland Lawson (Tennessee), who should give them a strong one-two punch on the mound as well as a good bat to pair with Mario Canestraro in the middle of the Dominion lineup.

The Falcons won the Region C Championship in 2018 after finishing as the second Class 4 seed in the Northwestern District. They reached the State Semifinals and led eventual champion Salem late before seeing their season come to an end. We detailed Fauquier in our NOVA State Title Contenders Spring Forward story in January, but the short of it is that the Falcons lost their most important bat in shortstop Blaze O'Saben (UMBC), but have a trio of senior arms in Lane Pearson (Indiana Univ PA), Harrison Whitt, and Carson McCusker (Roanoke) that will give them depth and experience that few other teams can match as the Falcons look to return to the State Tournament for the third time in five years.

Heritage (Leesburg)
An interesting core of 2020 and 2021 position players make the Pride a team that will be interesting to follow this spring, as they could be a dark horse contender in a deep District. Juniors Nick Hemstreet, Nicholas Lampl, and Colin Troilo will be joined by sophomore Grant Barberich will form what could be a deep offense as the season progresses.

Jefferson Forest
Jefferson Forest finished their 2018 season just one win short of a State Tournament berth, falling to Salem in the Region D semifinals. The Cavaliers are going to be a factor again in 2019 as they will feature the top talent in a loaded Region in senior lefty Griffin Agee (Virginia). Also back at JF this spring will be junior centerfielder Jackson Cherry, who had a breakout sophomore season and is the key to the Cavalier offense. Agee makes the Cavaliers the favorite on paper in any game he pitches, which will make them a team that will be a tough out and in the mix late in the season.

Kettle Run
The Cougars rebounded in 2018 faster than expected after graduating a massive 2017 Class, and while they just missed a Region C playoff spot, they were in the mix late in the season for one of the Northwestern District's two spots. Part of what drove Kettle Run's success in 2018 and should again in 2019 was the emergence of current senior Zach Ewald (CNU) and junior Joe Vogatsky (James Madison) on the mound for the Cougars. That dynamic 1-2 punch is back again on the mound, with both also contributing in a lineup that will also feature Caden DeCroo (Indiana Univ PA) and Sam Aldrich. Look for youngsters Matt Twomey and Dan Dispanet to also factor into what could be a deep lineup.

Liberty (Bealeton)
The Eagles had a tough year in 2018, but were competitive in a lot of games in a tough District. A pair of interesting juniors had strong impacts in 2018 and should continue to help the Eagles improve. Logan Rodney showed development at the plate and behind it. Colby Neal can catch as well and showed pitchability on the mound.

Liberty Christian
The Bulldogs have only been in VHSL competition for three years, and they have been the 800 pound guerrilla in Class 4 since joining it. The finished as the State Runners-up in 2016, the State Champs in 2017, and entering the Region D tournament last year, were undefeated and essentially the unchallenged number 1 team in Virginia. And then they were stunned by William Byrd, seeing their season end in the Region Quarterfinals. Gone from that team is PBR VA/DC Player of the Year and Class 4 State Player of the Year, catcher Wes Clarke (South Carolina), along with outfielder Kyle Horton (Charleston Southern) and some other talented pieces that graduated. That all being said, this year's LCA squad might somehow be even better than last year's team. Back in the lineup will be senior Pell Collins, who will be rejoined by his double play partner in junior Quade Tomlin (Liberty). Rounding out the infield is third baseman Jacob Williams (Middle Tennessee State) and look for senior Noah Robbins to take over behind the plate. Senior Emmanuel Johnson (Liberty) adds thump in the middle of the lineup and will pair up on the mound with fellow senior Christian Gordon (Liberty) to give LCA an outstanding one-two punch of high-end lefties on the mound. Yet again, the Bulldogs are stacked, and the biggest question about them this spring is, will they falter to a lesser foe like 2018, or deliver on their talent like they the two years before?

Loudoun County
The Raiders had a tough 2018 season but have some talent that will make them a tough out in 2019. Senior left Donovan Burke (James Madison) has the potential to put up big strikeout numbers and sophomore outfielder Sean Goodhart is an intriguing talent

Loudoun Valley
The 2013 Class 3 State Champs and 2014 Runners-up missed the Class 4 Region C playoffs last year, finishing just outside of a playoff spot in a stacked Dulles District that only sends two teams to the postseason. The Vikings will be in the mix again for a playoff spot this spring with the return of senior Michael Grupe (Virginia Tech) on the mound. Junior Ryan Dudak will look to step into the second slot on the mound with Grupe. Senior Jonathan Sedmak (Mary Washington) and David Gingras will bring experience in the middle infield as junior Jared Molnar will also be in the mix to contribute there as well. Senior catcher Reese Goodlin is also back and will be a key to the defense.

