No discussion to speak of here about RVA baseball? Well, I'll try to stir things up a bit, and invite people to comment.
I haven't seen all teams, of course, but of what I've seen and read, here are a few things:
Top teams: Interesting to see 2 private schools really leading the pack this year. Both were expected to be strong teams, but I'm not sure anyone predicted them dominating as they have.
St. Chris lost its # 1 pitcher from last year when Jimmy Starnes transferred to IMG in FL, but nonetheless has come back with a stronger W/L record this year than last. Nick Biddison may be the area's top catcher -- certainly from a throwing and hitting perspective. Patrick Rhoutsis has stepped up to provide some 5th year leadership and a lot of big innings on the mound. Hunter Andrews has played through some minor injuries but seems to be heating up with a spate of HRs of late.
Benedictine is just a loaded team. Casey Green is having a great season and it seems like he's handling a huge number of innings. The lineup hasn't really had Cal Sigler (hamstring issues), who is one of the area's faster guys and a strong bat as well, though he's working his way back now and may be 100% by playoff time. Still, you have Greg Ryan and Jamari Baylor anchoring one of the tougher lineups in the area, with sophomore Jack Hall contributing a handful of bombs including one walk-off HR early in the season. Their only loss was the big event a few Saturdays back at RF&P, when St. Chris came from behind to edge them in front of a huge crowd.
I'm hoping we'll see these two in the VISAA title game! That'd be one not to miss.
Strong teams who've played well as expected: Prince George and Manchester are both very deep in their lineups. Manchester has more pitching depth. I'd love to see those two face off.
Biggest surprise teams: I really didn't see James River coming. Brian Hannum should get some COY consideration. On the flip side, Hanover's offense has struggled. Though they can be credited with having lined up maybe the area's toughest schedule, they've fallen short in a lot of their challenge games. James River had a convincing win at Hanover early on, and Benedictine eked out a 2-1 win earlier this week with some key plays and some bad Hanover base running in key situations.
The year of the LHP's: Does it seem like we have more lefties having strong years than we've had in a long time, if ever? Jacob Waltman (Matoaca), Zane Eggleston and Eli Parks (both at Manchester), Camden Lazar (Freeman), Maddison Furman (St. Chris) and Carson Jones (Deep Run) come to mind as guys who're leading their teams to strong seasons. Will Lopez (Hanover) and Logan Ransom and Harrison Clifton (both at Steward) have also been impressive in the past but I personally just haven't gotten to see them this year. That's like 9 strong lefties and I'm probably forgetting somebody.
Newcomer to watch: OK folks, if you haven't seen Benedictine's Jay Woolfolk yet, make a point of it. Son of former UR basketball standout Pete Woolfolk, Jay is the first VA freshman I've ever seen to top 90 mph on the mound, and he does so consistently. He's worked his way into the offensive lineup, too. Earlier this week, he closed/saved a 2-1 win over Hanover, in a game where he also went 2-2 with the go-ahead RBI and had a runs-saving lay-out catch in LF to boot. Woolfolk was also Benedictine's # 1 varsity QB last fall (again, this is a freshman we're talking about). You're probably going to read a lot about this kid in the fall and spring for the next 3 years. The 2-sport thing calls Russell Wilson to mind, but even Russell wasn't a 90+ pitcher. With any kind of progression over the next 3 years, it boggles the mind to think what this kid could become.