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VHSL Region Preview: Class 5 Region B


John Nolan
Virginia Assistant Director & Content Manager

UG 6.20

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We continue our Region previews with a look at 5a Region B. This Region was primarily a part of the 5a South under the previous alignment, and as with Region A, schools here will not notice a lot of change during postseason play as the old 5a South Region tournament essentially divided itself into two halves anyone. The big difference will be that the instead of one team from the Peninsula/Beach/Chesapeake area and one team from Richmond going to the State Tournament, each area will send two teams to the State tournament now. Region B is made up of schools primarily in Richmond or its suburbs. Another slight change will be some the schools from the Northern Richmond suburbs, such as Atlee, were in the 5a North.

The Region B tournament will be an eight team tournament going forward. With teams spread across four Districts of mixed make-up, Region B will use power points to rank the fifteen teams, with the top eight going to the playoff and their ranking being their seed. We have not seen exactly how power points will be calculated for Region B. Depending on the final system, Bird could be at a disadvantage sharing a District with four Class 6 schools, each of whom they will have to play twice during the regular season. 

As for recent playoff success in Region B, Prince George was the South Region champions in 2017, sporting a dominant offense all year. The Royals were also strong in 2016, but it was Mills Godwin who made the State Tournament trip from the Richmond area. Douglas Freeman represented the Richmond area at the State Tournament in 2014 and 2015, with the Rebels finishing as the State Runners-up in 2014. Glen Allen reached the State Tournament in 2015 and won the 4a State Championship that year, before moving up to 5a in 2016.

 

Top Prospects in the Region

Name School Class Position Commitment
Zackary Beach Atlee 2019 1B Coastal Carolina
Cooper Benzin Glen Allen 2018 OF VCU
Noah Cornwell Mills Godwin 2019 3B James Madison
Liam Deegan Mills Godwin 2019 3B Virginia
Daniel Dunn Highland Springs 2018 2B
Connor Hicks Glen Allen 2018 C VCU
Brandon Hill Deep Run 2019 RHP
Adam Jewell Atlee 2018 RHP/SS VMI
Carson Jones Deep Run 2019 LHP Virginia
John Kish Atlee 2018 RHP James Madison
Zach Lass Lee-Davis 2019 C Richmond
Brooks Mazey Deep Run 2019 SS
Justin Starke Prince George 2019 C VMI
Carter Trice Lee-Davis 2020 SS  
Tevin Tucker Prince George 2019 SS West Virginia
Jacob Waltman Matoaca 2018 LHP Louisburg JC

 


2018 Region B Districts

Capital Central Colonial Dominion
Atlee Matoaca Deep Run L.C. Bird
Henrico Meadowbrook Douglas Freeman  
Highland Springs Prince George Glen Allen  
Lee-Davis   Mills Godwin  
Varina   Hermitage  
    J.R. Tucker  

*Italicized teams played in the 2017 5a South Region tournament

 

Teams to Watch Region B

Atlee
The Raiders have been strong the last few years and made the 2017 5a North Region tournament. Graduation took some veteran leadership off of Atlee's team, the departures of Carson Box (Hampden-Sydney) and Clay Naff (UVA-Wise) hurt the pitching staff and Kamari Davis (Messiah) will be out of the lineup and outfield as well. Despite those losses, Atlee is going to have a very deep team in 2018. Seniors John Kish (James Madison), Adam Jewell (VMI), and Preston Eacho will be back to form a good group on the mound, with Kish having the stuff to put up an ace performance in 2018. Power-hitting junior Zackary Beach (Coastal Carolina) will be back in the middle of the lineup again and Jewell will man short when not pitching, where his athleticism and big arm makes him a rangy plus defender. Jon Thomas Fitzpatrick adds another senior bat with power on the infield. With the benefit of not having to worry about a District tournament upset impacting a Region trip, look for Atlee to go deep in the Region tournament and potentially make a State Tournament trip in 2018.

