VHSL 2019 Class 6 Region D Preview
March 8, 2019
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 conclude our VHSL Previews for the 2019 season by taking a look at Class 6 Region D.
2018 saw Battlefield capture the Region D championship over Chantilly, in a rematch of the 2016 Class 6 State championship game, with Battlefield getting the better of the Chargers this time. Both teams were eliminated in the State Quarterfinals. 2018 marked Chantilly's fourth State tournament berth in the last five seasons, and this region is also home to the 2015 State Champion, Madison.
Like Region C, Region D is one of just a handful of Regions that uses District finish to seed its tournament, with the top four teams from each of the three Districts making the tournament. One exception of note is the presence of Marshall, who plays its regular season schedule against the 5A National District, and then will play in the 6A Region D tournament. The seed that Marshall earns in National District competition will be the seed that it carries into the Region tournament. For example, in 2018 Marshall was the National District champion and entered the tournament as the 13th team and the fourth number one seed.
Top Prospects in the Region
|Zach Agnos||Battlefield||2019||SS/RHP||East Carolina|
|Mason Balsis||Osbourn Park||2022||C||Virginia
|Ryan Dooley||South Lakes||2020||SS||VMI|
|Liam Gannon||Osbourn Park||2021||SS/RHP|
|Matt Howat||Madison||2019||LHP||William & Mary|
|Matt Michel||Battlefield||2019||RHP||East Stroudsburg|
|Adam Shepard||Osbourn Park||2022||C||Indiana|
2019 Region D Districts
*Italicized teams played in the 2018 Region D tournament
No. 16 Battlefield
The Bobcats are the defending Region champ and made the State tournament for the second time in three years. Their season came to an end with a heartbreaking loss to Lake Braddock in the State quarterfinals. We covered Battlefield in detail in our Power 25 Countdown earlier this week. In short, Battlefield is deep on the mound behind Zach Agnos (East Carolina) and Matt Michel (East Stroudsburg) with a talented top of the lineup featuring Agnos, Carter Cunningham (Gardner-Webb) and CJ Miles. That core of seniors have been in the Battlefield program for two State tournament trips and will challenge for a third this spring.
The Eagles finished fourth in the District and made the Region tournament in 2018 but saw their season end in the first round in a tight game against South Lakes. Departed via graduation is top arm Brandon Lee. Lee and also-graduated Cameron Lane were at the center of the 2018 lineup and will be missed, but the 2019 team brings back six starting position players including sophomore Alex Brown, who should see his role also expand on the mound this spring as well.
A young 2018 Yellow Jacket team finished third in the District and made the Region tournament, where they got knocked out in the first round by the eventual Region runners-up, Chantilly. The key pieces from last year's team will be back this spring and another year older. In the top spot of the rotation will be junior Cam Mozingo-Morales. Returning at shortstop and also contributing on the mound will sophomore Liam Gannon, and back in center will be junior Shane Saunders. A pair of newcomers who could bring a massive impact for the Yellow Jackets this spring are freshman catchers Mason Balsis (Virginia) and Adam Shepard (Indiana). While still a young team, the youth gained experience last year, and Osbourn Park is poised to be dangerous by the end of the season this spring.
The Pioneers finished second in the District, but for the second time in four years saw Centreville upset them in the first round of Regions at home, failing to advance in 2018 after making a run to the State tournament in 2017. The graduation of Will Balkin (Patrick Henry CC), Will Heltibridle (Shenandoah), Hunter Meade (Army), and Brian Rall (High Point) will leave a lot of holes in the lineup. The Pioneers do bring back the bulk of their rotation this spring with the return of juniors Riley Eikhoff (Virginia), Luke Basler, and AJ Escobar. Senior Liam Fonner (Frostburg St) being healthy this spring could also give the Pioneers another arm to add to a deep mix. Eikhoff will be the centerpiece of the lineup and junior Conor Jersey should add some thump as well. Senior Jaden Minnick brings speed in center and should provide speed at the top of the lineup in front of Jersey and Eikhoff. The Pioneers will add one more piece to that rotation depth with the arrival of freshmen lefty Eli Serrano, who could potentially have a major impact for Patriot. With all of that pitching, if the Pioneers can score a few runs a game consistently they will be in the mix into June this spring.
