By Owen Gotimer
Viva Loudoun College Editor
(April 28, 2014) – Baseball in the county is heating up, and several teams are making their names heard around the Virginia High School League.
While the Stone Bridge High School baseball team (11-1) has taken a four game lead in the Conference 14 standings, the Broad Run High School Spartans (8-2) have a chance to make up two games when they take on the Bulldogs on April 28.
Also in the VHSL 5A North region’s Conference 14 are the Briar Woods Falcons (5-5), Tuscarora Huskies (5-8), Freedom Eagles (5-8) and Potomac Falls Panthers (2-6).
Woodgrove High School (8-1) and Heritage High School (6-4) both have four games left against teams with less than four wins on the season in the Dominion Titans (3-9), John Champe Knights (2-8) and Park View Patriots (1-9). The Wolverines and Pride will matchup on May 6 in a game featuring the top two teams in Conference 21. Don’t count out the Loudoun County Raiders (5-7) just yet as young head coach Nick Price handed Woodgrove head coach Brad Bauder his only loss of the season back on April 8.
Loudoun Valley High School (9-2) is cruising behind a list of seniors including ace Will Reed. The Vikings are in second place in Conference 28 behind William Monroe High School (13-1) but have a commanding cushion ahead of Warren County High School (5-5), Skyline High School (4-7) and Central-Woodstock High School (3-8).
With the team reports out of the way, part four of the Baseball Scouting Report is upon us. This week we showcase a team fighting for a spot at the top of Conference 21 as the No. 1 infielder is Nick Fuhrmann of Heritage High School.
1. Nick Fuhrmann (SR) 6’ Heritage
Over the last year, Nick Fuhrmann packed on 25-pounds of muscle, and his game has probably improved 25-fold because of it. The senior is the type of guy you want captaining your infield, and Heritage High School head coach Ryan Price should be pleased with the additional power the Italian-born Fuhrmann brings to his lineup. The Pride shortstop is a line drive hitter who pounds the power alleys in left and right center with the promise to hit multiple homeruns every season while playing for Division I Saint Joseph’s University where he committed to continue his baseball career next spring. Defensively, Fuhrmann is quick to the ball, squares everything up and has a plus, plus arm which he uses to throw out even the fastest batter-runners on balls in the hole. Originally a member of the Freedom Eagles baseball program, Fuhrmann transferred to Heritage before his sophomore year, but was unable to play for most of the season due to an injury. Thankfully for Price and the Pride, Fuhrmann has remained healthy the last two seasons and could help Heritage make a deep run into the playoffs this spring.
2. Kyle Wrighte (SR) 5’10″ Freedom
Like Fuhrmann, Kyle Wrighte is a coach’s dream as the leader in the infield. Wrighte’s lateral speed allows him to get to balls most infielders in the county would not even try for, and his arm – which has hit 91-miles per hour on the radar gun while throwing across the diamond – makes him a lock down defensive shortstop who makes plays on every ball hit his direction. On top of the defense, Wrighte has a smooth swing which he extends through the zone with the maximum explosion. Wrighte can hit the ball to all parts of the field and really lets the ball get deep in the zone when need be to drive the ball to the right side. The senior has committed to the College of William & Mary where he will compete for the Division I Tribe starting in the 2014-2015 academic year.
3. Matt Jeffery (SR) 5’10″ Woodgrove
Woodgrove slugger Matt Jeffery cracked the list thanks to his extreme power in the offensive zone. Jeffery – who recently committed to Potomac State College – is a pitcher’s nightmare as the senior can hit for power and contact. Don’t let his size fool you: the kid can run. Jeffery will turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples if you don’t take his speed seriously. Out of all of the athletes, I looked at this spring, Jeffery has one of the most technical swings on the list. His quick hands allow him to power any pitch deep into the outfield while his follow through is thorough and full. The Woodgrove shortstop’s arm is as good as Fuhrmann and Wrighte, but he lands at the middle of our list because the range the top two have trumps anyone in the area. Adding another threat to the mix, the 5-foot-10 right hander has a dynamite fastball while on the pitcher’s mound, but his real bread-and-butter is his fast wind and delivery.
4. Michael Smith (SO) 6’ Potomac Falls
As a freshman, Michael Smith was named the first-team All-Dulles District and second-team All-VHSL Region II third baseman and could wrap up district and region honors again in his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Smith hit in the three-hole last season for Potomac Falls High School and added bonus power to the lineup – especially after the Panthers lost now graduated second baseman Jared Goldberg to an injury – which helped head coach Joe Terango win his third district title in the last five years. Smith’s power and poise will keep him atop the list of corner infielders in the county for years to come. Although Terango and company do not look as good this year as they have in the recent past, with the maturity of Smith, as well as the maturity of the Panthers’ freshman phenom outfielder Justin Robles, Potomac Falls could continue to be a threat heading into the next two seasons.
5. Brandon Grayson (SR) 5’10″ Loudoun Valley
Loudoun Valley infielder Brandon Grayson has everything you are looking for in a baseball player and not only cracks the Top 5 infielders list, but if there was a Top 5 athletes list for all sports across the county, Grayson’s name would be a lock for that list as well. He is a 6-tool ballplayer who can run, hit for average and power, field, throw and has the baseball IQ to put his team in a place to win games, and this season has done just that guiding the Vikings to a 9-2 start in 2014. Defensively, Grayson’s footwork is tremendous and his lateral speed gets him to most balls hit to his left or right. Offensively, the senior has a level swing with good pop to the right center gap. Unfortunately for college baseball coaches around the country, Grayson was also named to the VHSL 3A All-State football first-team in 2013 after leading the Vikings to a 3A state semifinal and has committed to play football for West Virginia Wesleyan College starting in the fall. If the Division II Bobcats’ athletic director and baseball coach Randy Tenney finds out about Grayson’s baseball skillset, the 5-foot-10 athlete could find himself playing multiple sports at the collegiate level.
Others to Watch:
* Jack Howard (JR) 5’11″ Heritage
* Griffin Buscavage (JR) 6’ Loudoun County
* Dave Mocabee (SO) 6’ Stone Bridge
* Jake Allen (JR) 6’ Briar Woods
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!