L.C. Bird
The Skyhawks had a tough 2017 season and missed a Region berth, but they bring back the bulk of their lineup and a handful of pitchers, setting them up for a better 2018 season. Junior outfielder Tarriq White is coming back off of an All-Conference season and fellow junior Jaelen Hines brings speed again in center and near the top of the lineup, swiping 20 bases in 2017. Junior two-way player Zack Kennedy brings pop at the plate and joins White and Hines in forming a talented core of experienced juniors for Bird this spring.

Deep Run
The Wildcats came up one win short of a State Tournament trip in 2017, falling to Prince George in the Region semifinals. What began as a fifth seed in the Conference tournament turned into a Conference Championship and near State bid as a young Wildcats team matured quickly during its deep playoff run. Deep Run will be even stronger in 2018 as they add junior lefty Carson Jones (Virginia) from Steward via transfer. Jones has legitimate ace potential, and the combination of him and junior righty Brandon Hill has a chance to develop into a dynamic 1-2 for the Wildcats. Deep Run's lineup should be solid as well with the presence of junior infielder Brooks Mazey and sophomore outfielder Nick Noonan, who is coming off of an All-State freshman year.

Glen Allen
The Jaguars missed a Region bid in 2017 and saw more pieces of their 2015 4a State Championship team depart via graduation. Gone are pitchers Hunter Cochrane (Hampden-Sydney) and Connor Dopp (Shenandoah) as well as All State infielder Ryan Skadra. Senior righty Justin Walton (Norfolk State) will see his role increase this spring. The Jaguars have a solid core to their lineup with senior catcher Connor Hicks (VCU) and senior outfielder Cooper Benzin (VCU) as key pieces to it.

Matoaca
Matoaca reached the Region tournament in 2017 as the Conference 12 runners-up and lost a tight game to a hot Deep Run team in the Quarterfinals, ending their season. The Warriors look like a team that will be a Region tournament participant again in 2018 and have difference-making ace on the mound in senior lefty Jacob Waltman (Louisburg JC). Senior righty Justin Parker (North Carolina Central) adds a second arm with upside, as his big outfield velocity could begin to transfer to the mound. When not pitching, Parker has a game-changing outfield arm and adds a veteran bat, as does senior infielder Hunter Vaughan.

Mills Godwin
Godwin entered the 2017 South Region tournament as the runners-up from Conference 11. The Eagles drew eventual Region champ Prince George in the quarterfinals and saw their season come to a close. The Eagles lost a few key players with the Class of 2017's graduation, including Chase Muir (New Orleans). Godwin brings back seven starting position players and four arms this spring, and they are poised for a deeper run in the 2018 Region B tournament. Junior Mark Buisson earned All-Region honors and is back in the outfield. Fellow juniors Noah Cornwell (James Madison) and Liam Deegan (Virginia) will form also be a part of a core of returning All-Conference juniors that will make Godwin a strong team in 2018 and an early State Championship favorite in 2019. Senior pitcher Scott McDonough (Florence-Darlington JC) will bring a veteran arm to the Eagle rotation.

Lee-Davis
The Generals missed the South region tournament in 2017. Graduation took Lee-Davis' top bat in Dallas Jackson (James Madison) and top arm in Bryan Diehr (Randolph-Macon). The Generals have some interesting young pieces that will make them a team to watch in 2018. Junior catcher Zach Lass (Richmond) is a solid prospect and sophomore infielder Carter Trice has the raw tools to potentially end up as the top prospect in his class by the time he graduates, with a legitimate shot to be using all five tools in game at an elite level by then.

Prince George
The Royals won the 5a South Region championship in 2017 and have had a dominant offense in recent years, powering them to outstanding records. The graduation of All-State performer Tucker Majetic (Averett) will be a blow, but Prince George should be plenty talented and will likely be one of the top teams in 5a in 2018. Senior Jonathan Walton (Ferrum) is back to top the rotation, and senior lefty Hunter Carden (Randolph-Macon) will offer a good second option on the mound. The lineup again should be dynamic, with Walton bringing pop in the middle of it and senior shortstop Tevin Tucker (West Virginia) bringing game-changing speed and power potential to the top of the lineup. Junior catcher Justin Starke (VMI) will miss the beginning of the season with a minor injury, but when he returns he will add another dynamic bat to the lineup as well as elite defense behind the plate for the Royals.