Prep Baseball Report

VHSL 5A 2017 Preview

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By John Nolan
Virginia Assistant Director and Content Manager

Earlier this month, we began our season previews by classification by taking a look at the smaller public schools. We began with VHSL 1A and VHSL 2A and then released our combined 1A/2A RankingsNext we started moving towards larger schools as we took a look at VHSL 3A and VHSL 4A and released our 3A/4A Rankings. Earlier this week, we looked at the non-WCAC private schools and today we will get back to VHSL with 5A.


In the North Region, three of the four conference champions advanced to the semifinals after their first round bye in the quarterfinals. Potomac pulled the only upset, knocking off Conference 14 champion Briar Woods. Atlee gave Marshall a tough game, but the Statesmen advanced to the semifinals. In the semifinals, Halifax and Mountain View faced off in an instant classic that went into the tenth inning scoreless before Mountain View won on a walk-off home run. In the other semifinal, Potomac upset Marshall in another pitcher’s duel. Mountain View then rallied late in the North Region championship game to win the program’s first Region title over Conference 15 rival Potomac.

In the South Region, the early rounds were ruled by the upset as three of the four conference champions were knocked off in the quarterfinals. Nansemond River beat Chesapeake rival Hickory in extra innings. Indian River shut down Menchville, continuing a run where senior John Fuqua (VMI) shut down pretty much any team he faced in 2016, and Godwin knocked off Prince George. In the semifinals, Nansemond River shut down Indian River’s offense and Godwin was able to squeeze out a win in a pitcher’s duel over Glen Allen. Nansemond River’s offense exploded in the title game, giving the Warriors the 5A South crown.

In the State semifinals, senior aces prevailed as Mountain View defeated Godwin behind a complete game from Dylan Hall (Virginia Tech). In the other semifinal, Nansemond River’s Michael Blanchard (Old Dominion) put a cap on his State Player of the Year season as he shut down Potomac, retiring the last sixteen batters of the game. In the championship, Nansemond River defeated Mountain View to win the 5A Championship.


Name Position School Class Commitment
Andrew Abbott LHP Halifax County 2017 Virginia
Evan Antonellis SS Potomac 2017  
Wilson Ayers LHP/OF Briar Woods 2018 Navy
Zackary Beach 3B Atlee 2019 Coastal Carolina
Zack Buck  C Broad Run 2017 Holy Cross
Justin Cherry SS North Stafford 2017 Rhode Island
Sean Clark RHP Briar Woods 2017  
Hunter Cochrane RHP Glen Allen 2017 Hampden-Sydney
Johnathan Cook RHP Tuscarora 2017 King University
Liam Deegan 3B Mills Godwin 2019 Virginia
Connor Dopp RHP/SS Glen Allen 2017  
Braydon Floyd RHP Stafford 2017 Charleston (WV)
Gary Fuller RHP Stone Bridge 2017 Army
Ty Germanowski RHP Briar Woods 2017 St. Bonaventure
Hunter Gregory RHP Hickory 2017 Old Dominion
Robert Guenther SS George C. Marshall 2017  
Bradley Hanner SS/RHP Orange County 2017 Patrick Henry CC
Drew Harlow RHP Halifax County 2018  
Dallas Jackson OF Lee-Davis 2017 James Madison
Adam Jewell SS Atlee 2018 Virginia Military Institute
Jarrid Johnson SS Nansemond River 2017
Tyler Knapp OF Menchville 2017 Longwood
Ben Knuff OF Tuscarora 2017 Greensboro College
Zach Lass C Lee-Davis 2019  
Michael Ludowig OF/LHP Briar Woods 2017 Wake Forest
Brody Mack LHP Potomac 2019  
Jarrett Mayer SS Nansemond River 2018  
Paul Moore OF Stone Bridge 2019  
Andrew Motley RHP Warwick 2017 Norfolk State
Chase Muir RHP Mills Godwin 2017 New Orleans
Justin Pearson LHP Mountain View 2017 William & Mary
Mikey Polansky 3B Hickory 2017 Virginia Tech
Matthew Ritchie 2B Broad Run 2017 Johns Hopkins
Justin Robles OF Potomac Falls 2017 Norfolk State
George Rosales C Briar Woods 2018  
Dawson Sims SS North Stafford 2017 Virginia Commonwealth
Grayson Sims C/RHP North Stafford 2018  
Trevon Smith OF Orange County 2017 Glenville State
Troy Turner SS Highland Springs 2018  
Hunter Vaughan 3B Matoaca 2018  
Gage Williams RHP Nansemond River 2018 Virginia Tech


Teams in bold were 2016 Region Tournament teams. 2016 Conference Champions are denoted by Conference number next to their name (11).

5A North 5A South
Albemarle Bethel
Atlee L.C. Bird
Briar Woods (14) Deep Run
Broad Run Douglas Freeman
Brooke Point Glen Allen (11)
Thomas Edison Mills Godwin
Falls Church Green Run
Halifax County (16) Hampton
Thomas Jefferson S&T Henrico
R.E. Lee-Springfield
George C. Marshall (13) Hickory (9)
Massaponax Highland Springs
Mountain View (15) Indian River
North Stafford Kecoughtan
Orange County Kempsville
Patrick Henry-Ashland Lee-Davis
Patrick Henry-Roanoke Matoaca
Potomac Maury
Potomac Falls Meadowbrook
Stafford Menchville (10)
Stone Bridge Nansemond River
J.E.B. Stuart Norview
Tuscarora Prince George (12)
Wakefield Princess Anne

Salem-Virginia Beach

J.R. Tucker



Atlee reached the North Region quarterfinals in 2016 and is poised to go deeper this spring. The Raiders have one of the most physical teams in Virginia and their lineup features the big bat of sophomore Zackary Beach (Coastal Carolina) and the athleticism of junior shortstop Adam Jewell (VMI). Seniors Carson Box and Clay Naff (UVA-Wise) return on the mound coming off of strong 2016s.

