Rain washed out over half the schedule, but the latter portion of the week saw some
important district match-ups as we inched closer to filling out the regional tournament
bracket. Here's a look back at the past seven days . . .
Hanover 10, Highland Springs 0 (5 innings): A nine-run third inning turned a scoreless
tie into a rout as the Hawks cruised to victory. Matt Corley struck out nine in four innings of
work to earn the win, as Hanover allowed just one hit in the game, a double by Jalen Carter.
Hawk catcher Keith Searles was 2-for-2 with 2 RBI to pace Hanover.
Cosby 8, Monacan 1: The Titans trailed 1-0 in the fifth, but a pair of consecutive four-run
innings allowed Cosby to win by a comfortable margin. Ryan Bickford threw a three-hitter,
striking out three and walking none. Jake Huggins led Cosby with a 2-for-4, 3-RBI game,
while Keenan Caldwell added a solo home run for the Titans. Monacan's Corey Ambers was
1-for-3 and drove in the Chiefs' run.
Mills Godwin 14, Maggie Walker 1 (5 innings): Nic Phelps was 3-for-3 with a double
and an RBI, also throwing a five-inning complete game, as Godwin powered past Maggie
Walker. Phelps allowed just one run on five hits, while he and his Eagle teammates
produced 14 runs on 11 hits. That included a two-run homer by Aaron McGarity and a 2-for-4, 2-RBI day for Will Black. The Dragons' Frankie Celentano was 2-for-3 with a double
and the Maggie Walker run.
Prince George 7, Thomas Dale 0: Cody Casey threw a three-hitter against his former
team, striking out eight as the Royals earned an important district victory. Entering the
game, the Knights were just a game out of first, but this win by PG gave the Royals a bit of
breathing room (although they still led Matoaca by just one in the loss column). Brian
Goodwyn had two of the three hits for Dale, going 2-for-3. Montae Bradshaw and Jordan
Nase had two hits each for the first-place Royals. Nase also added four stolen bases.
Cosby 10, King William 3: Michael Flanagan allowed one earned run and struck out eight
in six innings to lead Cosby over a good King William team. The Group A Cavaliers entered
the contest with an 11-3 record, but the Titans broke open the game with a couple of big
innings in the fourth and sixth. Tyler Fitzgerald drove in two runs and scored two more,
while Brad McKay was 2-for-2 and scored a run. King William's Storm Coleman was 2-for-3
with an RBI.
Douglas Freeman 5, Patrick Henry 0: Daniel Lynch and Miller Trevvett combined for a
one-hitter to grab an all-important Colonial District victory against Patrick Henry. Connor
Melhorn led the Rebels with a 2-for-3, 2-RBI game, while Ethan Payne slammed a homer.
Patriot standout Chesdin Harrington had the lone PH hit. Patrick Henry is the only team to
have defeated Freeman this year, and this win gave the Rebels a two-game lead over PH in
district play, and preserved a one-game lead over Godwin in the Colonial standings.
Colonial Heights 5, Prince George 4: Mack Krupp went the distance, overcoming some
early Prince George runs to gut out a victory for the Colonials. David Markins was 3-for-4
for Colonial Heights, while Zack Stewart contributed 3 RBI. The Colonials trailed 3-1 after
two innings, but Krupp pushed through, allowing just six hits in the game against the
district-leading Royals. Prince George's Mark King was 2-for-4, while Tyler Procise was 1-for-2 with a two-run triple in the first inning that gave the Royals an early lead.
Hanover 11, Lee-Davis 1 (5 innings): Hanover scored in every inning but one, stopping
rival Lee-Davis 11-1 in a slaughter-rule-shortened contest. John Gregory and Chris Gilliam
were each 2-for-3 for the Hawks, who got a great pitching performance from Derek Casey.
Casey allowed one run on three hits, striking out seven to pick up the win. Patrick Hollar of
Lee-Davis was 1-for-2 and scored the Confederate run.
Dinwiddie 15, Colonial Heights 11: Colonial Heights led 8-1 after two innings, but the
Generals rallied back for a 15-11 victory. Jamar Hinton was 2-for-3 with a double and 2
RBI, Jordan Claytor went 3-for-5 with 2 RBI, and Austin Mostoller was 2-for-2 with 2 RBI for
Dinwiddie. The Colonials' Zack Stewart was 2-for-4 with a homer and 2 RBI. Carter Cox
and David Markins also each homered for Colonial Heights.
