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VHSL Region Preview: Class 2 Regions A & B


John Nolan
Virginia Assistant Director & Content Manager

TPG 6.19

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We continue our Region previews with a look at 2a Regions A and B. Regions A and B used to form the 2A East in the VHSL Alignment that ended last offseason. The split in the Region will allow four teams from this group to make a State Tournament appearance, as opposed to the normal two. The Region has plenty of teams with recent success, Madison County won the East Region in 2017 and Goochland was the other team to make a trip to the State Tournament. Goochland also reached the State Tournament in 2016, when the fell in the Championship game to Maggie Walker. Maggie Walker and Strasburg represented the Region at the 2015 State Tournament.

Region A is an all-in Region, meaning that all fourteen members of the Region make the tournament. This makes some sense, even with seven of the teams being in the James River District, the other seven members of the Region are spread out over numerous other Districts. Power points will be used to rank teams from 1-14, and then those rankings will be used to fill out a traditional sixteen team bracket. The top two seeds in the Region will get the benefit of a bye into the quarterfinals, which with the pitching rest rule could give them an added advantage of sending their aces to the mound in the quarterfinals against number twos.

Region B will be an eight team tournament with four representatives from each of the two districts that make up the Region, the Bull Run District and the Shenandoah District. Teams will be paired off for the tournament as they had been under older VHSL playoff systems to seed the bracket. For example, the Shenandoah District top seed will host the Bull Run District's fourth seed in the quarterfinals. There is a benefit to being in the Bull Run District in the new alignment, with only five schools in the District, only one team will miss the Region tournament each year. The Shenandoah District, on the other hand, has seven teams competing for their four spots. The Shenandoah District should be highly competitive as the District is coming off of a 2017 season that saw the majority of the District finish within a few games of .500, the race for those Region bids should be entertaining in 2018.

 

Top Prospects in the Region A

Name School Class Position Commitment
Austin Gault Poquoson 2018 OF  
Matthew Haines Maggie Walker 2018 SS Haverford
Willie Havens Amelia 2019 C Elon
John Killmon Nandua 2018 SS/RHP
Hunter Schmidt Poquoson 2019 3B  

 


2018 Region A

James River Other Districts
Amelia County Arcadia
Bluestone Bruton
Buckingham County Greensville
Goochland King William
Nottoway Nandua
Prince Edward Poquoson
Randolph-Henry Maggie Walker

***Italicized teams played in a 2017 2a Region Tournament

 

 

Top Prospects in the Region B

Name School Class Position Commitment
Carson Bell Robert E. Lee 2018 SS/RHP James Madison
Jay Nesson George Mason 2019 OF/RHP
Mack Rexrode East Rockingham 2018 LHP/OF Averett
T.R. Williams Page County 2021 LHP  

 


2018 Region B

Bull Run Shenandoah
Central (Woodstock) Buffalo Gap
Clarke County East Rockingham
Madison County Robert E. Lee
George Mason Luray
Strasburg Page County
  Stuart's Draft
  Wilson Memorial

***Italicized teams played in a 2017 2a Region Tournament

 

Teams to Watch Regions A and B

East Rockingham
The Eagles are coming off of .500 season that saw them miss the 2A West Region Tournament. The graduations of Jacob Merica (Eastern Mennonite) and Trenton Breedon (Bridgewater) will hurt East Rockingham's lineup in 2018. The Eagles do bring back All-District senior outfielder Mack Rexrode (Averett) as well as senior shortstop Luke Myers to help anchor the defense and lineup this spring. Also back will be the bulk of the Eagle pitching staff, with junior Nick Jenkins likely to lead the way. A key to the Eagles' success this spring could be the return of junior pitcher Dalton Jefferson after missing 2017 with an injury. If he comes back healthy, he and Jenkins have the potential to form a solid one-two punch on the mound.

Goochland
The Bulldogs enter 2018 having made two straight State Tournament appearances and as the 2017 2A East Region champs. They will lose a few key pieces from their 2017 team with the graduation of key bats Frank Mayosky and Tanner Bradshaw. Bradshaw also led the team in innings and wins. Despite those losses, Goochland should have a strong roster with the return of leading hitter John King as well as fellow seniors Tyler Ott, Wyatt Murray, and Patrick Harrigal. Murray will lead the staff and he finished 2017 second in innings but led the team in ERA. Look for senior Tyler Gentry to move into the number two spot alongside Murray and the Bulldogs should have a very good 1-2 punch on the mound to go with a veteran core to their lineup. 

