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VHSL Region Preview: Class 6 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 6a Region A. This Region is a bit smaller in 2018 than it was in 2017, when the South Region included schools from southern Prince William County, Stafford County, and the Richmond area. The new Region A will only include schools from the Peninsula, Beach, and Chesapeake, meaning that Western Branch won't have to drive to Woodbridge twice to try to get a Region semi-final game in like the Bruins did in 2017.

Historically, the South region has only taken two teams from each District, meaning stacked Districts such as the Southeastern didn't get as many teams into the Region tournament as the Northern schools. With twelve teams in Region A now and an eight team Region tournament, the importance of District play unfortunately will be lessened a bit going forward, with no District tournaments being played in this Region. The Region tournament will be seeded using a modified power points system, with the top eight teams making the Region and seeding based on that ranking.

Power points will be awarded on a very simple system for this Region, a win earning three points, a tie earning one point, and no points for any loss. There is no differentiation in points based on the level of the opponent that a school is playing, which should create an advantage for Granby and Woodside, who are the only 6a schools in their Districts and will face smaller schools all season while receiving the same points for their wins.

In 2017, Cox won the 6a South Region, defeating Western Branch in the Region championship game. Western Branch returned the favor in the State Championship game a week later as the Bruins captured the State Championship. Kellam and Oscar Smith also made the Region tournament in 2017, with Oscar Smith making its first Region Tournament appearance in 36 years.

The Beach has been strong at the State level for a number of years, with Western Branch also making State Tournament trips in 2014 and 2015, winning the 6a Championship in 2014. First Colonial joined Western Branch in the State semifinals in 2015 as well.


Top Prospects in the Region

Name School Class Position Commitment
Kris Artis Granby 2018 RHP Old Dominion
Conner Butler Western Branch 2018 SS
James Deloatch Granby 2018 LHP Norfolk State
Graham Firoved First Colonial 2018 RHP Radford
Ty Hanchey Granby 2018 C
Andrew Melnyk Kellam 2018 LHP Longwood
Kole Register Frank Cox 2018 RHP  
Zachary Sanders Woodside 2018 RHP VMI
Ryan Shavers Grassfield 2018 OF  
Mark Smith Tallwood 2019 3B/RHP  
Antonio Velasquez Western Branch 2019 RHP/3B  

 


2018 Region A 

Beach Various
Bayside Granby
Frank Cox Grassfield
First Colonial Oscar Smith
Kellam Western Branch
Landstown Woodside
Ocean Lakes  
Tallwood  

*Italicized teams played in the 2017 6a South Region tournament

Teams to Watch

Frank Cox
The Falcons won the 2017 6a South Region title and finished the season as the State Runners-up. They lost their most important player to graduation in ace and two-way standout Austin Cabone (George Mason). Also gone are infielders Hogan Brown (VCU) and Andrew Teixeira (Randolph-Macon). The Falcons should be solid again in 2018 with senior catcher Jacob Hawley and All-Region outfielder Shane Stinard back in the middle of the lineup. Look for senior pitcher Kole Register to see his role expand and potentially deliver an ace performance. Look for some younger players to step up to help replace graduated production, including junior infielder South Trimble.

First Colonial
The Patriots missed the 2017 South Region tournament and saw some important pieces graduate. The loss of Tommy Green (Longwood) will impact First Colonial's rotation and the departure of Chin Moss (James Madison), Riley Clifford, and Alec Giles (Virginia Wesleyan) will leave some holes in the lineup. First Colonial should be fine at the top of its rotation with the big arm of senior Graham Firoved (Radford) back for another season. Senior lefty Andrew Moore (King) should see an expanded role and could form a strong one-two punch for the Patriots.

Granby
Granby missed the South Region tournament in 2017 but the Comets should be in good shape to earn a tournament bid this year and challenge for one of the State Tournament berths. The Comets bring back what has the makings of a dominant one-two punch on the mound in senior righty Kris Artis (Old Dominion) and senior lefty James Deloatch (Norfolk State). Deloatch also adds a productive bat to a lineup that returns All-Region senior catcher Ty Hanchey and senior outfielder Xavier Anderson

Grassfield
The Grizzlies made the Region tournament in 2017, but again came up short of a State Tournament bid. Grassfield lost some major pieces to graduation with the departures of shortstop Justice Bigbie (Western Carolina), outfielder Jordan Allen (Mary Washington), and pitcher/first baseman Hunter Perdue (State JC of Florida). The Grizzlies do still have Ryan Shavers to build their offense and outfield around, but new faces will need to step up in 2018 for Grassfield to compete for a State Tournament bid.

Kellam
Kellam made a trip to the South Region tournament in 2017. The Knights should be solid again with the return of ace senior lefty and All-Region honoree Andrew Melnyk (Longwood) to top the rotation. Sophomore outfielder Jordan Smith could be an interesting prospect to watch as he has a ton of athleticism and should play with a very loud speed tool.

Oscar Smith
The Tigers used a Conference tournament run to propel them to their first Region tournament trip since the early 1980s in 2017. Oscar Smith lost some important seniors to graduation with the departure of the Class of 2017. Gone are outfielders Tristan Council (Chowan) and Logan Perry (Chesapeake JC), as well as infielder Jonathan Everidge (St. Mary's College (MD)). The Tigers will need some younger players to step up in 2018 to make a second straight Region tournament trip.

Western Branch 
Western Branch won seven of their last eight games in 2017 to win the 6a State Championship over Frank W. Cox, who had beaten them earlier in the South Region title game. Leading the offense this season for the Bruins will be seniors Connor ButlerConnor Epley, and Ethan Alexander. Butler will be making the move from second base to shortstop to replace graduated Connor Rhem. Also gone from the offense will be outfielders Rufus Hurdle (Old Dominion) and Trent Jones (Gardner-Webb). Antonio Velasquez could add another stick and some pop to the lineup, building off his 2017 campaign offensively. Velasquez will anchor the pitching staff this season after Jay Patto (King) graduated last spring. Patto and Velasquez formed a formidable 1-2 punch on the mound in 2017, look for sophomores Reid Long and Aiden Foley to potentially fill in the lost innings.