The Raiders had a tough 2018 season and missed the Region tournament. There is room for optimism as the Raiders look to improve this spring. Back in their lineup this spring will be senior Mitchell Breeding and a core of juniors who played a ton last year, led by Eric Sledge, Matt Klein, Steven Thorne, and Ryan Costello. Look for Costello to again pace the rotation, and watch for junior toolsy Ronaldo Pulinario to challenge for playing time.
The Wildcats entered the Region tournament as the District's third seed and promptly upset Patriot and Liberty District champion Yorktown to reach the Region semifinals before rival Chantilly ended their run. The Wildcats lost a pair of top arms to graduation with the departures of Cristian Sanchez (Virginia) and John Farley (Eastern Kentucky). Moving to the top of the rotation will be senior righty Hunter Bell (VCU). Juniors Eric Bohenek and Colby Shriner should fill in the rotation behind Bell with a pair of quality options. The lineup has some depth and will be built around speedy senior shortstop Derek Haynie (Hofstra) and junior middle of the lineup hitters Thomas Trinca and Gavin Collins. Senior catcher Julian Rodriguez brings leadership behind the plate and adds length to the Wildcat lineup.
The 2016 State champs got off to a slow start to the season, but picked it up in May and ended up finishing second in the District and entered the postseason hot. They continued that run, taking out Marshall in the quarterfinals and finishing as the Region runners-up, earning a State Tournament berth. Eventual State champ West Springfield knocked Chantilly out in the State quarterfinals. The Chargers were a young team in 2018 and bring back a lot of the key pieces to their run this spring. They will have depth on the mound with four seniors who should contribute significantly in Dylan Siesky (Lafayette), Patrick Whittingham (Penn State-Berks), Connor Pennell (CNU), and Nicholas Zampiello. Back in the lineup this spring will be Siesky, junior catcher Shane Dux, junior Thomas Latham, and senior Ryan Hodinko. Rotation depth and experience paired with a deep, veteran lineup is a good combination to have, and the Chargers certainly have that as they look to play into June again for the third time in four years.
No. 13 Madison
Madison won the Concorde District in their first year in it after moving over from the Liberty District. The Warhawks were upset in the Region quarterfinals by old District rival, South Lakes, ending their season. We went into deep detail on what to expect from the Warhawks in our Power 25 Countdown this week. Too summarize briefly, Matt Howat (William & Mary) will move to the top spot in the rotation after the departure of Jake Nielsen (BYU). Senior Ethan Lipp will provide pop in the middle of a lineup that should be deep 1-9 despite the departure of Kyle Novak (James Madison). Josh Gjormand (Lynchburg) and Carl Erdmann (Washington & Lee) are veteran parts of that depth and junior Chris Polymeropoulous returns behind the plate with the potential to provide more impact at it.
The 2017 Region champs had an up and down regular season that led to a fourth place District finish and a Region berth, and the Cougars were able to upset McLean in the Region first round before Battlefield eliminated them in the quarterfinals. Eric Lingebach has graduated, but the Cougars have plenty on the roster to suggest a bounce-back season is in the cards. Lefty Seth Richards (Villanova) will be back for his senior season and should pair with a healthy Julian Heitman to give the Cougars a strong pair at the top of the rotation with junior Michael Michallas adding valuable depth behind them. Heitman, Richards, and junior Matthew Ford return to the lineup. Look for Jay Aghanya and sophomore Jordan Murakami to potentially step into bigger roles this spring.
The Bulldogs came up just short of a Region berth in 2018, losing a game deep in extra innings to Oakton to end their season. The Bulldogs bring back two of their top arms in Jack Clancy, who had some dominant outings late in the season and senior Danny Leo, who strung together strong outings during 2018, to lead their group of arms this spring. Some youngsters cracked the lineup in 2018 and will be back in it this spring, with sophomore Nick Lottchea and junior Ryan Lattomus both returning to more important roles than they played last year. Look for Lottchea and junior Derek Furr as well as potentially freshman Jason Cheifetz to fill out the rotation behind Leo.
*The story has been updated to reflect that Jack Clancy is still at Westfield.
