Prep Baseball Report

VHSL 2019 Class 6 Region A 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 6 Region A. This Region includes schools from the Peninsula, Beach, and Chesapeake.

First Colonial won the Region championship in 2018, defeating Western Branch after taking down top-seeded Granby in the semifinals. Western Branch ran farther in the State tournament, defeating Thomas Dale in extra innings on a walk-off in the semifinals before finishing as the State runners-up to West Springfield. Branch got their State Championship defense off to a quick start as they knocked off the 2017 State runners-up, Cox, in the Region quarterfinals, which was a rematch of the 2017 Championship game. Western Branch has reached the State tournament four of the last five seasons and won the 2014 State Championship.

Power points will be awarded on a very simple system for this Region, a win earning three points, a tie earning one point, and no points for any loss. There is no differentiation in points based on the level of the opponent that a school is playing, which creates an advantage for Granby and Woodside, who are the only 6a schools in their Districts and face smaller schools all season while receiving the same points for their wins. Coincidentally, Granby was the top seed in the Region in 2018, although they were a good team and deserved to be in the field.


Top Prospects in the Region

Name School Class Position Commitment
Ethan Anderson Frank W. Cox 2022 C Virginia
Carson DeMartini Ocean Lakes 2021 SS Virginia Tech
Ethan Firoved First Colonial 2020 RHP Radford
Devin Hicks Bayside 2020 RHP Old Dominion
Corey Leadenham Kellam 2019 RHP/SS George Mason
Mark Smith Tallwood 2019 3B/RHP Potomac ST JC
South Trimble Frank W. Cox 2019 SS George Mason
Antonio Velasquez Western Branch 2019 RHP/3B Bryant & Stratton
Roberto Velasquez Western Branch 2021 RHP
Myles Webb Granby 2020 OF/RHP  


2019 Region A 

Beach Various
Bayside Granby
Frank Cox Grassfield
First Colonial Oscar Smith
Kellam Western Branch
Landstown Woodside
Ocean Lakes  

*Italicized teams played in the 2018 Region A tournament

What to Watch For

The Marlins came out of the gate hot in 2018, winning four of their first five, but they had a rough time from their and missed the Region tournament. They finished the season playing better and have an interesting piece to build their 2019 season around in junior righty Devin Hicks (Old Dominion).

Frank Cox
The 2017 State Runners-up advanced to the 2018 Region tournament and got an immediate rematch of the 2017 State Championship game against Western Branch, only to see them come up short. Gone via graduation are bats Shane Stinard and Jacob Hawley as well as arms Kole Register and Chris Campbell. Sophomore Nathan Hawley saw some action on the mound in 2018 and should be an option to step into a larger role. The Falcons also do get back a pair of key pieces to their lineup in senior shortstop South Trimble (George Mason) and senior Cameron Wallace. An intriguing newcomer at Cox this spring is freshman catcher Ethan Anderson (Virginia), who is currently the top rated prospect in his class in our VA/DC prospect rankings. Anderson is also currently ranked in the top 20 overall in his class in PBR's national rankings.

First Colonial
The Patriots are your defending Region A champions and advanced to the State quarterfinals in 2018 before Thomas Dale knocked them out. The Patriots were stacked on the mound last season with a trio of seniors Graham Firoved (Radford), Drew Moore (King), and Joey Rodriguez being joined by sophomore Ethan Firoved (Radford) to form a group that was tough to match. Ethan will be back this spring to pace the rotation and look for senior Noah Knapp to possibly help absorb some of the lost innings. Gone from the lineup are centerpieces Jake NessAdam Gremminger, and Matt Coutts. Back to man the middle of  the lineup will be senior infielder Keenan Scherr (CNU) as well as junior outfielder and returning leadoff hitter Avery Bynum.

The Comets were the top seed headed into the Region tournament in 2018 and featured a dynamic one-two punch on the mound of Kris Artis (Old Dominion) and James DeLoatch (Norfolk State). First Colonial stopped the Comets' march to the State tournament in the semifinals and Granby saw their season end with a 19-3 record. Artis and DeLoatch are gone to graduation, as are other key lineup pieces Xavier Anderson, Michael Falzarano, Trent Hanchey, and Ty Hanchey. The Comets only return one player who started at a position for them in the Region tournament, and that is senior outfielder Hunter Cole. Look for Cole to be a key piece to the lineup as Granby has to rebuild this spring, but don't count the Comets out at the end of the season as we see every year young teams struggle early and then compete late. Look for junior Myles Webb to be a possible breakout player this spring for the Comets.

