VHSL Class 6 State Tournament Preview

John Nolan
Virginia Assistant Director & Content Manager

UG 6.20

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Team Notes

Cosby is the Region B champions and has bounced back from a rough stretch in early May when they dropped five of six to win their last five games. The Titans have hit most of the spring and have figured their pitching out in the Region tournament, getting a pair of strong starts from Devin Miles to win their quarterfinal and semifinal games. Cosby's talent is in its lineup, with an order that features Cade Swisher (Virginia Tech) and Ethan Williams (Harford CC) in the middle of it. Ethan Iannuzzi has been a breakout player this spring for the Titans.

Western Branch is the Region A runners-up and the defending State Champions. The Bruins have had a few head-scratchers this season but as usual find themselves playing in June with a chance for a championship. Antonio Velasquez and Reid Long have formed a solid 1-2 punch on the mound with Long striking out 58 batters against just 7 walks this spring. At the plate, Connor Epley and Connor Butler have paced the Bruin offense. Epley leads the team in average at .487 and Butler has been outstanding, hitting .414 with just 8 strikeouts this spring. Velasquez also leads the team in RBIs with 25.

First Colonial is the Region A champions and has won six in a row down the stretch. Graham Firoved (Radford) is one of the top arms in the senior class in the entire state and fellow senior Joey Rodriguez has had some good outings down the stretch and senior Drew Moore (King) is a veteran third option who could be a key factor on Saturday. Offensively, Jake Ness and Adam Gremminger form the core of a lineup that has produced at least six runs in each of its last eight games.

Thomas Dale is the Region B runners-up and have been led offensively this spring by Tanner Holben, who is hitting over .460 with a near-.600 on base percentage. Korey Harmon leads the team with four home runs in just fifty plate appearances while also hitting .436 so far. Drew Camp (Louisburg JC) has also provided some pop and is among the team leaders in RBIs. Karson Jennings has strung a few strong starts together down the stretch for the Knights.

West Springfield is the Region C champions and on their fourth try this spring the Spartans finally beat their rivals in Lake Braddock to win the Region title. The Spartans are 16-2 against opponents not named Lake Braddock this spring and are a force to be reckoned with when senior Jared Lyons (George Mason) is pitching. Calvin Pastel shut down the Bruin's offense on Friday and has shown a knack for having big games on the mound. Lyons is an important offensive piece in a lineup centered on Nick Johnson, Brett Stallings (Frederick CC), and David Giorgis.

Chantilly is the Region D runners-up and has surged down the stretch as the roster has melded together and younger players settled into roles. The Chargers are 14-12 overall, but are 8-3 since the calendar turned to May. They are clean defensively and Kyle PasqualeDylan Siesky, and Nick Zampiello give them two arms that will challenge hitters and give their defense a chance to make plays. Ryan Hodinko has been very hot during the postseason and the Chargers give tough at-bats in every spot of the order.

Lake Braddock is the Region C runners-up and the Bruins have been one of the top teams in Virginia all year. Their loss in the Region championship on Friday was their first loss of 2018 to a team from Virginia. Rojo Prarie (William & Mary) has been the team's top arm all spring. The Bruins' offense has found many different ways to win games this year and is built around a core that features Prarie, Matt Thomas (William & Mary), Lyle Miller-Green (Virginia Tech), and Jack Darcy. Connor Glynn has emerged as a strong second option on the mound and Will Reid has also emerged as an important bat this spring.

Battlefield is the Region D champions and has gone undefeated since the start of the postseason. Zach Agnos (East Carolina) is the clear top option on the mound for the Bobcats, who have plenty of quality options behind him in Casey Rosenthal (Roanoke), Jake Michna (Queens), and Harrison Whitt. Offensively, Agnos and catcher Reese Varley (UMBC) are the centerpieces of one of the deeper 1-9 lineups left in the postseason. CJ Miles in the leadoff spot is a key to the offense and a potential x-factor for Battlefield could be Carter Cunningham (Gardner-Webb), who has had a tough season but has shown signs of heating up with a big night in the Region Championship game.


Staff Picks

Nolan - I think the tough part about this bracket is that the two best teams are facing off in the quarterfinals in Lake Braddock and Battlefield. I think Braddock gets the win in a tight game as the Bruin offense does enough against Agnos for Prarie to pitch them to a win. I think Lyons will shut down a Chantilly team that is here a year early to set up a rivalry rematch between Braddock and West Springfield in the semis, which I think Lake Braddock wins this time. On the other side, Cosby's lineup is too deep to be shut down and the Titans beat the defending champs while First Colonial continues to quietly win games. I think Cosby will be able to outslug the Patriots in the semifinals. Ultimately, I think Lake Braddock defeats Cosby in what has the potential to be an entertaining shootout if both of them are low on pitching.

Shank - Bold Statement there Nolan, don't count out our friends in Richmond and Tidewater, as they definitely will like to prove you wrong. I am going to go with Cosby and First Colonial facing off in one semifinal, I think First Colonial gets past Cosby's offense and goes to the championship. In the bottom of the bracket, I'm going with Lake Braddock and West Springfield in a rematch with Lake Braddock getting the better this go round. Championship I'm taking the beach again as winners this year. I like what First Colonial brings and I think they can keep this a lower scoring affair which should benefit them.  Side note, pack the park for Braddock and Battlefield along with Cosby and Western Branch, they look like they will be two outstanding matchups.



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