The Hornets had an up and down 2018 season and ended up missing the Region tournament and finishing with a record a few games below .500. The Hornets lose Jabbari Smith (Belmont Abbey) from the middle of their lineup, but do return some pieces including seniors Michael Jones, Colin Jones, Josh Snellbaker. Also back are juniors Evan Mills and Eddie Ozycz.
The Saxons got off to a slow start to the season, but recovered to earn the fourth Region berth from the Liberty District. They drew Marshall in the first round and saw their season come to an end there. Departing from the Saxons via graduation will be top two arms Kenny Lippman (Denison) and Michael Sevila as well as bats John Eames, Cooper Davis, and Max Trautwein. Senior Jack Hoeymans will return to the lineup this spring as will Nick Gasparis. Langley will be a young team this spring and may struggle at times but should be stronger at the end of the season.
The Highlanders finished second in the District and advanced to the Region, only to have their bats go cold in a first round upset loss to Oakton. McLean suffers two key losses to graduation with the departure of lefty Max Groppe (Emory) and catcher Grant Williams (Randolph-Macon). The Highlanders will be good this year with a core of very talented juniors. On the mound, Teddy Merritt has contributed since he was a freshman and will move to the top of the rotation this spring. The core of the lineup will will also feature a trio of juniors, infielder Drew Stieg, shortstop Tio Graybill, and outfielder Anthony Farmakides. An important newcomer to add to that talented mix will be freshman pitcher and outfielder Griffin Stieg. McLean will definitely be in the mix to make a run this year, and with a lot of the core back next year, this might be a sign of things to come in 2020.
The Seahawks made the Region as the third seed from the Liberty District and then went on a run, knocking off Osbourn and upsetting top-seeded Madison before falling in a tight game to Battlefield in the semifinals. The Seahawks lost their top two arms with the graduation of Jack Nathan (Lynchburg) and Josh Taylor, both of whom threw big games down the stretch for South Lakes. Four key pieces graduated from the lineup with the departures of Will Irwin, Jack Dooley, Avery Neaves, and Cooper Rosner. The key piece returning for the Seahawks is junior shortstop Ryan Dooley (VMI). Look for senior Clayton Long (Idaho) to potentially earn an expanded role this year. Also look for junior Jack Thompson to help replace some of the innings lost with Nathan and Taylor's graduation.
Washington & Lee
The Generals ran out to a strong start to the 2018 season but struggled down the stretch and missed the Region tournament. The Generals welcome a new coaching staff and look to start out strong again this spring and carry that start throughout the season. Seniors that are returning who were regular starters in 2018 are Aidan Lowe, Isaac Bendon, Gus Nathanson, Sam Nichols, Devin Wilmoth, and Jack Winslow. Junior Sam Dozier and Bendon are among the returners who had significant roles on the mound and should compete for time there again this spring.
Yorktown surged late in the season to win the Liberty District in 2018 and earned a bye through the first round of the Region tournament, only to be upset in the quarterfinals by Centreville. The Patriots lost their top arm with the graduation of Michael Lowen, but they do bring back senior lefty Aiden Henning (CNU) to take over the top spot in the rotation. In the lineup, Carson Wood (Denison) graduated but senior catcher Ben Koomey (RPI) is back for another season. Junior Alec Ellison could become a contributor this spring after a strong showing in the pre-season.
The Statesmen won the National District in typically dominant fashion. They won their first round game and were then knocked off in the quarterfinals by Chantilly. Graduated from that team is top arm Patrick Halligan (George Mason). Despite Halligan's departure, the Statesmen should have depth and talent on the mound with senior Joey Handley and junior Robert Kelley (UMBC). Key players in the lineup will be senior infielder Alex Hakim and juniors Danny Hoffman and Andrew Margiotta. Some new faces to watch this spring for Marshall who could contribute significantly include juniors Corey Lauer, Jake Pigeon, and Andrew Milhorn as well as sophomore Drew Hiller. Pigeon adds depth behind Handley and Kelley and the other three should join Hakim, Hoffman, and Margiotta and give the Statesmen a deep lineup 1-9 which will make them again a strong team in 2019.
More 2019 Previews