Welcome to our 2019 VHSL Previews. In each preview, we will give you a brief recap of the 2018 season along with the breakdown of each Region and what the rules are to qualify for postseason play under the current alignment. We will also highlight the top prospects in each Classification, as well as some teams to watch during the 2019 season. We continue our VHSL Previews for the 2019 season by taking a look at Class 5, focusing on Region B. Region B is made up of schools primarily in Richmond or its suburbs.
2018 saw Deep Run make a Cinderella run as the eight seed to capture the Region B Championship and advance to the State Tournament, where Region runner-up Prince George was able to win the State Championship. Another recent State Champion in this Region is Glen Allen, who won Class 4 in 2015. Mills Godwin and Douglas Freeman have also competed deep into June in recent years.
The Region B tournament is an eight team tournament. With teams spread across four Districts of mixed make-up, Region B will again use power points to rank the fifteen teams, with the top eight going to the playoff and their ranking being their seed.
TOP PROSPECTS IN THE REGION
|Zackary Beach||Atlee||2019||1B||Coastal Carolina|
|Tyler Bradt||Deep Run||2019||RHP||VMI|
|Lucas Carmichael||Matoaca||2020||OF||William & Mary|
|Noah Cornwell||Mills Godwin||2019||3B||James Madison|
|Liam Deegan||Mills Godwin||2019||3B||Virginia|
|Jacob Farrar||Prince George||2020||SS||VMI|
|Carson Jones||Deep Run||2019||LHP||Virginia Tech|
|Sam Landess||Mills Godwin||2019||LHP||James Madison|
|Quinton Moyer||Atlee||2019||OF||New Mexico|
|Bryce Safferwich||Mills Godwin||2020||RHP||James Madison|
|Keondre Shelton||Glen Allen||2020||SS||Longwood|
|Justin Starke||Prince George||2019||C||VMI|
|Carter Trice||Lee-Davis||2020||SS||Old Dominion|
|Eli Weisner||Deep Run||2019||3B||Furman|
2018 REGION B DISTRICTS
|Atlee||Matoaca||Deep Run||L.C. Bird|
|Highland Springs||Prince George||Glen Allen|
*Italicized teams played in the 2018 Region B tournament
TEAMS TO WATCH REGION B
The Raiders graduated 9 seniors last year after a 12-8 season. Their season ended after losing to Prince George by the score of 6-5 in a tight regional playoff game. For 2019, Atlee will return some experience and some offensive depth that will enable them to compete in region 5B. Zach Beach (Coastal Carolina), Quinton Moyer (New Mexico), and Hayden Harris (Longwood) should provide an offensive spark that will allow the pitching staff to grow and solidify themselves. After losing Adam Jewell (VMI) and John Kish (James Madison) from last years team the Raiders will need to develop some arms in order to make a deep run in region 5B.
The Wildcats’ 2018 season ended in the state semi’s after falling to Prince George 7-3. The Wildcats return a strong contingent of upperclassmen led by Carson Jones (Virginia Tech) and Eli Weisner (Furman). Those two will be accompanied by 2019’s Brooks Mazey (Randolph Macon), Brandon Hill (Roanoke), Tyler Bradt (VMI), and Hayes Fallen (Hampden-Sydney). The key to this team and lineup may be the 2020 standout Nick Noonan. Noonan brings a complete offensive skill set and the ability to play about anywhere on the field. This is a very experienced Deep Run team with all the key components to have a very successful spring, but the key will be can the arms be consistent enough to let one of the strongest offensive lineups relax and play free.
The Rebels beat Matoaca in an exciting game in the regional playoffs before losing to eventual regional champion Deep Run in their next game. Freeman returns senior two sport star and Richmond football commit Liam Simpson. Simpson was 1st Team All State last year and will look to help carry some of the offensive load for the Rebels along with Alec Erickson (Roanoke) (2nd Team All Region), Michael Fortune, and Will Lynch. Andrew Bland (HM All Region), Nick Hargrove, and Ashwin Suresh will compete on the mound this year as well have the opportunity to help round out the lineup for the 2019 Rebels team.
