Preseason T-D Top 10
1. Benedictine has perhaps the area’s best 1-2 punch on the mound with senior Casey Green (4-0, 1.60 ERA, Coastal Carolina) and sophomore Jay Woolfolk (1.50 ERA, 54 K’s). Both feature upper-80s fastballs. SS Jamari Baylor (.482, eight HRs) is getting attention from professional scouts but will miss the beginning of the season with an injury. 2B Brett Cook (Tulane) returns after spending two seasons at IMG Academy. Transfers Brett Allen (Lee-Davis) and Jack Anderson (James River) add depth to the lineup and the mound.
2. Mills Godwin’s roster includes 15 seniors and a lot of talent, including 1B/3B Sam Essex (.383), OF Mark Buisson (.344) and C/OF Liam Deegan (UVA). 3B/SS Bryce Safferwich (.420, JMU) is a junior and another strong bat. There’s depth on the mound with Sam Landess (37 K’s) and Spencer Rife (34 K’s). Godwin’s pitching staff hasn’t had a true ace in recent years, which says something about how even the talent has been in the rotation.
3. St. Christopher’s has one of the area’s top pitchers, Patrick Routsis, plus Charlie Vozenilek, who posted a 0.64 ERA and 44 strikeouts last year. Vozenilek will take a larger role this year. There’s a lot gone from the lineup, including All-Metro player of the year Nick Biddison (Virginia Tech). Griff O’Ferrall (.338) and Daymone’ Fleming are two returners in the lineup. If the new guys can hit, St. Christopher’s will be in good shape.
4. Prince George loses a lot of pieces from last year’s Class 5 state championship team, including SS Tevin Tucker (WVU). But some important players are back, including P Buck Forbes, C Justin Starke (.364, 26 RBIs) and SS Jacob Farrar (.355). But there’s not a lot of experience in the pitching staff or in the corner infield and outfield positions. How well Prince George does this year will depend in part on how well the new guys step up.
5. Cosby has seven starters back and a senior-heavy roster led by INF Cade Swisher (.394), CF Ethan Ianuzzi (.476), INF Zach Hokestra (.357) and P Devin Miles (5-3, 1.81 ERA, 39 K’s). The team features eight players committed to college teams, and four are going Division I. There are a number of pitchers who will fight for innings, including Alex LaRou, Allan Williamson and Everett Vaughan.
The rest of the top 10:
6. Midlothian, 7. Deep Run, 8. Thomas Dale, 9. Douglas Freeman, 10. Manchester
Five players to watch
Jamari Baylor, Benedictine: Last year as a junior, Baylor was named All-Metro after batting .482 with 35 runs, eight homers, 28 RBIs and 25 stolen bases. This year, he switches to shortstop and will pitch some. He could be a prospect when the major league draft comes this summer, but he’ll start the year on the injured list and will miss the first few weeks of the season.
Ricky Jones, Hopewell: The outfielder had a breakout junior season, hitting .573 with 15 stolen bases and 25 RBIs. He was named All-Metro and signed with Richmond.
Buck Forbes, Prince George: The hard-throwing righty was named first-team All-Metro last year after going 10-0 with a 0.49 ERA. He struck out 61 batters and walked 14. He also threw a one-hitter in the state title game.
Patrick Routsis, St. Christopher’s: The Old Dominion-bound pitcher had a breakout year in 2018, going 7-0 with a 0.89 ERA and struck out 75 batters. With Maddison Furman (VCU) graduated, Routsis becomes the Saints’ lone ace.
Logan Ransom, Steward: The lefty was named second-team All-Metro last year after going 10-2 with a 0.98 ERA. He struck out 74 batters and walked 17 in 64 2/3 innings pitched.
C Evan Williams, P William Flanagan and 1B Leland Dobler are among the six seniors back for Clover Hill.
James River returns juniors 2B/SS Ty Swaim (.449, 23 runs) and P Connelly Early (3.20 ERA). Ryan Portes and Tim Rader give the Rapids a good pitching staff. But eight starters are gone from the lineup. This year’s group will be quick, stealing bases and advancing runners. C Dean Vencil, OF Austin Swaringen and OF Trae Zegarra (.462) fill out the lineup. James River has to replace Benton Hausser, who’s out with a torn ACL.
Manchester returns one of the area’s top southpaws, junior Zane Eggleston (81 K’s). But Manchester lost depth on the mound and its middle infield. Jamie Kotula will be looked to pitch after Eggleston, and 3B Tyler Garner and OF Grayson Kcraget will be depended on in the lineup.
Thomas Dale loses four starters off last year’s state semifinalist team from last year. Among the departures were good hitters, and this year’s team will need to find production in new places, including junior C Cole Garrett (.360, VMI), sophomore 3B Johnny Oates and SS Raphael Rodriguez (Norfolk State). Karson Jennings leads the rotation with Caleb Stancil behind him. Pitching, defense and speed will be strengths.
Atlee features 15 seniors, including Zack Beach, a senior first baseman committed to Coastal Carolina. He’s one of the top power hitters in the area. There are two good hitters in the outfield, too, senior Tucker Bratton and junior Tyler Warren.
