Prep Baseball Report

VHSL 2019 Class 6 Region B Preview

Jason Burton
Richmond Area Scouting Coordinator

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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 6, focusing on Region B. This Region only has eight schools, with all but Franklin County being from the I-95 corridor between Fredericksburg and Richmond.

Cosby was your 2018 Region B champion after top-seeded Manchester was upset in the quarterfinals by Franklin County. Thomas Dale was the Region runner-up and advanced to the State Semifinals before their season came to an end. Cosby kept its even-year run alive with its third State Tournament appearance in five seasons and Thomas Dale was the first other school to make a State Tournament trip out of this group of eight since the end of the old AAA.

For the Region tournament, all eight schools will make the field and power points will be used to seed the tournament. During the regular season, these schools will play their District opponents to fill out their schedules. Some teams in this Region will run up some wins against smaller schools as Franklin County is in the Piedmont District with 5a Halifax County and the rest of the District being made up of 2a, 3a, and 4a schools. Thomas Dale is also the lone 6a school in the Central District along with three 5a schools, a 4a, and three 3a schools.

Power points will be awarded in a few different ways throughout the season for this Region. For games against a school's District opponent, teams will get six points for a win, four for a tie, and three points for a loss. For wins against non-District opponents, teams will get six points for a 6a win, five for a 5a win, four for a 4a or private school win, three for a 3a win, two for a 2a win, and one point for a 1a win. Teams also get some points for losses to non-District opponents, three for a loss to a 6a school, two for a 5a loss, and one point for a loss to a 4a or private school. In the event of a non-District tie, teams will get the loss points plus one.



Top Prospects in the Region

Name School Class Position Commitment
David Coppedge Clover Hill 2020 SS Virginia
Connelly Early James River 2019 OF Army
Zane Eggleston Manchester 2019 P Longwood
Cole Garrett Thomas Dale 2020 C VMI
Zach Hoekstra Cosby 2019 SS Radford
Alex Larou Cosby 2019 RHP VMI
Brayden Merrick Franklin County 2020 SS  
Ty Swaim James River 2020 SS VMI
Cade Swisher Cosby 2019 SS Virginia Tech
Andrew Weight Cosby 2019 RHP James Madison
Jake Wortman Colonial Forge 2019 C/CIF Bucknell


2019 Region B 

Various Dominion
Colonial Forge Clover Hill
Franklin County Cosby
James River
Thomas Dale

*All teams played in a 2018 Region A tournament

What to Watch For

Clover Hill
After a season ending loss to Thomas Dale in the regional quarterfinals Clover Hill looks ahead to 2019 with a promising young group of players. With the return of 2020 SS David Coppedge (UVA) leading the way, the Cavaliers look youthful and athletic for years to come. The outfield will be one of the most athletic around with 2021 standouts Corey Adams and Kendall Cross leading the way. A pair of 2022’s in second baseman Clark Driscoll and first baseman Cameron Mazell will be key pieces for Clover Hill this year. The pitching staff, with the exception of 2019 William Flanagan (Bridgewater), will be inexperienced as well. In addition to Flanagan, look out for 2021 Nate Dodge to make a push to throw some big innings for the Cavaliers this spring. They will be very heavy in speed and athleticism, but how quickly they mature and how they handle the transition to varsity baseball may be determining factors on the Cavaliers success this spring.

Colonial Forge
The Eagles saw their 2018 season end as Cosby knocked them out in the quarterfinals. A couple key pieces will be back this spring for Forge in catcher and middle of the lineup masher Jake Wortman (Bucknell) as well as top returning arm AJ Zeak. Junior Jack Nickles should also be an important part of the lineup and shortstop Robert Moffett is back as well. Sophomore catcher Trevor Bush could also provide some youthful impact to the offense for the Eagles this spring.