King William
The Cavaliers had an outstanding 2017 regular season and entered the 2A East Region tournament with an 18-2 record, and one of those losses was to 5A Lee-Davis. King William unfortunately drew Goochland in the first round and the Cavaliers' season came to an end there. Graduation is going to impact the Cavalier lineup with the loss of All-State honorees Ryan Huffman, Shawn Parker, and Jacob Shepherd

Madison County
Madison was the 2017 Region Runners-up. The Mountaineers made an epic run in the 2A East Region tournament, upsetting Stuart's Draft and Randolph-Henry to reach the Region Championship game. This run was highly unlikely after a 2017 regular season that saw Madison County finish under .500, but that's part of what makes late May and June so much fun. Madison loses three infielders and two outfielders to graduation, but bring the rest of the roster back as the look to build on their late-season success.

Maggie Walker
The Governors won the 2A East Region and the 2A State Championship in 2016 and then struggled to follow up that success in 2017, missing the Region tournament. The Governors have historically had tough regular seasons before going on playoff runs, the reason being that they have traditionally played larger schools all season before going to the 2A playoffs. Despite all of the realignment, Maggie Walker remains a member of the Colonial District, which features six 5a schools and two 3a schools. When the playoffs begin, it'll be interesting how power points affect the Governors' seeding and don't sleep on them in late May. Senior Matthew Haines (Haverford) is back for one more year to anchor the offense.

Nandua
The Warriors finished 2017 just under .500, falling in the Conference semifinals to King William and narrowly missing a Region bid. Nandua only lost one player to graduation, so the core of the team will be back in 2018 for the Warriors to build on that season. Seniors Austin Atkinson and Garrett Baylis are coming off of good offensive seasons, and they should anchor the offense with help from sophomore Gary Kelly. On the mound, Nandua brings back all of its 2017 innings with Atkinson leading a trio of seniors that also includes John Kilmon and Michael McCluskey. Junior Caleb Ferry could also be a factor on the mound after having a solid 2017 in limited action. Look for Nandua to build on that rotation depth and continuity in the lineup and take a step forward in 2018.

Page County
Page County came up just one win short of a State bid in 2017, losing to Goochland in the 2A East semifinals. The Panthers will lose two-way talent Ryan Cave to graduation, subtracting their top arm from 2017 and an important bat. Aside from that, most of the Panther team will be back in 2018 and Page County should be poised to make a State Tournament trip. All-State senior catcher Jacob Day is back along with All-State sophomore Tristan Gordon to lead a stacked lineup that will also include senior Nathan Lucas and junior Noah Hammer, all of whom are coming off of very good 2017 seasons. Senior Tristan Eppard led the team in home runs in 2017 and earned All-State honors on the mound. Look for Eppard to pace a rotation that could see an expanded role for sophomore Chase Combs as well as a potential impact from freshman lefty T.R. Williams

Poquoson
The Islanders had an odd 2017 season, picking up some big wins early over Jamestown, Lafayette, and York as they came out of the gate with a 5-1 start. Unfortunately that strong start was followed up by a nine-game losing streak in the middle of the season. Poquoson rebounded at the end of the year, even picking up a blowout win over 5A Nansemond River. Look for the move down to 2a to vault Poquoson towards the top group in their Region. The Islanders have been strong in recent years,  making 3a State Tournament trips in 2014 and 2016, don't expect them to repeat 2017's down performance.

Randolph-Henry
Randolph-Henry made a deep run in 2017, reaching the Region semifinals before falling to Madison county in extra innings. They will suffer from from the graduation of top arm Raleigh Duffer (Randolph-Macon) and shortstop Josh Jones (James Madison). The Statesmen did bring back some key pieces, including senior Carter Strickland, who led the team in home runs in 2017. Strickland also finished the 2017 season second in innings and led the team in wins and ERA, so he should bring a veteran presence back to the rotation. Senior Eli Moore had a strong 2017 season on the mound in limited action and will need to step into a larger role for the Statesmen to get over the hump and into the State Tournament in 2018.