Deep Run has 10 players back who started at one point last year, including junior OF Scott Sweeney, senior INF Brooks Mazey, senior OF Carson Jones (Virginia Tech) and senior P Brandon Hill. In each of the past two years, Deep Run had an up-and-down regular season followed by a surprisingly successful postseason.
Douglas Freeman graduated several important players from last year’s team, but returns some players with experience, including All-Metro OF Liam Simpson (.482, 11 doubles) and P Alec Erickson (1.18 ERA, 40 K’s). OF Andrew Bland (.315) and P Nick Hargrove (20 K’s) bring depth to the lineup and the rotation.
Junior SS Keondre Shelton (Longwood), 1B Devin Flowers and sophomore UTIL Lucas Bauer return for Glen Allen.
Henrico has six starters back and will look to SS/1B Joey Jefferson (.353) to lead the lineup. C Trevor Green (.300) and P/CF Coron Wallace (.310) will be big factors, too. The Warriors will depend on juniors Mark Norrell and Prashana Sathi in the infield.
Hermitage will be young with only a few seniors in the lineup. There are sophomores starting in the infield who were starters last year, including Joe Williams, C R.J. Bailey and Mikey Alvarez. There’s not much power in the lineup, so Hermitage will look to manufacture runs. The defense should be solid, and the pitching staff is the deepest it’s been in coach Bryan Melhorn’s five seasons. Max Moore, Zach Glovier and Zack Easton will front the rotation.
Highland Springs has several seniors who will provide leadership, including C/INF Luke Miller (.535), P/1B Dustin Beggs and SS Seth Williams. The pitching staff includes Chase Cheatham and Will McDonough, but is looking for improvement. Seniors Damarae Kendall and Daevon Smith add to the outfield.
J.R. Tucker returns every starter except one and has a veteran roster. Seniors Caleb Word and Joey Zanetti are two of the Tigers’ top pitchers. Juniors C/3B/P Tyler Lacy and 1B/P Cole Shaban will be key in the infield and in the lineup. Sophomore Traylor DuVal is useful at almost every position.
L.C. Bird returns seven starters, including CF Jaelen Hines (.527, 14 SB), SS Shawn Hernandez (.311) and RF Tarriq White (.380). Senior Zack Kennedy and junior Gavin Burton are the team’s top arms. Jordan Banks is a talented sophomore who adds to the lineup and can play multiple positions. The Skyhawks are looking to improve consistency on offense and pulling out wins in close games.
C Zach Lass (.397) was named all-region last year and is Lee-Davis‘ top slugger. Juniors CF Jack Rice (.333) and SS Carter Trice (.379) return to the lineup. Senior Jake Stanley (2.08 ERA) and Jalen Strattman (3.21 ERA) are two experienced pitchers on the staff. But there will be a lot of new faces an inexperience throughout the lineup.
Matoaca returns junior OF/1B Lucas Carmichael, who has committed to William & Mary. Sophomore C Tanner Clements and junior Latroy Whitaker add to the lineup.
How well Caroline‘s juniors perform will go a long way to determining if it can finish with a winning record. C Seth Shannon, UTIL Toby Somers and INF Lucas Chinault are among the juniors leading the lineup. Senior Gavin Cecil leads the rotation.
Dinwiddie loses two All-Metro players and 10 seniors total from last year. That means this team has little varsity experience. Kavon Lewis is a senior and is looking for a big year. Kevin Gunn, Jaron McNeil and Jackson Severt are sophomores the team hopes will grow up fast. Junior Colt Daulton will be one of the team’s leading pitchers.
For the first time, Hanover is under the direction of someone other than Charlie Dragum, who retired last summer. In his place is former assistant Tyler Kane. There are nine seniors on the team and four pitchers who saw time last year, including Cole Wallace (1.50) and Eric Anderson (2.25). The Hawks will look for ways to manufacture runs with 1B Blake Doggett (.330) and Sam Lipscombe (.345) leading the lineup. Sophomore Caydon Richardson, the younger brother of Virginia infielder Cayman Richardson, joins the varsity.
Huguenot has seven starters back but will still be young with a number of underclassmen in the lineup. Sophomore Joewie Rodriguez will play shortstop and pitch, and defense up the middle will be a strength. Developing depth on the mound behind Rodriguez will be a challenge. 3B/SS Jalen Tyler and C Zachary Edwards fill out the lineup.
Meadowbrook has a new coach, Christian Kelly, speed on the bases and discipline in the batter’s box. There’s depth on the mound with Roman Borders, Stiven Almonte and Armundo Grado. The lineup is versatile defensively, with Bordders, 2B/3B Brandon Irvin and Almonte at shortstop. Khadeem Lewis and David Kaiser add to the outfield.
Junior INF Christian Chambers (.424, JMU) is the table-setter in the Midlothian lineup. He has capable hitters behind him in Cam Furman (.489, Randolph-Macon) and C Logan Smith (.424, Randolph-Macon). The pitching staff has good depth behind Furman (7-2, 3.49), Carter Lovasc and Zach Vanderslice. The Trojans have to replace one of their top hitters, RF Tyler Moore, who tore his ACL.
