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VHSL Region Preview: Class 5 Region C


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 C. The teams in this Region were members of 5a North in previous years. This will be another case where the new alignment will cut down on travel during the Region tournament, as previously the 5a North included schools in Fredericksburg, North Richmond, and the western Virginia, as far south as Halifax. With the National District located in Fairfax and the Potomac District located, in Loudoun, this will be a Northern Virginia only Region going forward. 

A few key changes of note here is the addition of Freedom-South Riding to 5a after being a member of 4a for the last few years. Another change is that Marshall and Stuart will play the regular season and National District tournament as though they are members of 5a, but they will jump to 6a Region tournaments instead of the Region C tournament.

The Region C tournament will be an eight tournament team, with three teams coming from the National District and five from the Potomac District. The fifth seed from the Potomac District will play the top seed from the Potomac, with the other three matchups in the quarterfinals being a National District team paired with a Potomac District team, based on seeding of District finish.

As for recent playoff success, there has been plenty by teams in this Region. Briar Woods is the defending 5a State Champions after the Falcons won a marathon 14-inning championship game in 2017. Stone Bridge made State Tournament trips as the North Region champion in 2014 and 2015, winning the 5a State Championship in 2015.

 

Top 10 Prospects in the Region

Name School Class Position Commitment
Wilson Ayers Briar Woods 2018 LHP Naval Academy
David Drummond Tuscarora 2018 1B Shepherd
Patrick Halligan Marshall 2018 RHP George Mason
Todd Hartmann Thomas Jefferson S&T 2019 LHP/OF  
Matt House Stone Bridge 2018 2B/RHP Shenandoah
Cameron Karicher Falls Church 2019 SS/RHP
Paul Moore Stone Bridge 2019 OF  
Nate Savino Potomac Falls 2020 LHP Virginia 
Eric Schlier Marshall 2019 OF  
Will Schroeder Freedom South Riding 2018 SS/RHP North Carolina 

 


2018 Region C Districts

National Potomac
Thomas Edison Briar Woods
Falls Church Broad Run
Thomas Jefferson S&T John Champe
Lee (Fairfax) Freedom (South Riding)
Wakefield Potomac Falls
  Rock Ridge
Marshall** Stone Bridge
Stuart** Tuscarora

*Italicized teams played in the 2017 5a Northern Region tournament
**Play in District during regular season and District Tournament, move to 6a for Region play

 

District Previews

National: 
Marshall has dominated the National District for a while now, and that will likely continue in 2018. The Statesmen do have to play in the Class 6 postseason, but they will play their regular season games as members of the District. Marshall has consistently been a team that is sound fundamentally and pitches and plays good defense in recent years. This year's edition should be no different, senior righty Patrick Halligan (George Mason) will be the best pitcher in the District, and Marshall will be hard to beat with him on the mound. Some new position talent will step forward this spring as big classes have graduated the last few years from Marshall, including infielder Robert Guenther. Junior outfielder Eric Schlier could be a solid player with some speed, power potential, and a big arm in the outfield.

Edison has consistently battled for the second spot in the District over the last few years and been a regular Regional, but the Eagles were hurt by the departure of Alec Roberts (Charlotte) via transfer to West Potomac. Wakefield made a Region trip in 2017 but lost some key players to graduation, specifically the left side of the infield with the departures of Ethan Heckler and Jake Karton. All-Region two-way contributor Colton Poythress is back for another year.

Stuart lost Nicco Oliveira (Shenandoah) to graduation and have not made a Region tournament appearance in a few years. They will need to finish in the top four in District play to earn a spot in Region 6c playoffs this spring. Juniors Archer Rutledge and Quincy Wilkins figure to be contributors at some point this year. Falls Church has also struggled to make it to the Region in recent years, but the Jaguars have a new coach this spring and bring back senior All-District catcher Jacob Brotman. Junior two-way player Cam Karicher could have a big season for the Jaguars and fellow junior two-way player Tyler James will also be an important player for Falls Church this spring. Thomas Jefferson has also struggled to make Region trips in recent years, but the magnet school has some interesting players that will give them a chance this spring. A strong core of juniors led by lefty and outfielder Todd Hartman as well as infielder Zach Hershey will give TJ a chance to make some noise in District play and contend for a Region berth. Hartman gives the Colonials a chance to beat any opponent when he is on the mound.