2018 ended for the Titans in the state quarterfinals versus Western Branch. Cosby lost key players in Austin Kruger (King University) and Ethan Williams (Harford JC). The Titans look as poised as ever for a run at the state title. The have returning offensive pieces in Cade Swisher (Virginia Tech), Zach Hoekstra (Radford), and Ethan Iannuzzi (Randolph-Macon). Along with the addition of Bobby Ayscue in the outfield Cosby should have a more than capable offensive threat, senior Darren Stanford (Virginia Wesleyan) also adds length to the lineup. The real leading group for the Titans is the pitching staff. With the combination of Andrew Weight (JMU), 2020 Alex LaRou (VMI), Russell Bowles (Hampden-Sydney), and Devin Miles (Randolph-Macon) the Cosby staff is as deep with quality arms as any team in the state. The difference factor in their success for 2019 may be whether or not the Titans can fill the void left behind the plate by Ethan Williams. The answer to that question may come in the form of 2020 Evan McClaskey.

Franklin County
The Eagles entered the 2018 Region tournament as the eighth seed but pulled a stunning first-round upset of Manchester before falling in a pitcher's duel in the semifinals to Cosby. Franklin County is hurt in the power point calculation by a schedule that has to feature a lot of smaller schools with their geographic location, so look for them to enter the tournament as a lower seed again this year but be a threat to go deep. Junior shortstop Brayden Merrick (Virginia Tech) is a key piece to the Eagles'  lineup.

James River
The Rapids lost a ton of key pieces from their 2018 team, including Region 6B player of the year in Skylar Petry. In addition to losing Petry, the Rapids lost starters in Thomas Jordan, Tucker Bushby (CNU), Andrew Winder, and Sam Reed. Returners for the 2019 team will include #1 arm Connolly Early (Army), 2020 second baseman Ty Swaim (VMI), and 2019 Dean Vencil (Sewanee). They will also look for contributions from a pair of 2020’s in Jordan Daddio pitcher Ryan Margetak as well as 2021 pitcher Ryan Portes. The name to look out for this year for the Rapids may come in the form of 2020 infielder Will Riley. Riley may be the key to an offense who is going to be trying to find its identity. James River should be solid defensively and on the bases, but the key will be how quickly can they figure out how to score runs versus good arms.

The Lancers lost a close regional quarterfinal game to Franklin County that ended their 2018 season. Key departures from last year’s Manchester team are Barkley Ray (Lincoln Memorial) and Connor Kannon (Louisburg JC). Also unfortunately gone will be senior lefty Eli Parks (Morehead St), who will miss the season on the mound with an injury. Key returners for this year’s team will be Parks' rotation mate 2019 LHP Zane Eggleston (Longwood), as well as 2019 3B/P Tyler Garner (Louisburg JC), 2019 outfielder Grayson Keraget, 2019 P/Util. Jamie Kotula, and 2021 outfielder Clay Scott. With Keraget’s speed and athleticism on the bases he could be the key to lighting a fire for the Lancer offense this season that will need some time to mature. With the youth and athleticism of guys like 2022 Dylan Jones, 2021 Preston Robbins, and 2020 Caleb Cranor the Lancers have some growing up to do, but with guys like Eggleston on the mound they should be able to stay in games and allow their confidence to grow throughout the year.

Riverbend saw their 2018 season end in the Region quarterfinals as James River knocked them out. Bend will be in the mix in the Commonwealth District this spring and have some pieces to challenge in the Region. Seth Sherman (City College) will be back as one of the main pieces in the lineup with fellow senior Fenix DiGiacomo (Patrick Henry CC) and Alex Correa (Chesapeake JC). The loss of Joel Tarrh to transfer will hurt Riverbend on the mound, but senior Seth Beaty should again be back in the mix to see innings for the Bears.

Thomas Dale
The Knights’ 2018 season ended with their first ever appearance in the state semifinals, after an extra inning 6-5 loss to Western Branch. The Knights lost key pieces in power bat Drew Camp (Louisburg JC), Tyler Bailey, Tanner Holben, Andrew Roach (Hampden-Sydney), and Nathan Tuck (Averett). However, they will return 2020 catcher Cole Garrett (VMI), 2020 SS Raphael Rodriguez (Norfolk State), 2021 utility Johnny Oates, and 2019 staff ace Karson Jennings (Mary Washington). Jennings helped lead the Knights on the mound last year, but will need some help on the mound from Oates, 2019 Bailey Hodges (Ferrum), and 2021 Dean Runyon. Thomas Dale should be strong on the mound and in the field, but their success this season may be dependent on how quickly they can mature offensively.




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