Monacan will start mostly freshmen and sophomores, including INF/P Jack Carris, C Christian Estes and INF Jaden Greenidge. The offense needs to be more consistent than last year. There are only two seniors, but both start the year with injuries. Freshman Cole Macomson and junior Blake Huguenburg will be two of Monacan’s top arms.
Patrick Henry has some experience back in the lineup with OF Zak Plageman (.333), INF Noah Madison and OF Tyler Newell (.304). A lot of production is gone from last year’s senior class that these players will need to replace. There’s not much varsity-level experience on the mound. Seniors Gabe Lassiter and Vincent Basso and junior Wyatt Stanley lead the rotation.
Powhatan loses 11 seniors from last year’s team, which went 18-4 and reached the state tournament. Pitchers Brandon Eikie and Tymmie Hart are at the front of the rotation and give the Indians a good 1-2 punch. There are some seniors in the lineup, including C Trevor Waters, OF Tanner Ritt and OF Aidan Vorhees, who will be looked to for leadership. Coach Gregg Conner surpassed his 500th career win last year and begins his 35th year with 504.
Kyle Chernault is one of three starters back at Colonial Heights after winning three games on the mound and driving in 17 runs. SS/P Grayson Andrew (.361) and OF/P Hayden Crowder (.443) are two seniors who will be a big part of the lineup and pitching staff. Three sophomores will see action in the lineup and on the mound, too.
Hopewell returns senior CF Ricky Jones, and there should be good production at the top of the lineup and versatility among its players. The infield will be young, including sophomore Stephen Mazzei, and control is a top priority for the pitching staff, which is led by junior Brendan McComber (6-2, 1.62 ERA). OF Ryan Johnson (.362) brings another big bat to the lineup.
John Marshall has six starters back and a senior-heavy lineup, including C Dominic Crawford and P/UTIL Damian Diaz. The Justices could use more depth on the mound, where Tre’Quan Harris-McKenzie, Diaz and junior Aarek Thomas will be the go-to pitchers.
New Kent will be strong up the middle with C Chris Wade (.364) and SS Thomas Ellis (.413) returning. There’s a mix of veterans and young guys on the team. Junior Nate Kagey (5-3, 3.50) leads the pitching staff, but the rest of the rotation is unproven after him. Nick Redman and Benji Boatwright are among the guys looking to establish themselves on the mound.
Seven starters are back at Petersburg, led by P/SS Milton Coles Jr. (51 K’s) and OF/SS Treyvion Hall. Petersburg also will rely on seniors OF Davion Tribbey, 3B Marcus Cottemand and OF Nayson Massenburg. The rosters is versatile, and the bullpen is young but has depth.
Thomas Jefferson has four starters back, including C/INF Davionne Anderson (.548) and 1B/P Jelani Hale (.348). But it’s a young team, especially on the mound. New sophomore Andrew Smetana will be one of the team’s top arms. Seniors SS Teon Tiller and OF Todd Hicks fill out the lineup.
There’s inexperience on the mound for Goochland. Three pitchers return, including Zack Potts (2.50 ERA) and Jackson Raines, but their innings were limited. Defense will be a strength with C Austin Rose and 1B Walker Murray back. The outfield includes Joey Ramsbottom (.415, 9 SB), Murray and some new faces.
Four starters are back at King William, among them senior OF Kolbe Jorgenson (.452) and INF/P Landon Smith (.414). The lineup is senior-heavy, and so is the pitching staff, which includes Travis Shumate (5-2) and Orion Debres (2.70 ERA).
Maggie Walker GS will be young with juniors Jordon Hayes (4.20 ERA, .358 BA) and Joey Blanks (.286) filling the lineup. Henry Coates (.310) is a senior who will catch and pitch. Eleven seniors are gone from last year’s team, and a number of sophomores and freshmen will join the team. The lineup will look to manufacture runs.
Blessed Sacrament Huguenot has three dependable senior starters in Kemper Roudabush, Noa Hasty (57 K’s) and Reilly Dickerson. Hasty, OF Owen Long (.333) and 1B Nick Dawson (.316) will lead the lineup.
Collegiate is young with just one senior, P Will Hutchens. But there’s some experience and high-level talent at the top of the lineup with juniors OF Trey Boll (UVA), SS/P Nigel Williams (3-year starter), C Lew Rice (6 HRs) and Michael Stewart (JMU). The rest of the lineup and pitching staff is inexperienced.
Steward has one of the best duos on the mound with senior Logan Ransom and junior Harrison Clifton (2.03 ERA, 34 K’s), who has committed to Clemson. Matthew Gaither (4.29 ERA) gives the Spartans another good arm. The lineup is young and will need to produce. C/P William Glazebrook (.460) has one of the team’s veteran bats, and Ransom and Clifton will contribute to the offense, too.
Trinity Episcopal has some good young arms, such as junior Brennan Tyznar and sophomore Blake Loughran (1.63 ERA). There’s more experience in the lineup, including seniors DH Ty Barker (.360), SS Corey Miller, OF James Nelson (.452) and OF Patrick Way (.314). There’s a new coach, too, Tim Merry.