VHSL 6A Spring Forward Previews: Region D
March 10, 2023
Classification: VHSL 6A / Region D 2022 Record: 12-8
Bryce Eldridge (Alabama) is the answer to any questions surrounding the Warhawks spring season. The 2021 Class 6 State Champs had a down year by their standards in 2022, but that doesn't mean anything for this spring. Eldridge is back for one more run coming off of a monster performance for USA Baseball in 2022. He will be the centerpiece in the lineup and has a big arm that could take things over on the mound as well for Coach Pudge Gjormand. Eldridge is complemented by a deep senior class that includes pitchers Eli Novario (Christopher Newport), Cooper Charneco (Washington & Lee), and Michael Allen (Eastern Mennonite) as well as bats Jason Cassidy (York PA) and Conner Moore (Lynchburg). A few underclassmen to keep an eye on are potential contributors like Niko Papathanasiou and Hector Orozco. Look for the Warhawks to be at or near the top of the Concorde District.
Classification: VHSL 6A / Region D 2022 Record: 17-7 *Lost in Region Semi's*
The Highlanders lost their longtime ace with the departure of Griffin Stieg (Virginia Tech) and also lost a very good number two in Evan Fontaine. Despite that, look for Coach John Dowling's team to be in the mix again late in the season as they are yet again stacked with talent. On the mound, look for a pair of juniors who got some work last season to step into a ton more this year as righties Aidan Carey (James Madison) and Jack Nance should see their roles expand. Offensively, sophomore Ethan Ball (Virginia Tech) was a barrel machine down the stretch as a freshman and should start to show some more consistent power this spring, he is incredibly athletic and has some of the most talent upside in the class. Yuta Shimo is another contributor who is back this spring. Christopher Morabito (Bucknell) is another infielder for McLean that will be a big piece on the front end of the lineup. Lastly, a player to keep an eye on this spring is sophomore Gabriel Pegues, who has an interesting athletic profile and could carve out a significant role.
Classification: VHSL 6A / Region D
The 2022 State Runners-up lost quite a bit to graduation, but there is enough coming back that it's hard to count Coach Steve Frank's squad out. Offensively, seniors Mitch Maurer (Shenandoah) and Liam Willson (Wake Forest) are both back. Maurer took over the leadoff spot in 2022, providing on base skills and surprising power. Willson has long been among the top prospects in the Class of 2023, bringing speed, power from both sides of the plate, and a competitive edge that is hard to match, with an example being when he scored from second in the state-semifinals on a pop up behind third that fell in no-man's land, reading it early and making a play. On the mound, senior Connor Godshalk (Christopher Newport) was outstanding down the stretch last year and should see his usage increase. He attacks the zone low and can really spin it and made some big pitches in the State Semifinal win over Colgan. An X-Factor on the mound will be physical junior righty James Beasley, who has the potential to be an ace for the Hornets.
Classification: VHSL 6A / Region D 2022 Record: 7-13
Marshall is coming off of a tough season, but saw some bright spots with some young arms. Noah Grossman, Nathan Lake, Nick Robinson, and Vincent Salvo will bring some experience and talent to the 2023 Statesmen club. Marshall also returns a few upperclass pieces in the lineup that should help. Ben Jones (Bloomsburg) and Aiden Han (Middlebury) are two contributors to the offense that should be solid pieces in 2023. They have the depth on the mound and if the offense can figure it out, they have a chance to compete in Region D.
Classification: VHSL 6A / Region D 2022 Record: 14-10
Yorktown could be a sneaky one in Region D this year. The Patriots have a good offense with a versatile lineup that can produce runs in bunches. Will they have the arms to win the big games? They will be led on the mound by JMU commit, Jack Rucker. Rucker should be accompanied by James Pilot, Grayson McCarthy, Thomas Koomey. Rucker has the stuff and ability to shut down opposing offenses, but will need some help from the rest of the staff to finish out the big games and have solid starts when he is not on the mound. Trevor McAndrews (Emory) and Kyle Langley (JMU) should be two of the premier bats in the lineup, but you cannot forget about Ryan Powers, Isaac Hobbs, and Rucker to make contributions in the lineup as well.
Classification: VHSL 6A / Region D 2022 Record: 7-16
The pitching staff allowed their fair share of runs in 2022, but the Saxons return some of their arms. They are a year older and have made some gains since last spring. Hank Lippman (William & Mary) should be staff ace, but could also get some help on the mound from Andrew Schindler (Haverford) Nicholas Capps, Nick Newburn, and Vinnie Rana. Patrick Kelly (McDaniel), Matthew Kim (Gettysburg), and Adham Sahebzadah are a few names to know in the lineup. If their arms can be consistent on the mound, expect Langley to turn things around in '23.
Classification: VHSL 6A / Region D
The Cougars were feisty in 2022 and lost Ethan Jones (Shepherd) to graduation, but they have some pieces back and rotation depth and are a dark horse challenger in the Concorde District and Region D. Senior catcher Robbie Lavey (George Washington) will again be the centerpiece to the offense and toolsy junior infielder Noah Toole will have a chance to be an impact bat as well. On the mound, a trio of seniors return with experience for Oakton. Lefties Tanner Vislay and Alex Crudder (Lynchburg) and righty Zach Danielcyzk (Tampa) will provide a volume of quality innings for the Cougars and any of the three of them could emerge as a dominant pitcher this spring.