Henrico 5, Highland Springs 3: Freshman Tyriq Branch gave up just three hits and struck
out ten in a complete-game victory over Highland Springs. Marquis Johnson had a key,
two-run single to give Henrico the lead for good in the fourth. Elliot Cliborne was 1-for-3
with an RBI of his own. On the Springer side, Jalen Carter had 2 RBI and Jalen Young was
Patrick Henry 11, J. R. Tucker 0 (5 innings): It's not often that a player gets a walk-off
home run with his team up 8-0, but that's exactly what the Patriots' Kyle Palmer did with his
three-run shot in the bottom of the fifth that triggered the slaughter rule. Brandon Lloyd led
PH with a 3-for-4, 4-RBI night that also included a homer. Tucker's Shawn Bellis doubled,
but that hit was one of just four the Tigers had against Palmer, who tossed a five-inning
shutout. Tucker had fared much better earlier in the week, cruising past TJ by a 13-1
James River 6, Monacan 5: A pair of three-run innings in the third and fifth allowed the
Rapids to avoid another tough loss, as James River got back on the winning track by edging
Monacan 6-5. Mac Caples and Stibel Aleman each hit two-run homers for the Rapids to lead
the way. Monacan, however, rallied for a five-run fourth that put James River in a 5-3 hole
going to the fifth. Jordan Staib doubled, tripled, and drove in three runs to pace the Chiefs.
Atlee 10, Varina 0 (5 innings): The Raiders powered past Varina with little difficulty to
move into sole possession of second place in the Capital District. Taylor Crowe allowed only
a hit to Blue Devil standout Darian Carpenter (1-for-1 with a stolen base) in the five-inning
shutout. Caleb Myers of Atlee broke the game open with a grand slam that was part of a
seven-run second inning. Dalton Ruch hit a three-run homer of his own for the Raiders.
Matoaca 13, Hopewell 0 (5 innings): The Warriors plated seven runs in the first inning
and never looked back. Three Matoaca pitchers combined for a five-inning one-hitter, while
Sam Smith led the Warriors offensively with a 2-for-3, 3-RBI day. The win helped Matoaca
keep pace with Prince George with a week to go in the regular season.
Cosby 5, Clover Hill 1: Hunter Williams threw a one-hitter and Ryan Hall went 3-for-3 as
the Titans won yet again. Williams struck out seven and surrendered zero earned runs for
Cosby. A second-inning RBI single by Brett Jones was the lone hit for Clover Hill. Cosby's
A. J. Nicely also drove in two runs.
Glen Allen 3, Lee-Davis 0: After topping Highland Springs with ease by a 10-0 score, the
Jaguars got their second shutout of the week via a 3-0 victory over Lee-Davis. Chance
Pauley scattered five hits and struck out ten, as Glen Allen moved a game ahead of the
Confederates in the Capital standings. Luke Ransom was 1-for-3 and drove in a run for the
Jaguars, while Lee-Davis' Kevin France doubled. Three Lee-Davis pitchers combined to
allow only three hits, but that was still enough for Glen Allen to prevail.
Here's my new Top Ten (through games of 5/10):
The New Central Region Top Ten: (Last Week)
1. Douglas Freeman (17-1) . . . . . . . 1
2. Hanover (14-2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
3. James River (14-3) . . . . . . . . . . 3
4. Cosby (13-3) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
5. Atlee (13-3) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
6. Prince George (15-4) . . . . . . . . . 5
7. Mills Godwin (11-4) . . . . . . . . . . 7
8. Patrick Henry (10-5) . . . . . . . . . 8
9. Manchester (10-7) . . . . . . . . 10
10. Thomas Dale (10-4-1) . . . . . 9
Dropped Out: None
- - - - -
And, finally, here are some "Thoughts and Observations"
- I'm sure I'll talk more about this in the weeks to come, but, with the regional and state
tournaments fast approaching, we're going to see pitchers used VERY differently this year
than in any in history. The new VHSL pitching rule (which most baseball people don't like,
because they use innings instead of pitch count) is going to create some odd decisions for
coaches come tournament time. I
'll get into this more next week, but, for starters, the VHSL implemented this rule without
changing the state tournament schedule. Barring rain, there won't be four rest days
between the quarter-finals on Tuesday and the championship on Saturday. That means that
no pitcher will start two games in the state tournament. Yes, technically, he could start
twice if one of those starts was only three innings, but you get the point.
Put simply, as far as I can remember, there has never been a state champion out of the
Central Region under the current format who wouldn't have been in violation of the rules.
That means that we'll see some big changes for any team that has to play three games in
- There wasn't a lot of change in the Top Ten this week. The top four teams stayed put,
with none losing. I did consider flip-flopping Cosby and James River, however. The Titans
have been ridiculously hot since losing to the Rapids 12-0 a few weeks back. If that game
hadn't been so lopsided, I likely would have moved Cosby to #3 ahead of James River. The
Rapids have lost twice in their last three games, and the third (this week) was a game they
won just 6-5 against Monacan in a tight one. Meanwhile, Cosby is clubbing people. Since
that loss, the Titans have won 10 straight, allowing one or zero runs in seven of those ten
wins. The Titans and James River clash again this week with a district title on the line.
