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Previewing the 2021 high school baseball season

Previewing the 2021 high school baseball season

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players to watch

Michael Joyce, Atlee: The junior can be behind the plate or on the mound, where he has a fastball that can touch 90 mph. He has committed to play at James Madison.

Jay Woolfolk, Benedictine: The senior pitcher and center fielder has signed with UVA, where he will play football and baseball. Woolfolk is one of the state’s top all-around talents and a potential MLB draft pick. He owns a fastball that is consistently in the low-90s.

Griff O’Ferrall, Harrison Coble, Camden Nuckols, Carter Schmitt, St. Christopher’s: O’Ferrall, a senior shortstop, is headed to UVA. He’s hitting .489 with 4 HR and 18 RBIs. Coble, a senior pitcher and outfielder, is going to Pittsburgh. The left-hander is 5-0 with a 1.33 ERA and batting .419. Nuckols, a junior, has committed to VCU. At 6-4, 225 pounds, he has a fastball that can reach the upper-80s. He’s 4-0 with a 0.89 ERA. Schmitt, a junior catcher headed to Randolph-Macon, is batting .408 with 4 HR and 29 RBIs.

Clark Driscoll, Clover Hill: The junior catcher, pitcher and infielder has committed to VMI.

Caleb Grizzard, Everett Vaughan, Brayden Simpson, Ben Costin, Cosby: Grizzard, a pitcher and outfielder, has committed to ODU. Vaughan, a pitcher, and Simpson, an infielder, have committed to High Point. Costin, a pitcher, is headed to Presbyterian.

Macho Santiago, Douglas Freeman: The junior shortstop and pitcher has committed to VCU. As a freshman leadoff hitter who played several positions in 2019, he batted .442 and drove in 17 runs.

Ethan Brooks, Glen Allen: The junior middle infielder is another VCU recruit. As a freshman he started at third base, where Glen Allen coach Dave Savino said Brooks was “a magician defensively.”

Trent Pulliam, Godwin: The 6-2 senior pitcher, who has committed to JMU, blossomed after growing 6½ inches between his sophomore and junior years.

Levi Huesman, Chase Hustead, Cannon Peebles, Seth Keller, Owen DeShazo, Anthony Gabello, Caden Plummer, Hanover: The Hawks’ junior class sports Huesman, a pitcher who is headed to Coastal Carolina; Hustead, a pitcher and outfielder going to JMU; Peebles, a catcher and pitcher going to Old Dominion; Keller, a pitcher and infielder also going to ODU; DeShazo, a middle infielder headed to Boston College; and Gabello, a pitcher and first baseman who has committed to James Madison. Plummer, a senior pitcher and outfielder, is going to VMI.

Ethan Serrano, Brett Allen, Jalen Strattman, Mechanicsville: Serrano, a junior shortstop, has committed to VCU. Allen, a senior infielder and pitcher, is headed to Massachusetts. Strattman, a senior infielder and pitcher, is going to VMI.

Carter Lovasz, Connor Schumann, Midlothian: Lovasz, a senior pitcher and shortstop, will play at William & Mary. He went 6-1 with a 1.79 ERA as a sophomore. Schumann, a senior pitcher and outfielder, has committed to ODU.

Keep an eye on: Eric McDaniel, Collegiate, INF/P; Donovan Williams, Collegiate, CF; Kevin Gunn, Dinwiddie, P/SS; Will Lynch, Freeman, P/INF; Luke Calveric, Godwin, 3B/P; Chance Muir, Godwin, INF; Justin Tobin, Godwin, SS; Justin Journette, Hermitage, 3B; Brian Curley, Trinity Episcopal, INF/P; Josiah Harrison, Trinity Episcopal, OF/P

Teams to watch

CLASS 6

Cosby, which scored 35 runs in its first three games, has plenty of pitching and talent to make noise in Class 6 with Caleb Grizzard, Everett Vaughan, Ben Costin, Brayden Simpson, Alec Riles, Grayson Harris and Zack Kovach.

Thomas Dale should be in the thick of things in the Central District with Camden Weston (INF), Johnny Oates (C/3B), Ethan Hamill (P/1B/OF), Marcus Putze (OF/P) and sophomore Connor Spears (C/1B/3B).

Pete Schumacher coached James River from 2007-2016 and returns to a program that won state titles in 2007 and ’08. He has a young team, with seniors Peyton Jones (P/1B) and Eli Bacon (P), and juniors Michael Caliz (SS/3B/P), Jonah Dail (SS/2B/P) and Jackson Rowe (OF).

CLASS 5

Catcher and pitcher Michael Joyce is one of several juniors for an Atlee team that includes juniors Turner Fitzpatrick (INF), Landon Scott (OF/P) and Bronson Davis (P), and seniors Gavin Bralley (P/INF) and Hayden Winston (P).

L.C. Bird has senior Jordan Banks (CF), and a lot of juniors — Pierce Faulcon (P/1B) and Alex Fitz-Hugh (SS/2B/P) — and sophomores.