The Grizzlies had a down season in 2018 and missed the Region tournament. Ryan Shavers (Patrick Henry CC) departs via graduation, but the 2019 Grizzlies have some key pieces coming back. Senior Connor Hall will be back in the middle of the lineup as will sophomore Logan Webster. Senior Dom Parker (Paul D Camp CC) could offer some help in the rotation this spring as well for Grassfield.

Kellam was the last team to make it into the Region tournament in 2018 and the Knights were knocked out in the quarterfinals. Seniors Zachary Franklin (Methodist), Garrett Jackson, and Andrew Melnyk (Longwood) departed via graduation but an intriguing and deep group of seniors is back this spring, led by two-way contributor Corey Leadenham (George Mason). Also in the mix to fill innings with Leadenham is senior Ben Lehnhard (Wilson College) and his brother, Riley Leadenham. The Leadenham's and Micah Fox (Paul D Camp CC) provide some talent in the core of the lineup.

The Eagles finished 2018 with a .500 record, but did not quite make it into the Region tournament. Gone from their 2018 roster is lefty Nick DeMoss as well as the core of their lineup in two-way player Robert Cook. Also graduated from the lineup are Will SladeCJ Morris, and Dylan Schumacher (Virginia Wesleyan). Junior Jonathan Blevins is back to anchor the lineup in 2019 and he will be joined by sophomore Liam French as the Eagles seem to be slated for a rebuilding season this spring. Junior Daniel Dungee got some experience on the mound in 2018 and should see his workload increase in 2019.

Ocean Lakes
The Dolphins put together a strong 2018 and reached the Region tournament as the three seed, only to see their season end in the quarterfinals as Oscar Smith upset them. The 2019 Dolphins seem poised to be in the mix again and will have a lineup built around highly-ranked sophomore Carson DeMartini (Virginia Tech) as well as a strong core around him including juniors Jonathan Wall and Scott Hinds to go with senior Elias Negron (Caldwell). Pair that athletic core offensively and defensively with the return of senior ace Micah Singer, and you have the makings of a team that is positioned to contend again in 2019.

Oscar Smith
The Tigers made their first Region tournament trip in over 30 years in 2017 and 2018 saw them make the tournament for a second year in a row, this time upsetting Ocean Lakes to reach the semifinals before seeing their season come to an end at the hands of the defending State champs. Gone from the Tiger lineup this spring will be Jack Flanagan (Harford CC), Dylan Langston (Bryant & Stratton), Dylan Chappell, and Christian Johnson, Back for his senior on the mound will be Tim Blackman and moving up into the middle of the lineup this spring should be seniors Jordan Young and Telly Ballord.

Tallwood came up short of a Region bid in 2018 despite finishing the season with a winning record. The Lions had a very good spring trip against out-of-state opponents in 2018, going 4-0 to pull their record up, but they had some tough stretches against District opponents. They do bring back senior Mark Smith (Potomac State JC) to form the center of their lineup again this spring.

Western Branch
The Bruins were the Class 6 State runners-up in 2018 as they made a late charge to defend their 2017 State title and were able to defeat Thomas Dale in the extra innings in the semifinals but did not have enough left for West Springfield. The Bruins lose a key piece to graduation with the departure of the centerpiece of their lineup, Connor Butler (Roanoke). Also gone is his double play partner Connor Epley (Virginia Wesleyan) and catcher Ethan Alexander. Where the Bruins are going to be all set this spring is on the mound. Back for one more season is Antonio Velasquez (Bryant & Stratton), he will be flanked in the rotation by junior Reid Long, who emerged last season as a strong second option, as well as sophomore Roberto Velasquez. Keys to the Bruin lineup this spring will be senior outfielder Micah Brown and junior infielder Kyle Carlson. Also a player to watch whose talent could lead to a big season for the Bruins is junior Aidan Foley. Both Foley and Carlson pitch as well, giving Western Branch a ton of depth on the mound.

Woodside made the 2018 Region tournament but were eliminated in the quarterfinals by First Colonial. Woodside put together a strong season but will see senior ace Zach Sanders (VMI) and catcher Nathan Freed (Stratford) depart via graduation.



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