Atlee and Prince George traded spots after the Royals lost to Colonial Heights (but whipped
Thomas Dale earlier). Godwin and Patrick Henry both stayed put. Manchester moved up to
#9 after that 7-0 loss Dale sustained against PG. The toughest omission this week was 10-5 Matoaca, which is surging (as usual) with post-season approaching.
- Speaking of district races, the Colonial will come down to Friday's Godwin / Freeman
match-up, with the Eagles currently a game back in the loss column. Hanover has
essentially clinched the Capital District, but what's most interesting there will be the chase
for the final playoff spot. Lee-Davis now has five district losses after dropping a game to
Glen Allen on Friday. The Jaguars and Varina have only four (Atlee is safe with three
losses). I would have to dig back through the record books to find the last time that Lee-Davis missed their district tournament, but my first thought is that it might have been
before they were in the Capital District. The Dominion, as I just said, is down to Cosby and
James River, but there's still a lot of jockeying for position to be done among the teams in
the middle. The Central will come down to a showdown between Prince George and
- - -
As we enter the last week of the regular season, and with plenty of district titles still very
much undecided, I thought it would be a good time to revisit what was unquestionably the
wildest end to a season in the history of Central Region baseball: The 1979 Colonial District
Let's set the stage. Here were the key "players" in this drama . . .
Hermitage: The Panthers were coming off a 5-10 year, but Coach Ray Garrett (no relation
to the author) had seven starters back and looked like a major upstart. Among their top
players were first baseman Doug Patterson, outfielder Dean Denton, and pitchers Bobby
Williams and David Fitzgerald.
Douglas Freeman: Coach Wayne Hoy's Rebels had gone 9-9 the year before, which was a
solid record in such a tough league. Freeman was expected to perform better in 1979, with
standouts like outfielder / pitcher Connor McGehee, second baseman Gary Parker, and
catcher Don Phillips.
J. R. Tucker: Tucker had won the state title in 1978, but this wasn't the loaded team the
Tigers had had the previous two seasons. Still, with a couple of excellent players in
shortstop / pitcher Matt Schibner and outfielder / pitcher Cam Frostick, along with a
supporting cast that included catcher Robbie Robinson, the cupboard wasn't bare.
Henrico: Ace lefty Jerry Frostick was back for the team that had won the Colonial regular-season title in '78. He was also a fine first baseman, and was joined by shortstop Philip
Fritz and second baseman Glenn Myers to form the nucleus of a good squad.
Lee-Davis: The Confederates had been a decent 12-8 overall but just 5-7 in Colonial play in
1978. However, Coach Micky Byrd had his entire team back except for one standout, and
looked like a contender. Outfielder T. C. Atkinson, pitcher / designated hitter Johnny
Gregory, second baseman Steve Walton, and outfielder Barry Hare were some of the top players.
The Colonial was incredibly strong under its old configuration, but never was that more
evident than in 1979. A season's worth of nip-and-tuck battles among a district that was
tough from top-to-bottom culminated in a very unlikely set of circumstances that
nonetheless reflected just how competitive and deep the Colonial was.
Going into the final game of the regular season, the district standings looked like this . . .
Douglas Freeman (7-5)
J. R. Tucker (6-5)
The tie at the top had been triggered by a 7-1 victory by Hermitage over Henrico the day
before, thank to a five-hitter from Bobby Williams. So, the loser of the Tucker / Henrico
game would finish in fifth place, the winner in a tie for first.
High stakes already.
Tucker won 7-5 as Cam Frostick topped his cousin Jerry, giving the Tigers the final share of
the regular-season crown. Tucker scored all seven of their runs with two outs.
That created an unprecedented situation: Remember, district tournaments were still a fairly
novel concept in 1979. Now, the Colonial had to figure out what to do with a four-way tie
and only one automatic regional berth to be awarded.
Here's what they did: The four co-champions (quad-champions) drew numbers, one through
four. The two "evens" and the two "odds" would play each other at Tucker and Highland
Springs (regardless of the match-ups). The winners of those games would meet two days
later. Whoever prevailed in that game would be declared the winner of the Colonial's
automatic berth to the regional tournament.
Once that business was taken care of, then the actual district tournament would begin.
Hermitage and Tucker drew each other, and the Panthers prevailed over the Tigers for the
second time that season by a 2-0 score. This time, David Fitzgerald tossed a six-hit shutout
and Trip Binns delivered two hits and scored both Panther runs. In the other playoff semi-final, Lee-Davis rallied past Douglas Freeman as Johnny Gregory threw a six-hitter of his
own, although the Rebels did score four times in the 7-4 loss. Tucker won a coin toss
following the games that gave them the #3 seed for the district tournament, with Freeman
obviously getting the #4 seed.