Glen Allen’s season, 15-5 record, ended with a 8-2 loss to Atlee last year in the regional playoffs. The Jaguars graduated some key parts from the 2018 team in Connor Hicks (VCU), Cooper Benzin (VCU), and Justin Walton (Norfolk State), but they will return one of the more exciting young prospects in the Richmond area in 2020 Keondre Shelton (Longwood).
After losing 11 seniors from last year’s team Lee Davis may be under a bit of a rebuilding year. However, the Confederates possess a great leader and backstop in 2019 Zack Lass (Richmond). 2020’s Carter Trice (Old Dominion) and Jack Rice should help Lass with the offensive production this year, but it may be 2021 Caden Plummer that could be key for providing depth in the lineup.
Lloyd C. Bird
LC Bird faces a tough regular season schedule in the Dominion District, but with seniors Zack Kennedy (Randolph Macon) and Jaelen Hines (Virginia Wesleyan) the Skyhawks have a chance to make some noise this year. Kennedy will anchor the pitching staff, but it may be 2020 RHP Gavin Burton that gives them the depth they need on the mound. Hines had a big year last year and will need the help of senior SS Shawn Hernandez to take charge of the infield and provide some offensive depth. Two 2021’s that could provide an offensive spark are Micah Taylor and Jordan Banks.
A year older and a year better. The 2018 Matoaca baseball season ended in a wild game at Douglas Freeman, but that may have been just the beginning of some exciting times in the Warriors baseball program. With a sophomore dominate team in 2018 the Warriors graduated two key components in Justin Parker and Jacob Waltman (Louisburg JC), but return 7 starters for 2019. Offensively they are led by 2020’s Lucas Carmichael (William & Mary) and Tanner Clements. They are solid defensively with senior SS Ethan Everhart and 2020 3B Brandon Arrowood anchoring the left side of the infield. Clements should handle the catching duties for the Warriors as he will be tasked with managing a strong pitching staff. Along with 2020 RHP Latroy Whitaker the Warriors will send to the mound 2020 LHP Chase Garrett and Arrowood. They will need some offensive help from some young guys like 2021’s Ryan Fahy and Drew Downing if they plan on getting past a very strong region 5b. The Warriors are youthful and full of energy and they may have THE sleeper name in this region in RHP Latroy Whitaker. If he is on, this Warriors team may want to buckle up as they may be able to ride that arm deep into the playoffs.
After losing to Deep Run in the regional quarterfinals in 2018, the Eagles will have one of the most talented and most experienced teams in Central Virginia. Godwin lost Scott McDonough (Florence Darlington JC), but return a strong offense for 2019. The offense should be led by 2019’s Liam Deegan (Virginia) and Noah Cornwell (James Madison), but will feature other key components in Mark Buisson, Noah Berringer (Hampden-Sydney), Sam Essex (CNU), and 2020 standout Bryce Safferwich (James Madison). All conference pitcher Spencer Rife (Randolph Macon) and power arm Sam Landess (James Madison) will eat up the majority of the innings on the mound for the Eagles. They have the versatility, offensive depth, positional depth, and front end arms to compete for the 5A regional and state titles, but the key may be can they focus on the present and remain healthy. If so, you may see the Mills Godwin Eagles doing some celebrating late this spring.
#21 Prince George
The Royals ended the spring of 2018 hoisting the 5A State Championship trophy. Some of the key people that helped win that trophy have since moved on. Tevin Tucker (WVU), Michael Peterson (Longwood), Evan Kozen (Apprentice School), Hunter Carden (Randolph Macon), and Jonathan Walton (Ferrum) were key parts in Prince George’s success the past few years, but they will have to pass the torch to some other big names. Taking over the reigns this year are upperclassmen Justin Starke (VMI), Jacob Farrar (VMI), and Buck Forbes (Charleston-WV). Farrar is a solid defender that has some juice at the plate and between he and Starke those two will anchor the offense for the Royals. They will need some offensive help from the young bats of Nicholas Sober and Quincy Sippio to give some depth to a talented young Royals team. Forbes took the lead on the mound last year and help pave the way to that state title, but he will need some help from some of the younger Royals arms like 2021’s Dylan Bowen and Konner Eaton.