The Pioneers advanced to the Region C tournament in 2018 as the top Class 4 seed from the Northwestern District. Millbrook lost a heartbreaker to Woodgrove, 1-0, in the Region semifinals to come up just short of a State Tournament bid. The Pioneers have a four-headed group of senior arms that will give them the depth to compete for another Region and State berth in 2019. Chandler Ballenger is healthy so far this spring, and fellow seniors Jalen Tyson, Caleb Benner, and Haden Madagan join him in what could be a good group on the mound. Senior shortstop John Rosa is back to anchor the infield defense and senior catcher Cris Burger is back behind the dish as well as senior Luke Churchill (Lackawanna JC). A face to watch for Millbrook who should see his impact increase this spring is sophomore Logan Hartigan.

The Rams made the move up to Class 4 in 2018 and had a strong season, winning the Dulles District and advancing to the Region C tournament, where they saw their season end at the hands of eventual Region champ Fauquier. The Rams lose Tyler Casagrande (Arizona) and Wes Glass (Young Harris), but they bring back yet another loaded roster. On the mound, seniors David Setien and Gunner Canary will be joined by electric sophomore Wyatt Shenkman in forming one of the deepest rotations in Northern Virginia. Senior shortstop Carson Swank (Yale) will be back for one more season after having arguably one of the top offensive seasons in all of Virginia in 2018. Sajon Belser (College of Charleston) is also back in centerfield, where he covers a ton of ground and adds speed to the Ram lineup. Seniors John Heltebran and Nicholas Connolly have also had strong offseasons and will be a key contributors for one of the most balanced teams in Class 4 and a team that again should be in contention in June.

Salem (Roanoke)
The Spartans are your 2018 Region D and Class 4 State Champions and finished the season with a record of 19-3, walking off to win in the Championship game. Somehow, the Spartans placed no players on the All-Region D or All-State teams, which is a conversation for another day. That being said, Salem has plenty of talent returning this spring for their title defense, including their one-two punch on the mound of  senior Caleb Lingenfelter and junior lefty Zian Honaker. Look for junior Hunter Tensen to expand on his relief role from 2018 to contribute as well. Back in the lineup this season will be senior catcher Matt Wright, who drove in the winning run in the State Title game. Also back as part of a speedy lineup that was aggressive on the bases in 2018 will be junior outfielder Parker Stallard (Virginia Tech) as well as junior infielder Jaden Fetrow. The lineup will be deep with the returns of Zac Honaker and Trevor Gallagher. Salem is set up with the talent to defend their title this spring and will be on of the top teams in Virginia again.

The Warriors had a solid 2018 season and surged down the stretch to get into the mix for one of the Northwestern District's two Region C playoff berths late in the season, ultimately coming up just short. On top of that, the Warriors saw their season end in a stunning upset by Handley in the District tournament. Sherando should be a factor again this spring in the Northwestern District as they return top senior arm Hunter Entsminger (James Madison) back on the bump, and he will be among the best arms in the District.

William Byrd
Byrd reached the Region D tournament in 2018 as the eighth seed, and then pulled the upset of the season in defeating undefeated top seed Liberty Christian. Bryce Booth was the winning pitcher in that game, holding the high-powered LCA offense to 2 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings, and he will be back for his senior season for the Terriers. Another player to watch is very talented sophomore catcher Dylan Hatfield.

The Wolverines were the Region C runners-up in 2018 and reached the State Semifinals. They lose two massive contributors with the graduation of shortstop Justin Hanvey (Radford) and pitcher Jarrett LoRusso (Roanoke). Despite those losses, look for Woodgrove to be just fine and contend again in the Dulles District. Senior Nick Lockhart (Virginia Tech) will top the rotation with high-upside sophomore Christian Hile looking to step into the second spot in the rotation. The lineup will have depth behind seniors Brady Drawbaugh (Mount St. Mary's) and Johnathan Marquart with athletic underclassmen Ethan Dezarn and Wyatt Miles likely to man the middle infield and provide athleticism and upside at the plate.


More 2019 Previews