Prep Baseball Report

VHSL 4A West Region Preview

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By PBR VA/DC Staff

4A Bracket

The 4A West is arguably the best Region in VHSL this year. The talent that will be on the field during this tournament is impressive and should be appreciated for what it is. Two current members of the Top 10 in our Power 25 are in this field as well as two other ranked teams. Six of the ten teams in the field were ranked at some point this season.

Jefferson Forest defeated Woodgrove 4-1 on Friday night as Indiana Hall (Concord) threw the Cavaliers' third no-hitter of the spring. Loudoun Valley walked off in the seventh to beat Byrd as Justin Ager (Yale) threw a complete game in the win.

A look at the Conference Champions:

Conference 21 West champion Millbrook is currently No. 16 in the Power 25, and has been ranked the entire season. The Pioneers are on a ten game winning streak and have been carried all year by dominant pitching with some timely late game hitting. Millbrook has allowed more than three runs only once this spring, and has a rotation that is led senior Trey Braithwaite (Navy), juniors Ryan Kennedy (Kennesaw State) and Anthony Simonelli (Coastal Carolina), and senior shortstop Alex Amos (Pittsburgh). Amos, Trenton Burgreen (Shepherd), and Conor Hartigan (Coastal Carolina) form the core of the Pioneer lineup and also anchor the defense up the middle.

Conference 21 East Loudoun County returns to the Regional tournament after missing it last year. The Raiders had to win their way into the Regional by capturing the Conference Tournament championship by beating Leesburg rival Heritage in the Championship game. Loudoun County has won three in a row and has a young team that has improved throughout the season. Sophomore Will Schroeder has been a force at the plate on the mound this season, hitting for the cycle in a game in April as well as putting up some dominant performances on the mound.

No. 11 Kettle Run is the Conference 22 regular season and tournament champions, going undefeated in conference play. The Cougars have won sixteen straight games since their lone loss of the season in March to Amherst County. The Cougars have a veteran team that has been playing together for a while and made a run to the Regional semifinals in 2015, narrowly missing a State Tournament trip. Kettle Run’s lineup is anchored by one of the most dynamic players in this tournament, Brenton Doyle (VMI), and the Cougars have a deep pitching staff led by brothers Max and Hayden Lilek.

We have written a lot about Conference 23 champion No. 3 Liberty Christian Academy this year. They have been one of the more interesting stories to follow as the first private school to take advantage of a VHSL policy change allowing private schools to compete for what has historically been a public school championship. The Bulldogs won the 2014 and 2015 VISAA Division I Championships and enter the Region tournament undefeated against opponents from the Commonwealth, a feat they managed in 2015 as well. Following a theme from some of the teams in this tournament, LCA has an elite one-two punch on the mound in seniors Zack Hess (Louisiana State) and Garret Price (Liberty) with plenty of depth behind them to go with an athletic defense and a deep lineup.

Salem won the Conference 24 tournament and the Spartans will ride a three game winning streak into the tournament, defeating Pulaski County to clinch their Regional bid and Byrd to win the Conference Championship. Salem’s lineup is a veteran one and is led by seniors Andrew Crandall (Bryant) and Delmarcus Talley (Virginia State).

John Nolan
Championship: Liberty Christian defeats Jefferson Forest
Dark Horse:  I will go with Jefferson Forest here because they are a two seed and the obvious choice. Woodgrove would have been a good candidate as a hot team entering the tournament with a good group of arms.
Early Upset: Loudoun County defeats Salem. Schroeder is capable of taking over a game.
Best Game on Paper: LCA vs. Jefferson Forest, this was the Conference 23 Championship Game, which was an outstanding game, and there is no reason to think that it wouldn't be again. This is a stacked region, so all of the games should be good, other potential good matchups would be Kettle Run-Jefferson Forest and LCA vs Millbrook.

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