Briar Woods won Conference 14 in 2016 and advanced to the North Region tournament. The Falcons bring back the bulk of their team this spring and will be among the preseason favorites to be celebrating in Fairfax in June. Briar Woods will be led by dynamic two-way talent Michael Ludowig (Wake Forest) who anchors the middle of the Falcon lineup with a deadly power/speed combination and served as the closer last year, bringing a fastball that reaches 90. Also on the mound will be seniors Sean Clark, Ty Germanowski (St. Bonaventure), and Jack Jaekle and junior lefty Wilson Ayers (Navy). Ludowig will also be helped up the middle defensively by good shortstop Jake Kleifges and junior catcher George Rosales.

Broad Run missed the North Region tournament in a hypercompetitive Conference 14 in 2016 but the Spartans have a couple of pieces that will make them dangerous this spring. Senior infielder Matt Ritchie (Johns Hopkins) has some pop and senior catcher Zachary Buck (Bucknell) is back behind the plate.

Glen Allen won the 2015 4A State Championship and 2016 was the Jaguars’ first year in 5A. They won Conference 11 and reached the South Region semifinals before the season came to an end. While graduation will impact them, Glen Allen will again have one of the deeper rosters in 5A this spring. Back on the mound will be seniors Hunter Cochrane (Hampden-Sydney) and Connor Dopp (Shenandoah). Dopp will also contribute in the infield with fellow senior Ryan Skadra (Bridgewater).

Mills Godwin reached the State Tournament in 2016 and lost Conor Nolan (Princeton) to graduation. The Eagles do bring back senior righthander Chase Muir (New Orleans) and should get stronger as the season progresses as sophomore Liam Deegan (Virginia) matures into his potential at the plate.

Halifax County reached the Region semifinals in 2016, narrowly missing a trip to the State Tournament. Look for the Comets to get there this spring as senior lefty Andrew Abbott (Virginia) should be on the pre-season short list for 5A Player of the Year. Junior righthander Drew Harlow has the potential to form a solid one-two combo with Abbott at the top of Halifax’s rotation.

Hickory reached the South Region tournament in 2016 and won Conference 9. The Hawks will be a factor again in the 2017 as they bring back ace Hunter Gregory (Old Dominion) and big-time power bat Mikey Polansky (Virginia Tech).

Kecoughtan could take a step forward in 2017 as the Warriors return the bulk of their lineup and pitching staff from 2016. Senior Josh Husby (Christopher Newport) is the top returning arm and both and junior Dylan Updike hit over .400 in 2016. Senior Hunter Riss (Newport News Apprentice) has been an All-Conference honoree every year of his career so far.

Lee-Davis finished 2016 with a winning record but failed to qualify for the South Region tournament. The Confederates will be hurt by the loss of Justin Sorokowski (Florida State) to graduation, but will bring back a pair of senior pitchers that posted ERAs under 2 in 2016 in Bryan Diehr (Randolph-Macon) and Matthew Holler. The offense will feature 2016 All-Conference performers in senior outfielder Dallas Jackson (James Madison) and sophomore catcher Zach Lass.

Mountain View won Conference 15 and the North Region in 2016 and reached the State Championship game. The Wildcats will be hurt by graduating a group of seniors that had played together for three years, but still have some key pieces back this spring in senior lefty Justin Pearson (William & Mary) and junior infielder Josh Menders.

Nansemond River is the defending 5A champs. The Warriors lost eleven seniors to graduation, sending eight of them to play at the college level. Back on the mound this spring will be a pair of key contributors to the 2016 run senior Jarret Henderson and junior Gage Williams (Virginia Tech). Four year starter Jarrid Johnson will be back at short and junior Jarrett Mayer will also be back as the two will man the middle infield this spring.

North Stafford missed the Region tournament in 2016 but the Wolverines should be back in the mix late in the season this spring. They will have a solid one-two punch on the mound in seniors Justin Cherry (Rhode Island) and Dawson Sims (VCU), both of home will also anchor the lineup. Junior Grayson Sims could step into a big role as the season progresses.

Orange County made the North Region tournament in 2016 and has a some key pieces back in big outfield bat Trevon Smith (Glenville State) and two-way player Bradley Hanner (Patrick Henry CC) who will pitch at the top of the rotation and play short when not on the mound.

Stone Bridge won the 2015 State Championship and reached the North Region tournament in 2016. The Bulldogs lost a lot to graduation but will still have plenty of talent on the roster this spring. Senior Gary Fuller (Army) is back to top the rotation with fellow senior Chase Dunn in the mix as well. Seniors Zach Spahr (Frostburg State) and Billy Quinn (Eastern Mennonite) will be asked to step forward in the infield and sophomore Paul Moore could be the key to the offense as he has a ton of power potential and the potential to carry the offense at some point is his career.