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VHSL Region Preview: Class 4 Region A


John Nolan
Virginia Assistant Director & Content Manager

TPG 6.19

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We continue our Region previews with a look at Class 4 Region A. The members of Region A have been a part of the 4A East for the last four seasons and will now form their own Region going forward. This Region concentrates schools along the I-64 East corridor, including schools from the Williamsburg, Beach, and Chesapeake areas. As far as the Region is concerned, this split will not feel like that big of a change for these schools, as the 4A East had essentially subdivided itself the last few years, with the current Region A schools seeding half of the bracket and playing through each other and the Region B schools filling out the other half.

These schools are spread out over numerous Districts, many of which feature schools in Class 5 or Class 6. As a result, the thirteen members of this Region have decided to use a power points system to seed an eight team Region tournament to determine their two State Tournament teams. In the system that Region A will use, a win is seven points, a loss to a 4a or smaller school is no points, a loss to a 5a school is one point, and a loss to a 6a school is two points. Those additional points were meant to help schools such as Deep Creek and Great Bridge, which will play most of their regular season schedule against 6a schools in the Southeastern District.

This Region features plenty of teams with recent playoff success. Great Bridge was the East Region runners-up in 2017 and made a State Tournament appearance and the Wildcats were also the AAA State Runners-up in the final year of the old VHSL system, 2013. Jamestown went to the State Tournament in 2016 and Lafayette won a State Championship in 2015 as a 3a school. Grafton also made a State Tournament appearance in 2014.

 

Top Prospects in the Region

Name School Class Position Commitment
Justin Bowers Grafton 2018 3B North Carolina Central
Tyler Cotten Grafton 2020 C
Caleb Elder Great Bridge 2018 RHP/OF Hampden-Sydney
Jacob Faivre Deep Creek 2019 RHP
Noah Floyd King's Fork 2018 LHP Marymount
Trey Gibson Grafton 2020 RHP  
Brelon Harden Great Bridge 2018 SS VMI
Joseph Majewicz Grafton 2019 LHP  
Spencer Pietruszynski Jamestown 2018 OF Randolph-Macon
Geo Rivera Lafayette 2019 RHP Old Dominion
Parker Russell Great Bridge 2019 OF  
Chase Smith Lafayette 2018 RHP VMI
Zachary Wojnarowski Grafton 2019 SS/RHP

 


2018 Region A

Churchland Deep Creek
Denbigh Grafton
Great Bridge Heritage (Newport News)
Jamestown King's Fork
Lafayette Lake Taylor
Smithfield Warhill
Woodrow Wilson  

*Italicized teams played in a 2017 4a Region tournament

 

Teams to Watch

Grafton
The Clippers missed the Region tournament in 2017, but a group of very talented sophomores and juniors should get them into the 2018 Region A tournament and potentially carry them deep into it as well. Grafton brings back its three biggest contributors on the mound from 2017, sophomore Trey Gibson and juniors Joe Majewicz and Andrew Shartzer. That depth of experience on the mound bodes well for a run in 2018 and will likely make Grafton one of the strongest teams in 4a in 2019. Back in the lineup after strong 2017s will be sophomore catcher Tyler Cotten and senior infielder Justin Bowers (North Carolina Central). Shartzer also contributes at the plate, and a key to the Clippers 2019 success could be the continued emergence of two-way junior Zachary Wojnarowski.

Great Bridge
Great Bridge had a strong 2017 season and finished as the Conference 17 champions and East Region runners-up, losing in the State semifinals to 2017 State Champion Liberty Christian. The Wildcats mashed a lot of home runs in 2017 to power themselves on their postseason run. The graduation of Dalton Jackson, Burghie Miller, and Andruw Harman will impact the lineup, but the Wildcats do have some key pieces coming back. Senior Caleb Elder (Hampden-Sydney) had a strong season at the plate and a bigger one on the mound in 2017, emerging as an ace for Great Bridge. Senior shortstop Brelon Harden (VMI) is also back for one more season.

Jamestown
Jamestown just missed making a second consecutive State Tournament trip in 2017, falling to Hanover in a one-run game in the Region semifinals. The Eagles will be hurt by graduation for the second year in a row, losing shortstop and ace Ryan Devine (St. Joseph's), third baseman Andrew Barrow, and catcher Kevin Mooney (Georgia State). The Eagles do bring back senior outfielder Spencer Pietruszynski (Randolph-Macon) who will be a centerpiece in the lineup and also one of Jamestown's top arms in 2018.

Lafayette
The 2015 3a State champions fell in the 4A East Region quarterfinals in 2017 as the Rams got shut down by State Tournament-bound Great Bridge. The Rams lose catcher John Keane (Old Dominion) to graduation, as well as two-way contributor Chase Bauer and the bulk of their 2017 offense, which featured six seniors receiving a large number of at-bats. Despite losing a lot of offense, the Rams do bring back their top two arms. Lafayette will have the best one-two punch on the mound in Region A this spring in righthanders Chase Smith (VMI) and Geo Rivera (Old Dominion). With those two on the mound, the Rams should be able to scratch enough offense with Rivera's power in the middle of the lineup and a step forward from fellow junior Ricky Sullivan.