Prospects to Watch:
Name School Class Position Commitment
Patrick Halligan Marshall 2018 RHP George Mason
Todd Hartmann Thomas Jefferson S&T 2019 LHP/OF  
Cameron Karicher Falls Church 2019 SS/RHP
Eric Schlier Marshall 2019 OF  

 

Potomac
Briar Woods is the defending 5a State Champions and will welcome new head coach Rob Sikora to the dugout this spring. The Falcons lost some important pieces with the graduation of the Class of 2017 and they will miss Michael Ludowig (Wake Forest)Ty Germanowski (St. Bonaventure)Sean Clark (Frederick CC), and Jake Kleifges, among others. Despite those losses, the Falcons should be able to mount a strong title defense with the return of ace lefty Wilson Ayers (Navy) and battery mate George Rosales (Fairleigh Dickinson) as well as outfielder Brandon Hamm. That core of seniors should provide veteran leadership and experience as a talented group of youngsters fills in vacancies. Junior Aidan Willard and sophomores Nathan Cmeyla and Nick Famiglietti have a lot of upside and could become major contributors as the season progresses.

Broad Run made a Region tournament trip in 2017, and the Spartans lost some key pieces to graduation with the departures of Matthew Ritchie (Johns Hopkins), Zachary Buck (Holy Cross), and Danny Sullivan (Coastal Carolina). All three had impact offensive seasons and their bats will be missed this spring. Broad Run does bring back a pair of their top pitchers in senior Michael Alba and junior Anthony Puma. Senior Royce Bryson is coming off of a strong offensive season and junior centerfielder Luke Lindenfeldar has elite speed, covering a ton of ground in center and making him a major threat on the bases. Look for junior Cameron Wayt to become an impact contributor as the season progresses and Broad Run battles for a Region berth.

Freedom moves up from 4a to 5a this season. The Eagles reached the 4a West Region tournament in 2017 and upset Bassett in the quarterfinals, reaching the semifinals before their season came to an end. The Eagles bring back most of their roster from that team with one major addition, senior shortstop and pitcher Will Schroeder (North Carolina), who transferred in from Loudoun County. Schroeder has ace-type stuff and adds an elite power/speed combination to the middle of what was already a strong Freedom lineup. Seniors Jack Fitzgerald (George Mason) and Kyle Schofield will also be back in the middle of the lineup and senior Jonathan Fisher (Christopher Newport) is another veteran arm. Junior Ben Wroniwiecz had a strong 2017 as a shortstop and pitcher, and will continue to contribute in his two-way role. Freedom will have one of the deepest lineups in 5a and the addition of Schroeder to the top of the rotation makes them a State Title contender in their first year in 5a.

Stone Bridge is now two head coaches removed from its 2015 State Championship team, and most of the players from that team have graduated. First-year head coach Matt Shannon takes over a program that came up one win shy of making a State Tournament trip in 2017, losing to Halifax County deep in extra innings in the Region semifinals. The Bulldogs lost a few important pieces to graduation, but they do bring plenty back and are ready to contend again this spring. Two-way contributor Matt House (Shenandoah) is back for his senior season as is fellow two-way senior Shane Gallahan. House and Gallahan are poised to anchor the rotation as well as offer key bats in the Bulldog lineup. Junior outfielder Paul Moore has always been a power threat from the left side of the plate, but in 2017 he showed the ability to swipe bases as well. Senior outfielder Brendan Hall (Washington University (MO)) will add another veteran bat to a lineup that will be one of the deepest 1-9 in 5a in 2018.

Potomac Falls is coming off of a rebuilding 2017 season and the Panthers look to be set up for a better 2018 despite the loss of speedy centerfielder Justin Robles (Norfolk State) to graduation. A pair of sophomores will be the key to the Panthers' success, with lefty Nate Savino (Virginia) having a chance to emerge as one of the top arms in the District this spring. Infielder Jack McCampbell did a good job of getting on base as a freshman and looks to add more impact in the order this spring. Senior pitchers Max McAdams and Thomas Dinneny (Susquehanna) add veteran depth behind Savino and junior catcher Andrew Gerhart is back behind the dish again this spring.

John Champe lost one of its more important pieces from 2017 to graduation with the departure of Yareb Martinez (Georgetown). The Knights do have junior Austin Gutierrez back in the middle of the lineup and he should provide some pop. Rock Ridge saw ace Nick Stewart (James Madison) graduate after last season. The Phoenix are still a young program but they have some talented pieces coming together. Senior Xavier Jessie (Frostburg State) will continue to develop in the middle of the lineup, and sophomore Carson Trent has a chance to develop into an ace. Tuscarora has seen a lot of graduation the last two years, but they still have senior David Drummond (Shepherd) anchored in the middle of the lineup as well as fellow senior Parker Bednoski to build around with some interesting young talent, including sophomore infielder Phaly Moravek.

Prospects to Watch:

Name School Class Position Commitment
Wilson Ayers Briar Woods 2018  LHP  Naval Academy 
David Drummond Tuscarora 2018 1B Shepherd
Matt House Stone Bridge 2018 2B/RHP Shenandoah
Paul Moore Stone Bridge 2019  OF   
Nate Savino Potomac Falls  2020  LHP  Virginia 
Will Schroeder Freedom 2018  SS/RHP  North Carolina