Virginia 2017 Private School Preview
March 6, 2017
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 Rankings. Next we started moving towards larger schools as we took a look at VHSL 3A and VHSL 4A and released our 3A/4A Rankings. Today we preview the non WCAC private schools in Virginia
2016 PLAYOFF RECAP
The first round of the Division I tournament went chalk for the most part, with the only upset coming from fifth-seeded Benedictine knocking off fourth-seeded Bishop O’Connell. Top seeds Paul VI and Collegiate both advanced to the championship game, where Collegiate won to capture the State Championship.
Greenbrier Christian captured its second straight State Championship with a come-from-behind win over Atlantic Shores Christian. The first round of the tournament saw a pair of big upsets as seventh-seeded Steward knocked off Highland and Atlantic Shores shut out third-seeded Nansemond-Suffolk. In the semifinals, Greenbrier Christian defeated Miller School in a duel of aces.
Southampton Academy capped off a successful 2016 with a VCC Championship and their second straight Division III State Championship. Southampton defeated Isle of Wight in the Championship game. Earlier in the tournament, third-seeded Walsingham Academy had been upset by a much improved Alliance Christian squad. North Cross was the other semifinalist, defeating Roanoke Catholic in the First Round before falling to Southampton.
PLAYERS TO WATCH IN VISAA
|Matt Ballance||IF||Cape Henry||2018||Virginia Tech|
|Nick Biddison||SS||St. Christopher's||2018||North Carolina|
|Nic Britt||SS||Greenbrier Christian||2020||Virginia|
|Ryan Boyce||SS||Isle of Wight||2019|
|Luke Burton||2B||Covenant School||2017||Davidson|
|Reid Celata||SS/RHP||Atlantic Shores Christian||2018|
|Matt Cooper||C||Norfolk Academy||2017||Clemson|
|Niall Doherty||3B||Atlantic Shores Christian||2017||George Washington|
|Maddison Furman||LHP||St. Christopher's||2018||Virginia Commonwealth|
|Don Goodes||OF||Greenbrier Christian||2018||Virginia Military Institute|
|Adam Hackenberg||C||Miller School||2018||Clemson|
|Jacob Haney||RHP||Covenant School||2017||William & Mary|
|Cameron Hill||OF||Woodberry Forest||2018|
|Evan Justice||LHP||Collegiate||2017||NC State|
|Nic Kent||SS||St. Anne's Belfield||2018||Virginia|
|Tyler Mahone||C||Covenant School||2017||Longwood|
|Tucker Mitchell||C||Flint Hill||2019|
|Will Moore||RHP||Covenant School||2017||William & Mary|
|Tanner Morris||SS||Miller School||2017||Virginia|
|Ethan Murray||RHP||Miller School||2018||Duke|
|Eli Ottinger||RHP||Benedictine||2017||James Madison|
|Josh Pittman||RHP||Highland||2017||St. Bonaventure|
|Hunter Ramirez||SS||Cape Henry||2017||Liberty|
|Travis Reifsnider||3B||Collegiate||2018||James Madison|
|Jonathan Sawyers||LHP||Atlantic Shores Christian||2018||Old Dominion|
|Callaway Sigler||OF||Benedictine||2018||James Madison|
|Will Simon||1B||Benedictine||2017||James Madison|
|Jimmy Starnes||SS||St. Christopher's||2019|
|Erik Stock||SS/RHP||Greenbrier Christian||2017||Old Dominion|
|Will Wagner||2B||Miller School||2018||Liberty|
|Jack Weeks||LHP||Paul VI||2018||Georgetown|
|Parker Wilburn||C||Trinity Episcopal||2018|
TEAMS TO WATCH IN 2017
Atlantic Shores reached the Division II championship game in 2016 and the Seahawks bring back most of their core this spring. Senior Niall Doherty (George Washington) brings plenty of pop to the middle of the lineup. Juniors Reid Celata and Jonathan Sawyers (Old Dominion) give Shores a good one-two punch on the mound.
Benedictine reached the Division I semifinals in 2016 and is poised to win a State Championship in 2017. The Cadets bring back senior ace Eli Ottinger (James Madison) and will have a lineup that features Ottinger and fellow senior Will Simon (James Madison) as well as juniors Callaway Sigler (James Maidson) and Gregory Ryan (Pittsburgh). Sigler is an athletic outfielder that may protect Simon in the lineup while Ryan is a very toolsy player. Both juniors could wind up being the key to Benedictine’s season offensively.
Collegiate is the defending Division I champions and the Cougars will bring back senior ace Evan Justice (NC State) who emerged in 2016 and dominated in the Division I tournament. Also back this year for the Cougars will be junior Travis Reifsnider (James Madison) and freshman Nigel Williams. Look for the athletic Williams to contribute more consistently on offense this spring after starting for the State Champs as an eighth grader in 2016.
Covenant made the Division II tournament in 2016 before falling to crosstown rival Miller School. The Eagles bring back the bulk of their team this spring and are poised for a deep postseason run. Seniors Jacob Haney (William & Mary) and Will Moore (William & Mary) will cap a deep rotation and will also be a part of one of the deepest lineups in Virginia. The lineup will be rounded out by seniors Luke Burton (Davidson), Tyler Mahone (Longwood), and Blake Schaar (Eastern Mennonite).
Greenbrier Christian is the two-time defending Division II champion and the Gators will open this season with a new coach for the first time in a while. While Greenbrier lost a lot to graduation, the Gators should still have a team that can defend their titles this spring. Senior Erik Stock (Old Dominion) will be back in the middle of the lineup and should have an increased role on the mound. Junior outfielder Don Goodes (VMI) has a big arm in the outfield and some power potential and freshman Nic Britt (Virginia) could also help fill the holes left in the middle infield.
Highland was the second seed in the Division II playoffs in 2016 and the Hawks bring back the bulk of their team this spring. Highland’s rotation will be led by seniors Josh Pittman (St. Bonaventure) and Timmy Stephan (Rider). Stephan will also be a major factor in a lineup that will also have senior catcher Jacob Zoller (Emory & Henry) and sophomore Luke Burner.
Miller reached the Division II semifinals in 2016 and the Mavericks are among the early favorites to celebrate a 2017 championship at Shepherd Stadium this spring. Miller’s lineup will feature top senior prospect Tanner Morris (Virginia) as well as junior transfer Adam Hackenberg (Clemson) and junior Will Wagner (Liberty). Junior Ethan Murray (Duke) returns to top Miller’s rotation.
St. Christopher’s will be a team on the rise this spring as the have a talented pair of juniors in lefty Maddison Furman (VCU) and two-player Nick Biddison (North Carolina). Sophomore Jimmy Starnes should form a fun double-play combination with Biddison.
Steward reached the Division II semifinals in 2016 and will bring back what has the potential to develop into an outstanding rotation over the next few years. Sophomore lefties Carson Jones (Virginia) and Logan Ransom will again be joined by freshman lefty Harrison Clifton (Clemson) in a rotation that will give Steward a chance against any opponent.
Keep an eye out for Walsingham Academy. They return two .400+ hitters in 2019's SS/RHP Tredell Blow and IF/RHP Zach Stanko, along with freshman Tanner Schobel. Blow was second on the team in appearances and led in batting average last season with Stanko just behind in both categories. Alongside Blow, 2018 Jason Covaney will provide innings after leading the team in innings last year.
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