In the playoff final, Lee-Davis prevailed in a back-and-forth contest, topping Hermitage 10-8. Gregory again got the victory, this time in relief as he came on in the sixth after the
Panthers had plated five runs an inning earlier to tie the game 7-7. More importantly,
Gregory slammed a three-run homer in the fourth and another three-run shot in the sixth to
propel the Confederates to the crown.
With Lee-Davis' regional tournament berth secure, the district playoffs would now determine
So, the same four teams began again. In one semi-final, Freeman scored six runs in the top
of the eleventh to down Lee-Davis. Connor McGehee went the distance, allowing two
Confederate runs on seven hits over those 11 innings of work. McGehee also reached base
five times, on three hits and two walks. Amazingly, that six-run rally came with two outs
and no one on base. Chris Parrish's two-run double and Darren Lynch's two-run single did
most of the damage.
In the other semi-final, Hermitage, fresh off their tough, special playoff tournament loss to
Lee-Davis, faced a team that was 1-2 against them in 1979. However, J. R. Tucker, now in
an elimination scenario, topped the Panthers. The key was a strong relief performance from
Schibner, who relieved Cam Frostick after Hermitage loaded the bases in the fourth inning
with Tucker holding a slim 2-1 lead. Schibner got an inning-ending strikeout, then allowed
just two more hits as the Tigers won 5-1.
The arch-rival Rebels and Tigers would meet in the district tournament final.
Tucker scored all of its runs during a third-inning rally, when a couple of hits and three
Freeman errors led to three Tiger runs. The Rebels loaded the bases in both the fourth and
fifth innings, but only a single (unearned) run scored.
So, down 3-1, Freeman had one last chance.
The Rebels got two on with one out, but a controversial play would help keep Freeman at
bay. Tucker first baseman Lee Dickerson caught Eddie Ransom's pop-up while falling over a
drainage ditch, which, from the Freeman perspective, should have made the ball dead. The
umpire instead ruled that the catch had been initiated in fair territory, meaning that the
Rebels now had two outs and had failed to advance the runners. Tucker got the last out
when Jeff Pace's throw on an infield grounder barely beat Freeman's Don Phillips to first.
Bill Garrett (also no relation to the author) was the hard-luck loser, giving up just three hits
and no earned runs. Tucker sophomore Dee Overton started the game, giving way to
Frostick in the fourth, followed by Schibner in the seventh. They combined to hold the
Rebels to four hits and no earned runs. Each team committed an uncharacteristic three
errors, perhaps as a result of having to play what amounted to back-to-back tournaments
immediately following still more crucial games at the end of the regular season.
When the dust had finally settled, Lee-Davis and Tucker had emerged from the wildest
ending to a season as the Colonial's representatives in the regional tournament.
Epilogue: Lee-Davis fell to Prince George in the first round of the regional tournament,
as Gregory struggled with some control issues. He didn't have his best stuff, giving up
eight hits (but also striking out nine), with the bigger problem being seven walks and
two wild pitches.
Meanwhile, despite a modest 11-8 record during the regular season, J. R. Tucker went on a
run that created the reputation-slash-legend of Ronnie Atkins as "Dr. Tournament." With
the Colonial Tournament title in tow, Tucker got a good draw with Maggie Walker in the first
round of regionals, winning 12-1 as freshman Terry Guzman earned the victory with help from
sophomore Bobby Mortimer in relief. Tucker then defeated Dinwiddie 4-2 in the semi-finals,
and followed that up with a 7-3 win over surprise finalist John F. Kennedy with Guzman and
Mortimer once again featuring prominently, but with Schibner getting the win after 3 and
2/3 innings of relief work and Steve Maloney's bases-clearing double providing the offensive
spark. It was Tucker's fourth consecutive regional title, a feat that has never been matched.
In the state tournament, Tucker withstood a last-ditch rally by Eastern champ Western
Branch, prevailing 3-2 behind a 5-and-1/3-inning relief appearance from Frostick. The next
night, Frostick struck out nine and allowed no hits in another 5.1-inning relief appearance.
Frostick also homered in the title game, as Tucker topped Woodbridge for its second state
The truth is that the Colonial District in 1979 had five or six teams that were nearly even.
Anyone who survived that gauntlet was going to be tough come tournament time. For many
reasons, we'll never see an ending to a season like we did in the '79 Colonial title race.
It should be another great season in the Central Region, and stay tuned to
VirginiaPreps.com for all the latest news, information, and profiles you need to stay plugged
in to Central Virginia baseball! You can connect with Tom on Twitter at