Deep Run piled up 25 runs in its first two games. Seniors Ryan Schwarz (INF), Nate Larsen (1B/DH), Eric Mayer (1B/DH), Savorino Pedante (P) and Sam Pote (P) are joined by juniors Luke Schwartz (OF), Will Miller (C) and Hunter Fallen (P).

Douglas Freeman is breaking in several newcomers. The Mavericks do have some experience with Macho Santiago (SS/P), Will Lynch (P/INF), Andrew Bland (OF/P) and Carson Herod (C).

Glen Allen outscored opponents 21-1 in its first two games and may rely more on defense and pitching. Juniors Ethan Hudson and Jaden Kinsler are on the mound. Ethan Brooks is at short, with Eli Brooks, Drew Morris and Lucas Bauer in the outfield.

Josh Gentry takes over at Mills Godwin. The Eagles will be tough behind pitchers Trent Pulliam and Luke Calveric. Senior infielder Chance Muir will be surrounded by underclassmen: SS Justin Tobin, OF Ashur Caraher, OF/P Garrett Mason and catcher George Gustafson.

Hermitage will rely on several seniors — Joe Williams (SS), Zack Easton (P/utility), R.J. Bailey (C/1B) — and junior Justin Journette (3B/P).

Matoaca has seniors with Myles Ellis (P), Tanner Clements (C/1B) and Ryan Fahy (C/1B), along with freshman Jacob Lee (OF/P/1B) and sophomore Cornell Allen (SS).

With Carter Lovasz, Connor Schumann, Andrew Jones and Ben Covert (Hampden-Sydney) on the mound, Midlothian should be in the mix. LF Ethan Smith (Lynchburg) and 1B Paul Broussard (H-SC) will help with some younger players, including sophomore Cole Feldman (3B).

J.R. Tucker has several starters back with Traylor DuVal (P/utility), Alex Hagerich (INF), Trevor Harris (C) and Mark Schweickert (P/INF).

CLASS 4

Dinwiddie will be a factor behind p/SS Kevin Gunn (Longwood), its pitching and several seniors. Codie Maitland and Colby Massengill join Gunn on the mound. Jackson Severt (C/INF/OF) and Jaron Ward (OF) are seniors.

With a ton of players committed to Division I programs, Hanover can make a run at another state title. The Hawks won championships in 2013, ’14 and ’16 and were runners-up in ’09 and ’17.

Pitching and defense will make Mechanicsville formidable. It has Brett Allen, Jalen Strattman, C.J. DiNapoli, Dallas Hairfield and Dylan Robbins on the mound, and Ethan Serrano at short.

Monacan will ride Jack Carris (SS, Queens) and Ethan Robinson (RF, Chowan), plus juniors Jaden Greenidge (2B), Jalen Greenidge (CF).

Patrick Henry has a lot of seniors but few returning starters. SS Cole Mallory, OF Bryson Baxter, Ben Williams (utility) and Tristian Sheldon (2B) are seniors.

Powhatan may have to rely on solid defense with little experience on the mound. Caden Beil (C), Stone Talley (INF/P), Ben Allanson (OF) and Connor Woodel are seniors.

CLASS 3

Goochland should be a factor with Ayden Doczi on the mound, defense and a balanced lineup: Chris White (OF), Andrew Jones (INF/P), Mason Gregory (utility) and Riley Hite (INF/P).

Maggie Walker will rely on senior Ben Shepard (SS) and a lot of juniors — Dominant Turner (2B/SS), Cameron Paoloni (CF) and Pulkit Iyer (P/3B) — and sophomores.

Private schools

Benedictine has struggled some with an inexperienced lineup, but it has an equalizer with Jay Woolfolk on the mound. Connor Handy and Michael Aleksa join Woolfolk. Third baseman Cory Adams was hitting .447 after 14 games.

St. Christopher’s has one of the top teams in the state, public or private. The Saints started 15-0-1. They have talent and depth on the mound with Coble, Nuckols, Kyle Haines and others, and defense and hitting throughout the order with O’Ferrall, Coble, Schmitt, Haines, 3B Curtis Hale, 2B Jacob Camley and others.

Collegiate has been around .500 this season. Juniors Donovan Williams (CF) and Eric McDaniel (INF/P) lead the way, along with John Ballowe (OF), Pearse Riendeau (OF/P) and Heth Alexander (P).

Steward has several sophomores — Michael Lewis (P/OF), Michael Shamus (3B/P) and Sam Roberson (CF/SS/P) — surrounding senior Ethan Hopp (1B/P), senior Mitch Larro (SS/P) and junior Andrew Schmeer (2B/P).

Juniors Josiah Harrison (OF/P) and Brian Curley (INF/P) are cornerstones for a young Trinity Episcopal team. Sophomores Carter Schuma and Logan Janney are on the mound.

Note: With the quick turnaround between seasons and the high number of spring sports, the Times-Dispatch is not doing capsules for every school. These highlights are based mostly on forms returned by schools to the RTD.

— Tim Pearrell

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