VHSL 2019 Class 5 Region A Preview
February 25, 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 continue our VHSL Previews for the 2019 season by taking a look at Class 5, focusing on Region A. This Region is made up of schools that are primarily in the Peninsula, Newport News, Chesapeake, and Beach areas.
In 2018, Menchville won Region A and advanced to the Monarchs' second straight State Tournament. Unfortunately, Menchville ran into eventual State Champion in their first State Tournament game for the second year in a row and saw their season end there at the hands of Prince George. Menchville was joined in the State Tournament by Maury, who had advanced to the Region Championship game after Hickory forfeited their semifinal game for violating the pitch count rule. This Region is the home of two recent State Champions, with Hickory capturing the crown in 2014 and Nansemond River winning it in 2016.
The Region tournament is an eight team tournament, with power points being used exclusively to determine who makes the tournament and to seed them. The schools in the Region are spread over four Districts, with most of them being in mixed Districts with smaller and larger schools.
Top Prospects in the Region
|Bryson Dansberry||Nansemond River||2020||OF||Radford|
|Mason Dunaway||Hickory||2019||SS||James Madison|
|Phillip Forbes V||Menchville||2020||RHP||James Madison
2018 Region A Districts
|Princess Anne||Hampton||Nansemond River|
*Italicized teams played in a 2018 Region A tournament
Region A Teams to Watch
The Bruins missed the Region A tournament in 2018. Bethel is looking forward to another spring and key players for the Bruins will be a trio of two-players led by junior lefty Brandon Parks. Micah Wetzler and Elijah Roberson will also be key players this spring for Bethel. Look for new catcher Nick Seidnitzer and two-way player Joel Velazquez to be key new faces for the Bruins in 2019.
The Crabbers reached the Region semifinals in 2018, narrowly missing the State tournament after they fell to Menchville. The Crabbers bring back senior lefty Trey Morgan (VMI) this spring, and he will make them a tough out in any game that he pitches.
The Hawks reached and won their Region semifinal game in 2018, but unfortunately had to forfeit the game, causing them to miss the State Tournament. The 2014 State Champs and 2015 Runners-up suffered some losses to graduation with the departure of All-State masher Jacob Mustain (VMI). The Hawks do bring back an All-State honoree and very interesting prospect in junior righty Drew Stanley. The rotation could be rounded out by junior lefty Scott Crosson or sophomore righty Zackary Chadwell. Look for sophomore catcher Thomas Watermolen to make his presence felt at some point this spring and expect Hickory to be back in the mix for a State Tournament berth again in 2019.
The Braves missed the 2018 Region tournament. This spring, Indian River will be led by senior two-way contributor Sam Alheit (Roanoke) who will be a part of the rotation and a key bat in the middle of the lineup. Another key player for the Braves will be shortstop and pitcher Gavin Levinson and a key new face will be new backstop Kody Hanes.
Maury finished as the Region A runner-up, after advancing past Hickory in the Region semifinals after Hickory forfeited due to violating the pitch count rule. The Commodores should be among the favorites to earn a State bid out of this Region again this spring as they bring back a pair of senior arms in righty Ben Capehart (VMI) and lefty Dalton Barham (Norfolk State) that will give them veteran one-two punch. Capehart is in the discussion for most talented arm in the Region, coming off of a good 2018 season and with a ton of upside left. Maury has some talented youngsters that could put them over the top and adds depth. Junior Vincent Bashara adds a third arm and a versatile player for the Commodores. Sophomore outfielder Kennedy Jones has a ton of strength and pop at the plate, and freshman middle infielder Alvin Keels could be an impact new face for Maury as they are poised to return to the State Tournament.
The Monarchs are the defending Region A Champions, and made their second State Tournament trip in a row in 2018. That run should continue in 2019 as Menchville brings back a stacked roster this spring. A deep rotation will feature senior Ahmaad Goldson flanked by juniors Phillip Forbes V (James Madison) and Tyler Davis (VCU). Forbes earned All-State honors as an infielder and Goldson was honored as a utility player, and also back is a third All-State performer from last spring in senior outfielder Anthony Hall. A deep Monarch lineup will also again feature the Abrisz brothers, with versatile junior Kody playing the middle infield or the outfield, and sophomore Kade set to return behind the plate. Look for a stacked Menchville team to be still alive in June again in 2019.
The 2016 State Champs have had trouble gaining traction the last two years, missing the Region tournament again in 2018. The Warriors also lost Gage Williams (Longwood) to graduation, which will leave them young on the mound. Nansemond River does have the makings of an interesting and athletic outfield, led by speedy junior Bryson Dansberry (Radford) and with the potential for sophomore Malcolm Perry to flank him at some point in the future.
The Pilots missed the Region tournament in 2018. They do bring back speedy and athletic middle infielder Anthony Manuel (Finlandia University) to top the lineup and add a threat on the basepaths.
The Cavaliers made the Region tournament in 2018 as the eighth seed, and saw their season end at the hands of eventual Region Champ Menchville. Princess Anne should be in the mix for a tournament berth again in 2019 with the presence of senior infielder Zack Will (Bryant & Stratton). Look for junior lefty Tyler Horton to possibly have an impact season on the mound this spring for the Cavaliers.
The Sundevils made the Region tournament in 2018 and saw their season come an end in the quarterfinals. Salem has an interesting core of juniors that will make them competitive again this spring. Catcher Cade Brewer is an interesting prospect and junior lefty Colton Robinson showed some pitchability and feel at the Commonwealth Games last summer.
The Raiders missed the Region tournament in 2018, but they will feature a pair of committed seniors this spring in outfielder Kendall Hinton (Virginia Wesleyan) and infielder Kameron Graves (Erskine College) as they look to return to the playoffs in 2019.
More 2019 Previews