By Owen Gotimer
Viva Loudoun College Editor
(March 14, 2014) – Baseball season is just around the corner for high school student athletes in the county, but for Loudoun County graduates playing baseball at the next level, the season is at full force, and one of those collegiate players is making a name for himself.
Marshall University redshirt freshmen and Woodgrove High School graduate Matt Reed (2012) was named to the 2014 Johnny Bench Award Watch List: an award given to the top catcher in the country every season.
After transferring from Clemson University to Marshall, Reed has started 12 games at catcher for the Division I Thundering Herd who started the season 5-10.
During his first 15 games, Reed smashed four doubles while swinging the bat. The 6-foot-3 backstop also threw out six of the ten runners who tried to steal on him while he was behind the dish.
On May 15, the semifinalists for the Johnny Bench Award will be announced.
Other notes from the past weeks in college sports:
- On a diamond smaller than the one used for baseball, James Madison University’s softball starting pitcher and Potomac Falls High School graduate Heather Kiefer (2011) earned the Colonial Athletic Association Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season. During the week of March 2 – when JMU went 4-0 at the Jack in the Box Spring Fling at the University of Hawaii – Kiefer improved to 7-4 going 3-0 with a 0.32 ERA including two complete games shutouts on March 9 against the University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears and the University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine.
- Keifer’s James Madison teammate and Stone Bridge High School graduate Niki Prince (2013) started all four games of the tournament for the Dukes as the leadoff centerfielder after earning the starting spot on Feb. 21. Prince had four hits, three RBI and one run for JMU while transitioning to centerfield after earning VHSCA Softball AAA State Player of the Year honors at shortstop last spring.
- The James Madison University softball team is hanging around Hawaii this week to compete in the 2014 Pepsi Rainbow Wahine Classic. In game one of that tournament on March 12, James Madison squared off against Brigham Young University, and Prince got to compete against her Cheers Sports and Viva Loudoun 2013 All-Loudoun Softball Co-Player of the Year and former Stone Bridge High School teammate Sydney Broderick (2013). Broderick served as the leadoff hitter for the Division I Cougars and went 2-for-3 with an RBI as BYU fell to JMU, 3-1.
- Another former Cheers Sports and Viva Loudoun All-Loudoun selection and Loudoun Valley High School graduate Josh Grimard (2013) helped the Alderson Broaddus University men’s basketball team to its first Great Midwest Athletic Conference tournament title after taking down Kentucky Wesleyan College, 65-61, on March 8. Grimard came off the bench in 21 games during his freshmen campaign for the Division II Battlers who finished the season 24-5.
- Grimard’s Loudoun Valley Viking teammate John Yoxthimer (2012) and Broad Run graduate Taylor Johnson (2011) are at it again. Both student-athletes play for the University of Mary Washington men’s basketball team which will advance to the NCAA Division III tournament’s Sweet-16 after knocking of DeSales University, 77-49, on March 7. Johnson led all scorers with 22 points and corralled eight rebounds while Yoxthimer added a bucket and a board.
- During the 2011-2012 basketball season, Yoxthimer and Potomac Falls High School graduate Greg Graves (2012) met four times: the Vikings winning the season matchup 3-1. However, the Panthers did take down the Vikings in their final matchup in the VHSL Region II title game, 48-44. On March 11, Graves got to celebrate again as his new team – the No. 4 Mount Saint Mary’s men’s basketball team – toppled No.1 Robert Morris in the Northeast Conference championship, punching the Division I Mountaineers’ ticket to the NCAA DI Men’s Basketball Tournament as an automatic bid. In the conference championship game, Graves had four points and five rebounds.
- Last fall, Briar Woods High School graduate Kent (Eddie) Legg (2013) advanced to the NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Tournament while playing goalkeeper for the eventual national champion Southern New Hampshire University. Legg made three appearances during the DII Penmen’s 22-1-1 season saving two shots while not allowing a goal. Slated to backup Dom DiMaggio if he stayed at SNHU for the 2014 season, Legg has decided to transfer to Shepherd University so he can fight for the opportunity to start fulltime for the DII Rams.
Owen Gotimer is a graduate of Heritage High School in Leesburg and is currently a sophomore at Syracuse University. Follow Owen on Twitter (@BigO_Gotimer) for up-to-date college signings and news. Contact us if you want Owen to do an article on the college commitment of your favorite local athlete or a story on a Loudoun County graduate playing in college!