VHSL Region Preview: Class 5 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 5a Region A. This Region has been part of the 5a South for the last four years and is made up of schools that are primarily in the Peninsula, Newport News, Chesapeake, and Beach areas. The realignment will not feel like that big of a change here as the 5a South had essentially split itself into two portions the last few years, with what is now Region 5b being the Richmond half of the old Region, and this group of schools making up the other half. 

The Region tournament will be an eight team tournament, with power points being used exclusively to determine who makes the tournament and to seed them. It will be interesting to see how the power points are calculated in this Region, as Southeastern District schools will play a lot of games against larger 6a  competition. This could create a disadvantage for them if there is not a form of bonus point built in for playing a larger school.

As far as playoff history, Menchville has dominated its Peninsula opponents over the last handful of years and has been on the precipice of State Tournament berths for a handful of years before making it to the State Tournament in 2017, only to be defeated in the semifinals by the eventual State Champions. Nansemond River had a down 2017, but won the 2016 5a State Championship. Hickory made it to the State Tournament in 2014 and 2015, winning the State Championship in 2014 and losing to the eventual State Champions in 2015.


Top Prospects in the Region

Name School Class Position Commitment
Sam Alheit Indian River 2019 OF/LHP  
Ben Capehart Maury 2018 RHP  
Mason Dunaway Hickory 2019 SS James Madison
Kameron Graves Warwick 2019 SS Erskine College
Tyler Horton Princess Anne 2020 LHP
Mitchell Huffman Kempsville 2018 LHP Marymount
Jimmy Loper Hickory 2018 RHP Duke
Jarrett Mayer Nansemond River 2018 SS  
Trey Morgan Hampton 2019 LHP  
Jacob Mustain Hickory 2018 1B VMI
Brandon Parks Bethel 2020 LHP/1B
Trevor Saniano Indian River 2018 RHP/C  
Gage Williams Nansemond River 2018 RHP Longwood


2018 Region A Districts

Beach Eastern Peninsula Southeastern
Green Run Maury Bethel Hickory
Kempsville Norview Gloucester Indian River
Princess Anne   Hampton Nansemond River
Salem (Beach)   Kecoughtan  

*Italicized teams played in a 2017 5a Northern Region tournament


Region A Teams to Watch

Hickory reached the Region tournament in 2017 and fell in the quarterfinals to Menchville. The departure of Hunter Gregory (Old Dominion) takes one of the Hawks aces away, but back will be senior righty Jimmy Loper (Duke) to expand on an outstanding 2017. Mikey Polansky's (Virginia Tech) graduation robs Hickory of some home run power in the middle of the lineup, but senior Jacob Mustain (VMI) will provide plenty of pop of his own. Junior Mason Dunaway (James Madison) is another talented infielder back for the Hawks this spring and senior shortstop Chance Maddox also adds experience on the infield. The Hawks have some intriguing youngsters as well, junior righty Jake Sampson and sophomore lefty Scott Crosson could add some depth on the mound for a team that figures to challenge for the Region championship.

Indian River
The Warriors missed the 2017 Region tournament, but they bring back most of their position starters and the bulk of their pitching staff, positioning them to be dangerous in the Region A tournament this spring. Senior Trevor Saniano and junior Sam Alheit will both be huge two-way contributors, likely claiming the top two spots in the Warrior rotation and forming the core of the lineup. Saniano provides big pop in the middle of the lineup and Alheit adds speed and a potential shut down arm on the mound.

The Chiefs won the program's first Conference Championship in over 30 years in 2017 and advanced to the Region semifinals before falling to Menchville. The graduation of senior Caleb Hunter removes a two-way All-State contributor from the Chiefs' roster. Lefty Mitchell Huffman (Marymount), who threw a shutout in the Chiefs' Region quarterfinal victory, will be back for his senior season in 2018.

The Monarchs have been regular 5a South Region tournament participants for a few years, and 2017 was no different as they captured the PenSouth Conference championship. Menchville tossed a pair shutouts against Kempsville and Gloucester in the Region tournament to propel them to the State Tournament, where they fell in the semifinals to eventual State Champion Briar Woods. The Monarchs lost ace Tyler Knapp and bat Riley Sweeney to graduation, but they should retool quickly and be in the mix late in the Region A tournament in 2018.

Nansemond River
The Warriors missed the Region tournament in 2017 after capturing a State Championship the year before. Having graduated a very large class of 2016, Nansemond River had a bit of a rebuilding season in 2017. In 2018, the Warriors will be poised to challenge to return to the State Tournament. Joining the team via transfer is senior catcher Jonoven Savage. Also ready to be the focal point of the offense is senior and three-year infield starter Jarrett Mayer. Senior righthander Gage Williams (Longwood) is poised to perform like a true ace, and he could help carry the Warriors far this year.

Salem is coming off of a .500 season and has some young talent to go with four returning pitchers. Sophomore catcher Cade Brewer is one of the key returning pieces on offense, as is senior Sterling Christian. Sophomore lefty Colton Robinson has a chance to have an impact on the rotation with a three pitch mix while freshman infielder Kyle Edwards had a standout performance at the Freshman Free Showcase in January and should contribute for the Redhawks at some point this spring.